Speaking A Forked Tongue

– A Conversation with Dr Róisín Costello

Episode #12

Joining me in this episode is writer, academic and barrister, Dr. Róisín Costello who through our conversation offers a compelling exploration of Irish identity, cultural heritage, and the significance of preserving the Irish language in contemporary society. Join us as we delve into the evolution of Irish, share personal experiences with language reconnection, and the discuss the challenges facing the language.

Podcast Notes

The Evolution of the Irish Language:

Róisín highlights the evolution of the Irish language, tracing its journey from being the dominant language in Ireland to a marginalised and endangered status. She emphasises the importance of understanding historical factors, such as the impact of colonisation and language suppression, in comprehending the current state of the Irish language.

Personal Experiences and Reconnecting with Irish:

Róisín shares personal anecdotes about her own relationships with Irish and the process of reconnecting with the language later in life. They discuss the challenges faced by individuals from non-Gaeltacht backgrounds and the recapturing of Irish identity through language learning.

The Crisis in the Gaeltacht:

The conversation turns to the crisis faced by the Irish language in Gaeltacht areas, where the decline of native speakers raises existential questions about the future of Irish. Róisín again highlights the need for conversations in the English language to address this crisis and the importance of recognising the unique challenges faced by Gaeltacht communities.

Priorities for Irish Language Initiatives:

When discussing potential initiatives, Róisín emphasises the significance of investing in high-quality Irish language education, particularly for future teachers. She suggests that teaching should encompass not only language skills but also the rich cultural and historical aspects associated with Irish.

The Value and Motivation for Learning Irish:

Róisín eloquently shares her own personal motivation for learning Irish and the value it has brought to her life. She mentions the connection to Irish identity, the enriched understanding of Irish history, literature, and cultural diversity that the language offers. She highlights the intrinsic benefits of bilingualism and the unique perspectives it provides.

This was a thoroughly delightful conversation about history, culture and identity that I thoroughly enjoyed, as I am sure you will too. Be sure to listen in full above or download the transcript below.

More on Dr. Róisín Costello

Dr Róisín Costello

Dr. Róisín Costello is a highly accomplished writer, academic and barrister who through her study of Irish, explores the profound connections between language, landscape, and female narratives in Ireland.

Her expertise spans both Irish and English, allowing her to delve into the intricate complexities of these languages.

Róisín’s remarkable writing has garnered recognition, with her essays being shortlisted for the prestigious Bodley Head Financial Times Essay Prize. Her thought-provoking works, such as “A Forked Tongue” published by Banshee Press and “The Sea Has Many Names” published by the Hopper, showcase her talent for crafting compelling narratives that resonate with readers.

Learn more about Róisín or follow on social here:

Free Irish Learning Resources Guide

Whether you are just starting out or have already begun your language learning journey, I have compiled a collection of resources that should help you along the way.