Page:Mo sgeal fein.djvu/12

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the thing were possible; and the effort at its accomplishment should therefore be classed as a waste of precious time, or a foolish enterprise, holding no promise of a return for the energies expended upon it. They admire Irish literature, they encourage Irish scholarship and study, and they would go some length towards preserving a Gaelic reservation, if that could be done, where the spoken language of their fathers might remain on the lips of the people, at least without dying in a hurry.

Now good men do not seal their minds against all argument in things of this kind, and it is a great service to the spoken language to show in a convincing way the claims it has for general use among the population. What if the true view be that the English of English-speaking Ireland would be much better if English-speaking Ireland were Irish-speaking also, that the Irish of the Irish-speaking area would not suffer if its English were much improved, and that the general use of both languages in our homes is possible, and, indeed, necessary, if we are to make the most of our minds and opportunities? If that be not a just conception, the outlook for spoken Irish does not appear to cover a long distance. But that it is the true view I take to be the opinion of Canon O’Leary, and certainly he himself is a living demonstration of this conviction so far as any one man can be.

A child of pure Irish stock, reared in an Irish-speaking home, far from school, but blessed with a well-educated mother, who spoke Irish and English correctly, and gave her boy the chance of reading good English books and learning a little French at the fireside, carves his way and becomes a thorough clergyman, a keen social and educational worker, a