Donegal county council finds itself faced with an unusual problem. Following complaints that there is no authorisation to display a ‘Stop’ sign in the Gaeltacht using the Irish word ‘Stad’, the council must replace the signs with standard English language ‘Stop’ signs. The council points out that ‘Stop’ is also an Irish word, to assuage… Continue reading Halt


At the start of the week, several former google executives launched a new search engine. The website is called Cuil – ‘an old Irish word for knowledge’, according to its founders. Cuil is – among other things – the Irish for eagerness, fearsomeness, a gnat, a horsefly, a beetle, a bluebottle, and cĂșil (the addition… Continue reading Backtalk

Focal Nua

Words are interesting. New words in particular have always fascinated me. Not just new words for new things (someone had to come up with the word telephone) but the way words themselves acquire new meanings. I can remember when spam was pink meat, and a virus was something you took ill with. Both words have… Continue reading Focal Nua