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Coming Home: One man's return to the Irish Language

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  74 ratings  ·  16 reviews

‘Some part of me believed I would become a more complete person if I spoke Irish, more in tune with my roots, my identity, my very being.’

‘A hugely enjoyable linguistic travelogue that is also a sort of love story: full of passion, lightness, but, also, commitment. McCaughan’s engaging prose is a joy to read. Discover the Sex Pistols’ connection with Cúil Aodha and man

Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published March 10th 2017 by Gill Books
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Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's been 20 years since I spent time learning Irish, so my awareness of the place of Irish in the world is that much outdated. This book was a revelation. Even aside from his very commonsense recommendations for how to go about working on language study, he runs all over the island talking to people about Irish and looking into how people are learning it.
Irish is making tremendous strides in the north, across sectarian lines, as talented organizers and educators set up language schools and evan
Timothy O'Connor
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was an inspiring read for me as I have been working at learning Irish on my own for 3 years now and sometimes wonder why I carry on. The author provides some great examples from his own lifelong journey to learn Irish and made it feel very accessible. I haven't read too many books about learning languages so I don't have anything with which to compare this, but it meant a great deal to me and has inspired me to carry on. ...more
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: languages
Enjoyable read with some very useful insights into the current state of Irish language education while giving glimpses of hope to anyone who would like the language to remain alive.
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recently, I was asked to write a narrative of a key moment in my career as a foreign language teacher, for an academic publication. To assist me in this, the editor supplied me with models of narratives written by learners about their experiences. Coming Home: One Man´s Return to the Irish Language appears to fall within this category, as Michael McCaughan retells his passionate, but conflicted, relationship with “an Ghaeilge”.
Paradoxically, like many other Irish people, McCaughan finds himself
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: catalog
I bought and read this book while on vacation in Ireland because it was recommended by a friend. I like travel literature, am a huge language nerd, and knew nothing about Irish, so I thought it might be fun vacation read. McCaughan did not disappoint! He's an engaging writer and storyteller. Not only did I learn a lot about Irish people's relationship to and struggles with their language, but I also got a lot out of the book in terms of Irish history and contemporary society/politics. It was fas ...more
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's an odd but satisfying mixture - part personal odyssey, part history of the language, part survey of the contemporary scene. Above all, I think that anyone engaged in the joyful struggle to learn this language will find it encouraging and inspirational - especially those of us who were rugadh agus tógadh in Ireland, and feel that we're struggling to learn our own language!

Highly recommended to anyone with even the slightest interest in the Irish language.
Interesting but not great, at least not for me. I'm sure if I were Irish or had some previous knowledge of the Irish language, it would have been an easier and more rewarding read for me. There's a great deal of Irish vocabulary throughout, which the author clearly expects that you're going to be familiar with it, probably from taking Irish classes in school or from being a member of Irish culture. I'm not really the intended audience for this book.

The author describes his methods and motivation
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Bought this book following a talk by the author at Dundalk's Book Day this year.
As I was reading it while travelling the West, it felt quite interesting to live through his exploration while road-triping among the Gaeltacht of Donegal and seeing some of the schools he was writing about. Part personal journey through the lerning, part snapshot of what it means to be speaking the language and the difference between the different ways of handling the revival, I found it easy to read, accessible an
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A bit of a love letter to the Irish language, McCaughan does a wonderful job setting out his personal journey and interspersing it with historical information of how/when/why the Irish language stopped being spoken regularly.

He doesn't shy away from the multitudes of people who have varying feelings, positive and negative, towards the language, and he lays out historical context for the conflicted feelings many Irish people have towards Irish.
Molly Dougherty
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and would give 4.5 stars if available. The author’s journey with the Irish language and the people, organizations and communities who speak and champion the language reveals much about identity, resilience and the long term effects of colonialism. I loved learning about the places and people at the heart of teaching and inspiring others to embrace the Irish language.
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As an overseas Irish language language learner who travels to Ireland frequently to study, there’s a lot I could relate to in this book. I was a bit shocked to read stories of my friends that were included. I guess it’s a small world.
Christine Best
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Entertaining book about a man’s journey to reclaim Irish. It’s also about the history of the language, its near death, fossilisation and rebirth. Lots of intriguing anecdotes and interviews make it a good read. Would recommend.
Ann Marie
Apr 02, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5. Informative and often inspiring. Could have used a good edit in places but does give a good sense of the Irish language community.
Brian Richards
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Inspirational book for those people, like me, who say that can't learn languages. ...more
Kaitlyn Golden
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
I wanted to really love this book, because it seems to jaunty and breezy. I would give it a 2.5 if I could. I stuck with it and I generally don't bother with books I really dislike but I kept asking myself why. I think it's because there are enough pockets of interesting facts and anecdotes. It can be very hard to follow at times though, as it operates conceptually to the extreme. I feel like I'm bouncing around inside the head of someone disorganized who doesn't think chronologically in the sli ...more
Pleasurable and inspiring read for anyone studying another language (I'm learning German). Also lots to learn about Ireland, its history and culture. The author proves the point that it's never too late to learn a new language and shows the way for anyone who wants to follow his steps. A great guide for someone trying to learn Irish and a great inspiration for people trying to learn any other language as well. ...more
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