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Here is a Christmas poem. This time it's two for the price of one. Mártín Ó Direáin has achieved the extraordinary feat of being able to write a poem in two languages Irish and English.

Here is a Christmas poem. This time it's two for the price of one. Mártín Ó Direáin has achieved the extraordinary feat of being able to write a poem in two languages Irish and English.

What's more he went on to achieve a whole book of poems in this genre, Tacar Danta.

He ranks with the major modern group of poets who wrote in Irish and who were at their height in the 1940s, like and Máirtín Ó Cadhain, Padráic Colum and Seán Ó Ríordáin.

Each poem in Ó Direáin's collection of which there are 51 poems, was in Irish and English and there was no visible rent in the seam.

He was a higher civil servant, but there was no sign of bureaucratic starch about him. The devices of Gaelic poets are fully used and expressed side by side with the English version.

The translation was lovingly treated so that you won't know at times which is which. The tricks of the Bards are reborn in the language of the Saxon.

Francis Ledwidge and Joseph Plunkett of course used the Irish assonance in writing their poems. Ó Direáin's genius was that he used both English and Irish forms to perfection.

Here is the poem O Direain wrote in both languages, an invitation for Christmas to Our Lady. Leave aside whatever you are doing now and rush out and get Tacar Danta and over the Christmas time brood on this exquisite word music.


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