Performance style and practice in the sean-nós singing tradition.

Chapter 1- Introduction.
This thesis investigates the performance style in the sean-nós singing tradition, it also looks into such areas as the centrality of the performer, contexts of community and the audience and also structural and stylistic features. I will draw on my own experience of performing and learning of the Oriel region, with a special mention of sean-nós performance practice in this region. My methodology draws on relevant literature, interviews with performers who also teach the style and autoethnography. ‘The autoethnography characteristically begins with the researcher’s autobiographically oriented narrative associated with the research puzzle’ and also the idea of being the field as ‘a member of the landscape’.
Methodology and preview of remaining chapters.
To complete a thorough exploration of this research, I undertook a literature review with the aid of a questionnaire which I requested all of my previous traditional singing teachers complete and which assisted the literature review on a personal level of opinion as experts in the style. In Chapter Two, the literature review explains sean-nós in the extensive broad sense of the term. Essentially, the key aspects of sean-nós are discussed, such as the performance practices and also the features and functions of the style. In Chapter Three, I complete an in-depth study of ornamentation and I compare and contrast the simplified Ulster style of ornamentation to that of the more decorated and ornate Connemara style of Joe Heaney. I include the development and the history of the style here. I also focus on the various language ideologies and thus, the distinguishing of the two language styles in Ulster. I give further attention to the debate of tradition verses innovation, mainly in the Connemara style. I endeavour to show how development is assisted by the strength of the Irish Language in the future and by continuation of the sean-nós style. On a larger level, I set out to complete this research with a detailed analysis into all of the singing styles that I partake in under the heading of sean-nós. Chapter Four will conclude the research and provide a summary of the findings. For the remainder of this introductory chapter, I begin with a brief overview and definition of this Irish musical tradition with reference to literature on the subject.
In a broad sense the term sean-nós, meaning ‘old style’, refers to Irish traditional singing in Irish and English. In common use, ‘sean-nós is used to distinguish traditional Gaelic singing from its English Language counterpart.’ It is pronounced ‘shan-nos’ with a long ‘o’ and a hard ‘s’. According to Vallely, ‘it is a singing style developed over centuries.’
This term is somewhat misleading as the line of singing has never been broken; the style is as modern as it is old. Most of the sean-nós repertoire sung today is anonymous, probably composed between 1600 and 1850, and was maintained by amateur singers in rural areas after the extinction of the bardic profession, but modern composers continue to add new songs to the tradition.

It is a highly personal vocal form that has been passed on from generation to generation, hence the terms ‘a tradition’ and ‘a custom’. It is a very personal form of singing, in abundance with ornamented melody. Séamus Mac Mathúna, who has made a major contribution to the renewal of Gaelic cultural life in the north of Ireland once said:
Sean-nós singing is at once the most loved and the most reviled, the least often heard and the least understood part of that body of music which is generally referred to as Irish Traditional Music … It is the least understood because, technically and emotionally, it is the most complex part of that body of music, and many of those who dislike it do so because the techniques of sean-nós singing are not the techniques which they have come to regard as the “proper” or “correct” ones.

It is also celebrated as an increasingly popular solo dance form, namely sean-nós dancing, but they are completely separate from each other and only draw comparison in name.

Sean-nós is deeply rooted in the rhythms of the Irish Language and in the meters and rhythms of the poetry of the language. The living community of the language An Ghaeltacht covers extensive parts of counties Donegal, Mayo, Galway and Kerry – all on the Western seaboard – and also parts of counties Cork, Meath and Waterford.

Figure 1.0.
The home of the Irish language and the sean-nós repertoire is, of course, in the Gaeltacht regions. But this is not to say that the style cannot be found in other areas of the country, for example there is a style of sean-nós singing in South Ulster called the Oriel style, which takes in parts of Armagh, Monaghan and Louth as seen in figure 1.0. Even though the home of Irish language might not be fully intact, the tradition still lives on. Many of the Irish-speaking areas have some form of sean-nós singing, but what constitutes sean-nós is fundamentally regional. There are clearly three main regions as indicated on the map, Ulster, Connaught and Munster. Williams states that ‘beyond regionalism, of course, is individual performance practice, in which a singer represents not so much a regional style but his or her own interpretation of, an intimate relationship to, a song.’
If each main area has its own distinctive style, one might be inclined to ask- how can such a broad term encapsulate each unique style extending from Tory Island off the coast of Donegal in the North, down as far as The Blasket Islands off the Kerry Coast in the South?

I have often pondered what constitutes the meaning of a sean-nós singer in comparison to that of a traditional Irish/ English singer. It is mainly a difference of language, as sean-nós is predominately as Gaeilge, or through the medium of Irish, and traditional Irish singing is in the English language medium. And yet we have songs in the tradition which are Macaronic, in which both language are shared and sung in the one song. The question can be raised; must a sean-nós singer be raised in a traditional Irish speaking region? I am not from an Irish speaking region; therefore I have learnt to sing in the sean-nós and the Irish traditional style. Where is the borderline between the styles?

When I first began singing as part of the local Comhlatas group with Monica Beggan, I was encouraged to use ornamentation even though the songs were through English. I actually found it very hard at the young age of 13. In a questionnaire returned by Monica she explained that ‘Ulster singers are lucky to have a broad range of accents and their pronunciation of words can vary vastly from County to County and she called this “the Northern brogue.”’ My dialect of English, as I live in Carrickmacross, which is in South Monaghan would be completely different to that of a person in North Monaghan. The North Monaghan dialect is quite musical in itself and that the accents draw a similarity to the Northern accent like that of Donegal and thus is more decorative in nature. It could be stated that ornamentation has a strong link with the blas or nature of your own speaking voice.
I began to attend group sessions with Stephanie Mackem, where I gradually picked up songs such as ‘Margadh an Iúir’ and ‘The False Knight’. These songs are from the Oriel region of South Armagh, Louth and North Monaghan. I wondered how one catagorises these songs, since the area is no longer characterised as a Gaeltacht. As documented by Ó Torna, ‘it is clear that, in contexts such as this, Gaeltacht does not represent a particular location, but rather a group of people, the Gaeil, the ‘Gaels’-Irish or Scottish speakers of Gaelic and subscribers to a Gaelic world view.’ Does this suggest that it is sean-nós if the people who sing the style understand and are able to communicate in the style which they sing in? It was not until I attended various workshops with Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin, from South Armagh, that I began to sing frequently as Gaeilge. A style which Lillis Ó Laoire summarises broadly as ‘ancient in lineage, personal in character, lyrical in content, more ornamented in delivery, more authentic in essence.’ A competency in the fluency of the Irish language and an understanding of foghraíocht or diction greatly enhances the natural inclusion of ornamentation.
During these workshops we would also have singing time with Padraigín’s husband Len Graham who would teach us Irish traditional songs, macaronic songs of both Irish and English Language, ballads and also lilting which refers to the singing style of Irish dance tunes to vocables , syllables which have no literal meaning, and is analogous to many vocal traditions around the world. Len provided a fusion of different song styles from the Ulster Region and one cannot conclude that one type epitomises the Ulster singing style in itself, but rather an amalgamation of all types to give us the Ulster style. In interview with Len he describes his style as ‘Irish traditional singing in the English Language with an Ulster regional dialect.’ Len as an English language singer also voices the idea of the Ulster dialect. ‘This English language tradition is, more recent in origin, more practical in character, more literal in content, more plain in delivery, less Irish in essence as Ó Laoire puts it.’ It is less Irish in the sense of language and yet a dialect of English is still referred too.
I have presently been singing in the Tír Chonaill style from the Donegal region and I know that this is sean-nós without any confusion or collaboration of other styles as it has been fully defined and is only through Irish. There is no other influence of the English language on the style, other than that of Scottish Gaelic which is very similar to the Irish that is spoken there. All of my personal experiences with both language singing styles have raised a question in my head. How does one distinguish the Ulster sean-nós from Irish traditional singing, the macaronic songs, the ballads, the lilting tradition and what correctly categorises each style, what are the similarities and differences in the various features of the singing styles in the Ulster Region.

Chapter 2: The Sean-nós Tradition

In this chapter I explore the term sean-nós and its performance style, under the following headings; Audience Participation – Community and Context, a Musical style and structure and Performance Practice. Ornamentation, undoubtedly, is a key factor in all styles of sean-nós and thus will have a large share in this chapter. I will compare the simplified Ulster form of ornamentation to that of the Connemara style using Joe Heaney as a figure who epitomises the technique.
Audience Participation – Community and Context
The audience usually refrain from singing along with the singer as the style is solo, however, they may accompany the singer in the chorus or in a repeated end line. ‘There is a communal sense of place and a shared sense of social history which often moves the listeners to utter words of approval and encouragement to the listener.’ An example of such praises and vocal encouragement are expressed in the poem Croch suas é by Seán Ó Curraoin. (Translation follows)

Abair amhrán,
Maith fear…
Abair stéibh d’amhrán
As ucht Dé ort,
Déan cheana-
Is tú atá in ann, Bail ó Dhia ort,
Ciúineas anois!
Ciúneas do Bheairtle!
Torm do láimh go windéafaidh mé thú,
Sin é anois é.
Céard déarfas mé?
Abair ‘Ros a’Mhil’….
Fáinne óir ort!
Go maire tú go ndéana craiceann spíonáin cónra duit!
Tugaí seans dó!
Dúnaí a mbéil!

Tell us a song,
Good man…
Tell us a stave off a song
For God’s sake,
Do indeed-
You’re well able, God’s blessing on you,
Quiet now!
Quieten your mouth!
Give me your hand so I can wind you,
That’s it now.
What will I say?
Say ‘Ros a’ Mhíl’…
A gold ring on you!
If you survive a coffin of spinach will be made for you!
Give him a chance!
Close your mouths!

Figure 2.1.

This poem presents us with the series of events that lead to a song being sung or told, as stated in the translation. A singer has to be persuaded into singing and needs to be complimented, the audience need to be silenced. Often in the Connemara tradition, a person may take the singers arm to twist it in a winding motion. They are almost winding the song out of the person but they also act as a connection between the singer and the listener. The singer may ask if there are and requests or a suggestion as to what he will sing. When he begins to sing they shout words of praise and blessings at them in order to let the singer know they appreciate his singing for them.

Since traditional Irish songs are primarily lyrical rather than narrative in composition, sean-nós singers also often give the narrative background of a song, before singing it, even when they can assume that the audience is already familiar with the story. It is an important feature which shows that you have an interest in your listeners and you give then a deeper understanding of the performance. ‘Without a listener, an ingredient would be missing, so they must be treated with respect also. The singer sings the words of the protagonist, while both the singer and audience follow and emotionally participate in the ‘story’ of the song.’
Like storytelling, the context most conductive to the performance of sean-nós singing is a quiet, intimate one, with an attentive and sympathetic audience. Historically, sean-nós singing was almost entirely confined to community gatherings, such as céilí houses (ag dul ar cuairt-going visiting or céilíing), dances, wakes and weddings. ‘You would be walking the road and the tavern-door would be open and you would go in. There would be as many as twenty men in the room drinking, and every man that came in he would not go without singing a song or telling a tale.’

With the decline of these traditional contexts, the performance of sean-nós singing has become increasingly common in pubs which we can a seisiún, at traditional music festivals which are numerous, in schools, at traditional music festivals, at singing competitions and at specially organised singing sessions.
Adam Kaul tells the story of friends of his from the United States who were visiting him in Doolin, they had promised them that before their return home they would take them to a ‘session’. Having problems describing what a session was, they brought them to one in O’Connor’s Pub and set after set, they played in the front room around the cold fire.
At other times during the evening, like when Seamus McMahon sang a few sean-nós songs, the air became thick with sombre (if not quit sober) silence. This was a great session, one that buzzed…His eyes were squeezed tightly shut and his head turned at a slight angle as he lilted through the sad story of unrequited love and emigration…Some watched him while others gazed glassy eyes at the floor or into the coal fire…As he came around to the end of the last line of the verse he suddenly shouted out “Up the Banner, boys!” expressing his local pride in County Clare…The crowd roared with laughter and cheers and orders for another round of drinks. “Good man yourself, Seamus!”… My friend leaned over to me and said, “This is it, isn’t it?”

Not much has changed over the years in the interaction between singer and audience. The context of performance has just been altered from an intimate setting to a public setting; this is not to say that the intimacy has changed. For instance, one still finds in these settings the practises of encouragement and the rhythmic swinging or winding of the hand by the listener, a practise that is still alive in the Connemara style.
Musical style and structure
The idea of a sean-nós singer having a collection of one hundred songs would be the profession of a collector and not a sean-nós singer. Instead, most singers have a smaller personal repertoire of songs maybe around a dozen. These songs mean something to the person or maybe suit their voice and are picked for particular occasions. Williams points out that ‘in a small village where all the singers know each other, it is considered polite for singers to avoid performing the favourite songs of their friends and neighbours, to give them the opportunity instead. As a result, most singers are known for their particular renditions of individual songs.’
Many people like Sean O’ Boyle consider that ‘Irish music, not only on the metres and rhythms of Gaelic poetry, but also on the scales or modes, within the compass of our national instrument, the harp.’ Many of the airs of sean-nós songs have distinctive features including the recurrent use of the flattened seventh note, many pentatonic-based scales and airs composed in the less frequent ABAB, ABCA and ABCD form. Sean-nós is based on various modal scales as seen in figure 2.2. Most Irish tunes are in one of four modes which are: Doh (Ionian mode), Ray (Dorian mode), Soh (Mixolydian mode), Lah (Aeolian mode). The Mi mode is rare and the Fah mode is uncommon. Doh and soh are both major modes and Ray and Lah are minor. ‘Many of the songs include inflection: sometimes the seventh note is flattened and natural in the same tune. Also the same effect can be taken on the fourth degree of the scale.’

Doh mode C D E F G A B C
Ray mode D E F G A B C D
Mi mode E F G A B C D E
Fah mode C D E F♯ G A B C
Soh mode D E F♯ G A B C D
Lah mode E F♯ G A B C D E
Figure 2.2.
One can recognise which mode a piece is in generally from the last note of the piece- if the air ends on La; the air is in the La mode.
Traditional singers do not usually feel bound to observe what Seán Ó Baoill described as ‘the isochronous nature of the metrical feet of music’. Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin notes how ‘they choose rather to stress the poetic metre often dictated by feeling and ornamentation, breathing gaps and glottal stops in the singing of the song.’
Methods of Learning
The sean-nós style grows from an oral tradition. ‘Many say that a tune learned by standard notation is more easily forgotten than one learned from listening to another singer. Also if you learn a song by ear you then associate it with the person you heard singing it or the place you first heard it; so the tune is alive in your mind and not just dead black dots on a white page.’ As the songs are learnt by ear and not from written notation, this guarantees that the songs undergo alteration over time, more likely the melody rather than the tune. Hence, this would explain why many alternative versions of the same song exist.

Performance style
Solo and unaccompanied presentation.
Irish traditional music depends on an individualistic embellishment of the melodic line; it is often held that it is communicated to its greatest effect in solo performance. The act of accompanying a sean-nós singer is not common as it is not coherent with the style itself. However, if musicians were to accompany the singer for company, or maybe to give an emotional affects to the performance or, essentially to provide bigger sounds so that one can dance.
‘Musicians since the 1960s have experimented with adding accompaniment and vocal harmony to the Irish songs, but by definition, such innovations are outside the “old style”’. The idea of accompaniment is a personal choice of the singer and it also depends on the genre of the song. During a rendition of some particularly slow songs with an emotional thematic background, the drone of the uileann pipes can prove appropriate and also if the song is a lively one, a single, accompanying instrumental line can be highly effective.
Freedom and Vocal timbre.
Unaccompanied solo singing lends itself to a sense of freedom which is most evidently expressed through the rhythm, melodic decoration and vocal timbre. It is natural in nature and no vocal training like that of a classical voice is needed. The only training a traditional singer or a sean-nós singer if they were to acquire, is to meet with singers who have a barn load of songs as the saying goes. Also, a key aspect of the sean-nós style is to learn proper pronunciation of the Irish words, which can take longer than learning the tune of the song itself at times. Certain aspects of vocal training may help and instruct singers on how to improve their singing technique. For example if one is having difficulty with certain high notes in the range of a song they have under taken, a vocal coach can teach them how to use their head or falsetto voice. They can also teach them correct breathing and prepare them for the performance of a song. Doctor Richard Henebry explains the consequences of training on a traditional natural voice:
I knew some who did well in traditional singing until their success prompted them to take lessons in voice production from common modern teachers in towns, and they could never sing Irish any more. The colour was completely gone from their voice, and the power to glide and make the complicated graces so dear to music.
A sense of freedom is open to each sean-nós singer and no one verse is ever sung the same by any one singer. This is something that makes each singer unique. Williams writes about the free metre of the sean-nós style, ‘so that one can breathe, complete a musical phrase in the time necessary rather than being beholden to an accompanist, and use vocal ornaments according to stylistic appropriateness, individual choice, or not at all.’ This great freedom is due to the fact that sean-nós singing is without the strict rhythm of accompaniment. They are able to keep the rhythm themselves, sometimes you might notice a singer tapping their feet or taping their hands on their thighs if the song is a lively one.
An air of detachment.
Sean-nós singers often assume an air of detachment when performing. Some close their eyes; some others lower their heads or even turn away from the audience. Others again keep their eyes wide open, engaging specific audience members much as though they were narrating a story. Some singers prefer to sit while singing, others stand, and others take a drink after each verse. The singing is informal in nature. Monica Beegan declares:
I started singing at a young age and I always sat down and closed my eyes, but I don’t think it was because I was “into” the song, it was nerves!! As I got older I would always break the song down and no matter what song I sing I always associate it with my life experience, I feel this helps me tell the story better and remember the words.
Maire Ni Choilm also noted that:
It depends on the song, the audience and how I’m feeling at the time so there are many factors to consider. If it’s a sad love song or a song about tragedy I tend to close my eyes and get lost in the story/essence of the song. If it’s a light or happy song or a drinking song I tend to have my eyes open and engage with the audience.
It appears to be a matter of personal opinion and the age of a person is a key factor.
Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin upon interview on the area of detachment replied:
‘The song is always an internal process in as much as I am the singer but it is also inclusive of the audience, and my intention would always be when singing to bring a universality of emotion into the songs so that listeners can identify with it. The more I am inside the song, the deeper it gets and the more others can identify with it, I hope. I am not comfortable with exclusivity, either in emotion or music. Of course all that depends on the song. A singer wouldn’t need to go deeply in the case of some lighter songs which would require other characteristics such as playfulness etc. I sometimes close my eyes, but only to avoid distraction and to remember words. In order to go deeply into the song one needs to detach from the audience, whether with eyes open or shut, but that doesn’t mean excluding the audience. In a sense one needs to “live” the song.’

Nevertheless, this is not to say that the performance is casual; ‘a person’s agreeing to sing for instance, may be the culmination of a very structured series of requests and denials. One might go so far as to say that knowing when to sing is a significant element in the singer’s art.’ The Age and prestige of the singer is naturally taken into account in deciding when each person sings. The singer is not usually demonstrative – hand gestures or body movement or facial expressiveness is rare. Speaking rather than singing the final line or phrase of a song is a frequent device which signals that the song is almost complete. Sean-nós singing can often be a very internal process for the singer. The singer must sync themselves into the world of the song. The idea of ‘living’ the song is very much alive. Similarly, Joe Heaney once said:
I put myself in the man’s name that this particular song was written about. Am I suffering the labours he did, can I go through that or have that picture before me; if I can’t follow that man, the journey he took, whether he was in bondage or slavery, I don’t follow the song and I don’t do it justice, and I don’t know, I don’t if I don’t do that.
The glottal stop.
A common stylistic device is the use of the glottal stop. This is a normal feature of the style where there is a sudden stopping of the air flow in the throat in the middle of the song without caution. ‘The result was to break the smooth running of the songs metre with the abrupt ending of a note. It is a form of rhythmic decoration. The effect of the sudden stop is to emphasise either the note which has just been sung or the following one. The use of the glottal stop is quiet common in all regions.’
A feeling of continuity.
One of the problems for the solo singer is to maintain a feeling of continuity in both music and text. One finds singers adjusting the phrasing of the song to give continuity; they do not pause at the end of a line but run the phrase right into the middle of the next line. They must also insure not to lose the natural momentum. It sometimes happens that the singer will only pause after the linking word in the text has been sung and the listener then knows that the remainder of the sentence has yet to come. The anticipation bridges the gap in the music sometimes on the word is/and or ach/but, for example in the sean-nós song ‘Thugamar Féin an Samhradh Linn’ (We bring the Summer with us)
Samhradh buí ,earrach is geimhreadh
Is thugamar féin a’ samhradh linn.
(Bright summer, spring and winter
And we’ll take the summer with us.)

In this example we are presented with ‘is’ this encourages the singer to refrain from taking a breath after geimhreadh but rather to create a sense of continuity as the word ‘is’ creates an unbroken flow.

Another idea is to repeat a line for emphasis, the song to illustrate this:
Tá’na lá, a mhíle grá,
Tá’na lá is seal’ mhaidin,
Tá’na lá, a mhíle grá,
Is tráth domhsa bheith’ gabhail abhaile.
Nasalisation .

Nasalisation is another attempt to maintain continuity musically by continuing a note at the end of a line even when there is no text to support it. It is most obvious on a vowel sounds when the singer closes his lips thereby forming an ‘m’ sound like a kind of a drone which is repeated at the end of other lines. A sean-nós song musically purified seems to the author to imply a continuous drone throughout, supporting the ornate melody line. A practical advantage of nasalisation is that it gives the singer time to think about the song without losing pitch.
There is no doubt that there is a strong link between the singing and the words. Liam de Noraidh believes that the music releases the words ‘Sáraíonn an ceol an chaint.’(The music releases the speech) On the other hand Tomás Ó Canainn believes that ‘words and music are equally vital.’ Ó Madagáin considers that to sing is ‘to put a voice on the words’ De Noraidh gives us examples of words that would not be emphasised in speech but would be emphasised in song.
‘Is gairid a bhíos ann’ which means ‘I was recently there.’
The title of the song is Aréir ar mo Leabaidh
The emphasis is on ‘gairid’ or ‘recently’. In normal speech, the emphasis would be on ‘a’ or ‘I’.
‘Céad slán ag sléibhte maorga chondae Dhún na nGall.’
“100 goodbyes to the majestic mountains of Donegal.”
Gleanntáin Ghlas’ Ghaoth Dobhair.
‘Maorga’ here means majestic, in speech if one was saying goodbye to one’s home place or as in this line the mountains of Donegal, the emphasis would be on the mountains not the fact that they are majestic.

Breandán Breathnach says that ‘the notation does not preceed the performance nor is it a directive as to how a piece must be played’ , this is most evident in traditional singing also and it is form this concept that the idea of ornamentation arrises. Certain regional differences can be drawn regarding the use of ornamentation in sean-nós singing. There are three main regions and thus three main styles- Connacht, Ulster and the Munster style. To consider one the dominant, or one better than any other, would be highly inappropriate. Ornamentation in my opinion is strongly linked with the dialect of Irish in the area and thus evokes a sense of decoration in the style of singing.
Two main types of ornamentation may be observed: melismatic and intervallic.
Melismatic ornamentation may consist of a group of adjacent auxiliary notes decorating or replacing a main note of the melody as shown in figure 2.3.
Figure 2.3. Melismatic Ornamentation.
Figure 2.4. Intervallic ornamentation
Intervallic ornamentation consists of an interval between two notes which may be replaced by a different interval or, perhaps by a series of stepwise notes to fill the interval as shown in figure 2.4.
For instance, ‘ the kind of pronounced melismatic ornamentation and attenuation of phrases often found in Connemara sean-nós is not characteristic of the Donegal tradition, where rhythm tends to be more restrained.’ ‘The style of sean-nós singing in the northern half of Ireland combines a stark simplicity with subtle ornamentation, much less so than the florid melismatic ornamentative style of some west of Ireland singers.’ Máire Ní Choilm reiterates this point in reference to her use of ornamentation as an Ulster singer: ‘Generally speaking, there wouldn’t be a lot of use of ornamentation in the Donegal style of singing. I would not be inclined to use a lot of ornamentation in my own singing.’ Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin also voices that she allows ‘a freedom of variation and interpretation’ in her singing and that ‘it is true to say that seldom are traditional songs sung in exactly the same way by two different singers.’
Ní Uallacháin speaks of the southeast Ulster Gaelic song as one which was kept a secret, of one which was unavailable to many outside the restraints of the Gaelic language. Ní Uallacháin tells us that these songs tell us a wealth about the human heart, about the people who made them, the times they lived and the traditions of their communities. The people’s style of singing in the northern half of Ireland combines a stark simplicity with subtle ornamentation according to Pádraigín and thus may draw similarities to that of the Donegal style. Doretha E. Hast asserts that any performance of Úirchill a’Chreagáin by Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin will give one a clearer understanding of the style.
The texture is sparse: one unaccompanied voice. The timbre is warm and intimate, and the pitch and volume are slightly higher than that of a speaking voice- elevated enough to create the sense that something more passionate than normal conversation is going on, but not at the frequency and dynamic level of an operatic aria or a shouted blues. The use of rhythm to emphasize the meaning and emotion of the text is coherent with the style.
In interview with Ní Uallacháin she stated ‘I was not taught it (ornamentation) but would have been influenced by what I heard. It is very much in the style of Ulster, less is more, and the ornamentation tends to be more subtle that Connemara sean-nós. Ornamentation is used to emphasise an emotion or sound. The longer a song is with me the more ornamentation I tend to use, sometimes but not always.’ Ornamentation appears to be something very personal to the performer if all of my teacher’s opinions are to be taken into account.
An example of a sean-nós singer from Connacht is Joe Heaney. When asked about the ornamentation in his songs, Heaney’s answers showed that he thought of it, not primarily in terms of notes or of musical form, but as an act of ‘drawing out lines’:
…the notes that you’re talking about, the embellishments of it-whatever you call it, that’s nature’s accompaniment they call that. I Don’t try to do it, it just happens through the song when I try to draw out a line, and not-hold on to that particular line because there’s something special about that line. Don’t throw it away, hold on to it as long as you can.

I find this man’s view simplistically brilliant, even though his style is so different to the simplistic Ulster style, I can still identify with his way of thinking. There is no manual presented to you when you wish to learn the style-the style is rooted in a tradition. Joe Heaney is one man who preserved what this tradition epitomised. After all, ‘you’ve got to learn the song and develop your own style-to walk before you run…to learn the song and what the song is about. And then, develop your own style in doing it…there’s nobody living that can tell anyone where to put grace notes in a song. You just do it yourself. It takes years.’
There is no doubt that is takes years. I can recall first learning how to ornament and I remember singing triplets and grace notes very slowly and then putting an ‘x’ above the word I needed to ornament. But now I understand that you create ornamental emphasis naturally while singing. Monica Beegan said:
I have never actually learned a song and decided where to put ornamentation, and I know and have been told that I never sing a song the same way twice, I would class myself as an Ulster Singer and throughout Ireland Ulster singers a known for their flow of the song (Ornamentation is just natural, not forced and predictable). I was never taught ornamentation and I believe that it is something that comes naturally from listening to other singers. And it is what makes sean-nos singing unique.
As Heaney says it takes years of practise and essentially the singer must be ‘at one’ with a song to be able to ornament, or to ‘live’ the song. Ornamentation is a question of time, coming from the desire to ‘hold on’ to lines. Naturally, slower songs will allow more time for ornaments than faster ones. Heaney’s description of ornamentation is very understandable and plausible. It draws relevance to personal taste, imagination and ability.

Chapter 3- Sean-nós and Modern Developments.
As we have previously learnt from Fintan Vallely, ‘the sean-nos style is as modern as it is old.’ In this chapter I set out to explore the developmental aspect of the style. Ríonach Uí Ógáin has conducted great research into the development of the Connemara singing tradition and, while looking into her work, I intend to draw comparisons between the Connemara and the Oriel style of South Ulster. I intend to show how the idea of the loss of the Irish language has hindered the progression of the Oriel style. I hope to understand what effect, if any, that the “two-tradition hypothesis”, an idea developed by Lillis Ó Laoire and Anthony Mc Cann has on the progression of the Oriel style.
The sean-nós singing tradition like any other custom is constantly changing, which is the nature of any vibrant musical genre. Ríonach Uí Ógáin in her essay “From Camden Town to Ros an Mhíl- Changes in the Connemara singing tradition” reports that ‘it is sometimes said that the tradition has become stereotyped and unreceptive to change.’ Uí Ógáin poses the question of whether or not the singing tradition has become so narrow that it may decline. She also points out that ‘not only is this living tradition in a state of constant flux but that it is also a singing tradition in a minority language which is under threat.’ One can argue that the idea of this living tradition is not as evident in the Oriel style of South Armagh to that of the Connemara style in which the Irish language is spoken on a daily basis in the community. Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin wrote herself that:
….. the sean-nós style is a celebration of traditions past, and also one which holds a fragile survival into the present. She also said that the story of southeast Ulster Gaelic song was a hidden world, which was accessible only to those who could speak and read the Irish language. The decline of Irish as the vernacular of the people of southeast Ulster, and with it the Gaelic songs tradition, is a story of division and alienation attributed, mainly, to the machinations of church and state.
And thus, we are presented with the answer as to why there is a continuous development in the sean-nós style in Connemara, the survival of the Irish language.
Uí Ógáin is of the opinion that:
The vocabulary in the songs and the phrases and nuances were closely related to similar characteristics in the songs composed in English at the time. The new songs in Irish were a direct translation of the music and emotions expressed in recently composed songs in English… The Irish language songs were accompanied, and were sung in a mid-Atlantic accent.

She also noted that these songs were a means of recognising the fact that young people in Irish-speaking districts no longer wanted to listen to the more traditional songs such as ‘Anach Cuain’, and that their needs should be addressed, at a time when important changes were rapidly taking place in relation to language, music and culture.

There were many other composers at the time who were composing songs and singing them with accompaniment, such as Tomás Mac An Iomaire and Joe Steve Ó Neachtain. The roots of their songs were in the community, the majority of them ‘light-hearted, some are amusing, reflecting the sense of humour of those who listen to them and who sing them.’ One only has to attend the Oireachtas (which is a celebration of Irish traditions and cultures which is based around various competitions for all ages) to hear these kinds of songs in one of the many competitions specifically Amhráin Nuachumtha or Newly composed songs.

A lady from Santry in Dublin, named Míne Bean Uí Chribín, sang a song about all the different ways chicken is served these days and it was absolutely hilarious but so relevant at the same time. Another gentleman, Seán Ó Gráinne from Na Forbacha, in County Galway, sang a song about one of the candidates who was running for Presidency at the time and subsequently is now our elected President Michael D. Higgins. Both songs come from old tunes and are sung with traditional features such as Seán’s chorus which was a slight form of lilting:
“Oh Michael D. D O diddle dom…”

Ríonach speaks of songs which you would also hear at this competition, songs such as the ‘Great Flu’ and ‘Amhrán an Dole’. Ciarán Ó Fátharta has composed a modern song, ‘Amhrán na mBaid Mhóra’:

Iad ag seoladh ina scórhta,
Báid bheaga agus báid mhóra,
Iad feistithe amach is cóirithe,
Iad réití’ thar barr…

Also another newly composed sean-nós song which tells the stories of the daily lives of the people is ‘Amhrán an Bhingó’ which Tomás Seoige composed:

Nach iontach an mí-ádh é an geaimbleáil,
Seacht n-uaire níos mease ná an t-ól,
Nuair a chloisim an chaint ar an jeaicpot,
Bíonn mó chroí istigh dhá bhrú is dhá dhó.

These songs reflect many problems, social, economic and political, which are to be found in the community. Would it not make sense that as time and the social way of life of community develops that the themes of the life as expressed by the people themselves in their songs also develop? Ó Conghaile wrote ‘má chuaigh an seansaol i léig i gConamara ní dheachaigh na hamráin ná an chumadóireacht.’ (If the old way of life was to decline in Connemara, the songs and the composing would not go with it.) If Ó Conghaile is right, then why has there not been any similar significant development in the Oriel region, assuming that seansaol has a strong link with the Irish Language. Ní Uallacháin noted that ‘The language preserved the songs and nce the language went, within the space of thirty years the next generation neither had language nor songs.’ It does not mean that a tradition is ‘narrow’ or ‘in decline’ but rather ‘it must survive side by side with other singing styles and not isolated from them.’ Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin herself as an Ulster singer has composed and recorded various albums. One such album is ‘áilleacht’ or ‘beauty’ which is a new collection of compositions in Irish in a traditional and contemporary style This album may not be regarded traditionally as sean-nós singing. However, it may be looked on as a development in the Ulster song style as the songs are still in Irish. A distinctive pattern of development within the sean-nós style is highlighted and explored in Connemara, but so far to this date, no modern publication of newly composed sean-nós songs exists in the Oriel region.

A question of language?

Songs in English are also sung in this style but, while there are similarities between them and traditional singing in Irish, they are two different traditions and are generally celebrated as such. Liam Mac Con Iomaire talked about ‘the outlook the songs reflect on life and how each language of song has its own distinctive view of the world that is quite different to the songs in English.’ This view raises many unresolved questions in my head. If one is to argue the point that sean-nós singing applies predominantly to the Irish Language then why am I not writing this thesis as Gaeilge? And yet, all of these notions ignore the fact, that for better or for worse, ‘ English is the language of the vast majority of traditional singers in Ireland, and that singing in both languages shares many common features.’ But, one could also argue that in an Irish-speaking situation, the singer and the listener are in real communication.’ In many instances the performer is singing of people and places known to the listener in the locality so therefore sean-nós is wholly understood in the natural home of the language where listeners not only know the words of the song but can also identify with the background.’ All the above points are identifiable to the English language singing tradition also.

We translate sean-nós as an old style of traditional singing and yet sean-nós is called Irish traditional singing. It seems a somewhat paradoxical situation. Within the restrains of the 1937 Irish Constitution under Article 8, the Irish language is the “national” and “first official language.” English is recognized as the “second official language.” This is unfortunately not a true representation of the main language spoken in the country.

Ó Laoire and Mc Cann in their article about ‘The Hierarchy of Tradition in Representations of Gaelic and English Language Song’ , explore this discursive operation of binary opposition which they feel is presented as a ‘choice of languages.’ The practice of what is commonly referred to as ‘traditional’ or ‘unaccompanied’ singing in Ireland is often represented as if singers have before them the “choice” of two radically-distinct and symbolically-disparate linguistic traditions. They title this a ‘two-traditions hypothesis’. Ó Laoire and Mc Cann have now provided me with a label for the un-answered questions that lie in my head. They suggest a binary opposition was established in the discourses of Irish cultural nationalism. The concept holds that the embodiment of music and language through song in Gaelic is one which upholds the matrix of what it means to be Irish.

This idea of ‘Two Traditions hypothesis’ has come to characterise the Gaelic song tradition as being absolutely different and separate from its English language counterpart. The idea of a ‘song tradition’ is presented to allow the persistence of a continuously defined and unchanging entity which remains more or less identical through time. So therefore one could draw that there is absolutely no association between the two and they are in support of Liam Mac Con Iomaires viewpoint, however this is not a universally popular idea. ‘They also show us O’ Rourke’s opposition to this view in the development of Gaelic Song.’

In these songs, it seemed to me, they think differently, they look on the world with different eyes and minds, they fall in love differently – or at least express themselves differently about it; they grieve differently, they pray and curse differently. And they do all these things eloquently, imaginatively, impressively, attractively – more so, I thought, than in the [English language] world with which I was already familiar.

Some scholars hold the view that the English language splits people apart from their roots and natural ability to converse and communicate in Irish as the language of the country. O’ Sullivan supposed that ‘popular English songs differ enormously from their Irish counterparts, and the difference is indicative of the profound effect of the loss of their language on the psychology and character of the Irish people.’ O’ Boyle also views, ‘the texts of English language songs as malformed attempts of a people, to express themselves in a language that is not their own.’

This binary way of thinking holds the idea that the English language singing tradition and the sean-nós tradition are two separate identities. This is a view more commonly held by Gaeltacht speakers or those whose language of song is predominately through Irish. People who have been brought up and been immersed in both languages would find this hypothesis flawed. This mind set is ideological and has made people disregard the English language singing tradition. Music should not be used as a weapon in a war between cultures and traditions but a bridge which acts between the transfers of the values of these customs from one community to another.

Each different opinion has given me the chance to form mine. I recall having a conversation with Máire Ní Choilm, my present sean-nós teacher, about the performance differences while singing in two different languages. She described it as a difference in meon which translates in English as mind-set, character, outlook, attitude, viewpoint, perspective, feeling etc. Máire helped me to understand what the differences are while singing each song. It is an internal entity that is very hard to explain, but the word meon encapsulates the idea exquisitely. To me it is a very personal method of communication between one’s own mind and that of a listener which O’Rourke succeeds in unfolding for me. Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin also expresses a similar belief to this when it comes to the audience when ‘they feel discomfort that they ought to understand the language being sung. She argues that they need to sit back and feel, they would understand, but they feel, because they have not got the language, or they left the language aside….’ Ní Uallacháin understands the idea of feeling a song as both a singer and as an audience member. In interview with Ní Uallacháin she voiced that:

I think the country is too small and the tradition too narrow to talk of celebrating two different traditions. It is one tradition reflected and expressed in different ways. Mac Con Iomaire’s remark is a generalisation but the lyrics of Irish language songs tend to be less explicit in a story line than those in English and would express more feeling and imagery. The story behind it would often be imagined. But again this is all very general. The sounds of Irish and English are very different, and in Irish are much more sung on the vowel sounds which create a different effect. For me that’s much more significant musically.

It is obvious that there is a binary between the two traditions, but this is not to say that they should be celebrated as such. Personally, I have grown up with both traditions alongside me in equal measures and I have never termed one as more supreme than the other. Neither are malformed attempts in either language nor are they expressing a loss in either language. Maybe a new celebration needs to be set up where both styles in both languages are celebrated in unity together, after all, singers generally sing for the love of song and not language.

According to Ó Laoire and Mc Cann, ‘sean-nós serves as a powerful unifying symbol of language, literature, and ore for Gaelic revivalists and Irish cultural nationalists… the epitome of Ireland as not- England.’ Maybe having grown up near to the border of Northern Ireland, I have never seen a divide in singing styles as many of the songs in the Oriel region are from the border regions including South Armagh and people who live here do not see any political border in song. A song celebrates memories that are so important in the first place they were made into a song, so why should one distinguish language in an act of celebrating memory in either language?


Having sung sean-nós for ten years, it was not until I started my Bachelor of Arts degree that I was introduced to the techniques and features of the style under the course of traditional and popular music here in the college. This course instilled awe and wonder in my singing and I wanted to conduct further research in the subject. Naturally my two main interests lay in performance practise and in Ornamentation. Having come from the simplified style of the Oriel region and being exposed to the flowery decoration of the Connemara style, it led me to pursue my interest further.

In Chapter Two, I addressed three headings: Audience Participation- Community and Context, Song Structure and Repertoire and Performance Practice.

Audience Participation – Community and Context led me to discover that the singing style is celebrated in an informal environment where the audience is concerned. A series of events leads to the singer’s performance; often a singer may need encouragement as seen in ‘Croch Suas É’, the poem by Seán Ó Curraoin. This poem lays out the path for performance. Even asking him just to sing a verse so they will not feel intimated or under pressure. Singing in front of many can be a daunting experience even for the well accustomed singers in the tradition. While the singer is telling the story through song, the audience feel obliged to encourage the singer and to compliment them with various well wishes and praise. The audience must also be treated with respect and so the singer may tell the story of the song to create a feeling of inclusion amongst all present. Often to explain the idea of a singing seisiún to a person not accustomed to the tradition, can be a difficult task to undertake. Adam Kaul tells us a story where he felt no explanation of the style was suitable and the best way to understand what sean-nós and a seisiún was to take his visitors to one. A feeling of intimacy still surrounds the singing style where any audience, big or small, is concerned.

Musical Style and Structure deals with the idea of repertoire and how each singer has a smaller personal repertoire of songs, maybe around a dozen. These songs mean something to the person or maybe suit their voice and are picked for particular occasions. Many singers are known for the songs they sing. I learnt how each song is based on a mode, which is useful to be aware of even if accompaniment was needed. The sean-nós tradition is one that comes from an oral background and in turn this can have an effect on the alteration of the melody of the song but on the other hand it can prove learning the song easier if you have to learn the words by memory, as you are not relying on any sheet and you are focused more on the melody and the decoration rather than on the words.

Performance Style regards the idea of sean-nós as a solo and unaccompanied style in its original form. I have rarely come across the style being accompanied but this is not to say it cannot be done. Unaccompanied solo singing lends itself to a sense of freedom which is most evidently expressed through the rhythm, melodic decoration and vocal timbre. Sean-nós singing draws from ones natural singing range and vocal abilities, no training is necessary on the voice but rather on techniques such as creating continuity, nasalisation or the glottal stop. An air of detachment is also associated with the style, depending on the song, some may close their eyes to avoid distraction, or maybe if the song is sad, they will want to avoid eye contact with anyone in order to sing the song with feeling and to link their own mind with the song. However, if the song is lively or funny, one’s eyes remain open and the singer will engage with the audience. One must have associations with the song, they pick a song for a personal reason so they can connect with the song.

Ornamentation was another key aspect to this chapter. I now understand ornamentation as the will to hold on to an idea that is important and thus you decorate it with extra melodic notes so as to create a sense of emphasis around this significant lyrical idea. Ornamentation is looked on with different eyes by different singers. The Oriel and Ulster style is simplified because as Ní Uallacháin says it is complete with ‘understated emotion’ and ‘a subtle use of ornamentation as a result’. To explain the Connemara style in a simplistic way is to put it into the words of Joe Heaney’ to hold on to it and not to throw it away. Both styles have this idea of ‘holding on’, it is just a matter of how long or how much decoration, the singer feels is necessary.

Why is the Connemara sean-nós tradition forever developing and why does the Oriel style seem to be steadfast in the past? This was the central idea of Chapter Three. What I learnt is that sean-nós is a living tradition in Connemara. The repertoire is not static, new songs are added and older pieces shed for a while and then revived and their memoires relived. One may be of the opinion that the music is conservative in tendency where the Oriel tradition is concerned. And yet, change only takes place slowly in any tradition. This led me to undertake a study into the idea of language and the “two tradition hypothesis.” I concluded that if a strong active existence was in place in the community of sean-nós singing, it will encourage new growth and development of the style. This also explained why little development if any has occurred in the Oriel style. The development lies in the work of Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin and her book “A Hidden Ulster”. This book was only published in 2003, and it is a source of great wealth and holds a treasure of the songs of the people of South Ulster. It is hard to say that this Oriel style will undergo any development in terms of new repertoire as the Connemara style has. But, it may not be development in repertoire that the style needs, but rather to create a larger awareness of the wealth of songs that have been preserved for us and from whom our ancestors have left for us. It does not mean that we are living in the past; it is just the stage that the Oriel sean-nós style is at.

This study has greatly influenced by own practise of the sean-nós singing tradition. Not only have I begun to use the glottal stop but I am more aware of the reasoning behind key aspects of the style. With the help of the literature and my previous singing teachers, Máire Ní Choilm, Monica Beegan and Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin I now hold a greater understanding of various areas of the style which I have been singing in for ten years. While there has been much research on the Connemara tradition, there is scope for further research in the areas of linguistics; musicology, ethnomusicology and folklore where the Oriel style of sean nós is concerned.


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Déan comparáid idir ‘eagarthóireacht leanúnach clasaiceach’ agus ‘montáis Sóivéadach.’

Gráinne Campion.

I gcúrsaí scannánaíochta, baineann eagarthóireacht le roghnú agus cur le chéile seatanna chun goal a chruthú eatarthu. Tá dhá mhór idé-eolaíocht a bhaineann leis an choincheap seo- eagarthóireacht leanúnach clasaiceach agus montáis Sóivéadach. Is é an sprioc a bhí ag an eagarthóir sa stíl montáise ná chun seatanna a chur le chéile sa chaoi agus is féidir daoine a chur ag smaoineamh faoi céard atá ag titim amach san ábhar agus cén mothúchán atá a chur chun cinn. Bhain an montáis le stíl eagarthóireachta a bhí go hiomlán difriúil ón stíl clasaiceach a bhí in úsáid in iarthar an domhain. Tá eagarthóireacht leanúnach clasaiceach ag baint le titim amach loighciúil na seatanna i ndiaidh a chéile agus gan aon ghearradh a thabhairt faoi deara ag an lucht féachana.
Baineann montáis le slí éagsúil chun seatanna a chur le chéile a bhaineann úsáid as neas-shuigh chun feidhm na seat a bhaint amach.
‘In France, Spain, and Italy they wound up being called monteurs, montadores, monta tori (people who fit things together), emphasizing the initial assembly of images rather than their subsequent rearrangement’ (Murch, 2008: 19).
Míníonn Murch go simplí ina thuairim féin céard a bhí chomh lárnach san eagarthóireacht seo:
‘There was frequently a mysterious extra meaning gained from the juxtaposition of two images which was not present in either of the shots themselves, as if each played the adjective to the other noun’ (2008:19).
Is próiseas é montáis nuair a chuirtear íomhánna i ndiaidh a chéile a chruthaigh scéal in aigne an té a bhí ag breathnú air. B’fhéidir nach bhfuil aon ghaol idir na seatanna ina aonair ach nuair a chuirtear le chéile iad, tagann ciall astu. Dar le Winkler:
‘This premise is based on the dialectical relationship between two shots, “A” and “B” in a cut. By putting shot “A” in juxtaposition (and in opposition) to shot “B” the result is not a sum of the two, but a new idea which might be called “C”’ (2012:3). Níl aon amhras ach go bhfuil ról lárnach ag an lucht féachana anseo chun na bhfeidhmeanna a thabhairt faoi deara.
Tugadh ainm breise ar an choincheap seo ‘Kuleshov Effect’, ainm an teoiricí scannáin ón Rúis Lev Kuleshov a rinne staidéir in éineacht le Ivan Mosjukhin. Roghnaigh siad seat amháin agus chruthaigh siad trí radhairc éagsúil a bhí ag tosú leis an céad seat seo i gcónaí. Is iad na seatanna a lean an chéad seat ná ‘anraith ar an bhord, seat do chónra le bean a bhí marbh inti agus cailín óg ag súgradh le bréagán’ (Dancyger, 1997: 16). Chuir sé in iúl gur féidir leo smaointe agus mothúcháin difriúla a mhúscailt i ndaoine le ord difriúla do seatanna éagsúla. Mar a thug Winkler le fhios tá sé bunaithe ar iarracht an lucht féachana caidreamh agus ceangal a chruthú idir na seatanna, is cuma múna bhfuil aon ghaol ar bith eatarthu.
Ní raibh i dtaighde Kuleshov agus Mosjukhin ná tús, rinne roinnt scannánóirí agus eagarthóirí san áireamh forbairt ar an dul chun cinn seo. I thuairim Dancyger, ‘Eisenstein discovered the visceral power of editing and of visual composition, and he was the master of both’ (1997: 25). Déanann Dancyger cur síos ar an cúig ghné éagsúil atá ag baint leis an montáis a bhí forbartha ag Eisenstein (1997:18):
1. Meadarach- ní gá go mbeidh gaol idir na himeachtaí atá ag titim amach mar tá siad bunaithe ar an cuntais fhráma. Tá sampla iontach le feiceáil i scannán Eisenstein darbh ainm ‘October’ ón bhliain 1928. Tá radhairc éagsúil ann ina bhfuil daoine ag rith timpeall na sráide agus tá saighdiúir i mbun scaoileadh ó chanóin. Tá athrú na seatanna bunaithe ar meadaracht na téad atá le cloisteáil. Tá feidhm áirithe ag baint leis an mheadarach seo chun teannas a chruthú le húsáid a bhaint as ‘close-ups with shorter shots creates a more intense sequence’ (Dancyger, 1997: 18).
2. Rithim- Tá an eagarthóireacht bunaithe ar an comhaireamh fhráma agus ama, gan mórán gaol leis an ábhar. D’úsáid Eisenstein an stíl montáise seo chun coibhneas a chruthú idir seatanna mar imbhualadh ná an ‘montage of attractions’ a chruthódh eispéireas agus mothúcháin nua. I dtuairim Dancyger an feidhm atá ag baint leis an foirmle seo ná ‘portraying conflict because opposing forces can be presented in terms of opposing screen directions as well as parts of the frame’(1997: 20). An sampla is fearr atá ann ná i ‘The Battleship Potemkin’ (1925) ins an radharc cáiliúil ag ‘céimeanna Odessa’. Feictear máthair in éineacht lena leanbh agus iad ag barr céime i gceathramhán amháin don fráma, sa seatanna eile tá daoine ag iarraidh éalú ó thaobh eile den fhráma. Tá saighdiúirí ag téacht i bhur dtreo i lár an fhráma agus iad ag scaoileadh gunnaí. Ta tob ghearradh iontach ann idir na seatanna agus is féidir linn mar lucht féachana a fheiceáil go bhfuil sí chun an leanbh a scaoileadh mar gheall gur gortaíodh ise. Oibríonn an úsáid as neas-suíomhanna go hiontach anseo chun a léiriú don lucht féachana ceard atá chun titim amach.
3. Tonúil- ag eagrú seat le chéile chun mothúcháin a mhúscailt. Le feiceáil i scannáin Eisenstein ‘The Battleship Pontemkin’- an mairgneach. Feictear fear atá tar éis báis a fháil agus tá a chorp a thógadh abhaile ar an báid. Déantar bogadh fíor ciste idir an fear, an báid agus comhartha a chuireann in iúl go raibh easpa bia aige. Cuireann ar n-aigne iad le chéile agus tuigeann muid gur fuair sé bás mar gheall ar an ocras.
4. Forthoin- (Overtonal) -ag eagrú seat le chéile le béim a chur ar rithim agus luas agus ag úsáid gearradh a chuireann in iúl mothúcháin ag an am céanna, mar thoradh tá éifeacht níos cumhachtaí ar an lucht féachana. Is léir gur chuir Eisenstein tús leis an smaoineamh seo ach, bhain Pudovkin úsáid as an stíl montáise seo chun gaol a chruthú idir seatanna mar “nascáil”. Sampla de na i scannán Pudovkin darbh ainm ‘Mother’(1926). Is é an sprioc a bhí ag Pudovkin ná áthas an phríosúnaigh a chur in iúl sular ligeadh amach as príosúin é:
‘The nervous play of his hands and a big close-up of the lower half of his face, the corners of his smile. These shots I cut in with other and varied material- shots of a brook, swollen with the rapid flow of spring, of the play of sunlight broken on the water, birds splashing in the village pond, and finally a laughing child’(Dancyger, 1997: 16).
Míníonn Pudovkin an smaoineamh a bhí taobh thiar de na seatanna seo: By the juxtaposition of these components our expression of “prisoner’s joy” takes shape’ (Dancyger, 1997: 16). Ní ghlacann sé le réalachas agus íomhá don a aghaidh ina aonair ag taispeáint a áthas ach, úsáideann sé seatanna éagsúla agus fágann sé dúinne na híomhá go léir a chur le chéile inár aigne.
5. Intleachtach—ag cur seatanna le chéile a chruthaíonn meafar mar toradh intleachtach. Ceapaim go bhfuil an pointe seo le feiceáil i scannán Francis Ford Coppola- ‘The Godfather’(1972) atá ag tagairt don stíl nua leanúnacha clasaiceacha. Nuair atá Correolone ag glacadh ballraíocht don Mafia, ag an am ceanna athraíonn na seatanna don a mhac á baisteadh mar bhall don Eaglais Chaitliceach. Tá codarsnacht domhain le braith idir an chomhthéacs reiligiúin don baisteadh linbh agus an ghnó do díoltas an mafia. ‘Tá leanúnachas an cheoil ón séipéil le chloisteáil thar na radhairc ar fad agus de bharr sin, cuireann sé in iúl go bhfuil na himeachtaí ag titim amach ag an am ceanna’ (Coulbeck, 2007).
Chruthaigh Vertov teanga ‘nua’ do meán nua a bhí dírithe ar an réaltacht. Bhí a scannáin ‘Man with a Movie Camera’ (1929) féin-athfhillteach. An sprioc a bhí ag Vertov leis an scannán seo ná ‘to constitute an experiment in the cinematic transmission of visual phenomena without the aid of intertitles, script or theatre’(Dancyger,1997:26). Is éard a bhí a phlé sa scannán ná, scéal laethúil i saol do fear ceamradóireachta. Cuireann sé i gcuimhne don té atá ag breathnú air faoi cé chomh bréige agus saorga agus atá an scannánaíocht.

Ar an taobh eile de, ta eagarthóireacht leanúnach clasaiceach ina bhfuil leanúnachas loighciúil ag baint le:
‘Continuity editing, a system of editing that is designed to maintain a continuous and clear narrative action’ (Bordwell, 1985; Bordwell & Thompson, 2006; Cutting, 2005).
Dar le Bordwell, tá an chuid is mó do scannáin deartha chun imeachtaí atá soiléir agus tuisceanach a bhaint amach in ionas nach mbeidh mórán dúil curtha ar an lucht féachana an plota a leanúint (1985, 2002). Ach dar le Cutting (2005) ‘baineann 95% den phróiseas eagarthóireachta le gearradh’. Tá an gearradh seo ag iarraidh leanúnachas a chruthú tríd imeachtaí atá dofheicthe don té atá ag breathnú air (Murch, 2001). An phríomh-sprioc atá ag an eagarthóir ná ‘a seamless, or smooth, cut’ (Dancyger, 1997: 296).
Tá sé an stíl seo go hiomlán i gcomparáid leis an montáis, mar tá sé mar sprioc ag eagarthóireacht leanúnach an gearradh idir seatanna a folú. Ach, tá sé mar aidhm ag an montáis go mbeidh an lucht féachana ag tabhairt an gearradh seo faoi deara mar ghearradh atá trédhearcach. Is léir go bhfuil aidhm difriúla ag an dhá stíl ach ní hionann sin agus a rá go bhfuil ceann amháin níos fearr na ceann eile mar tá eispéireas difriúil ag an dhá cheann.
Tá leanúnachas bainteach ar chuile leibhéal an scannáin ó thaobh scéil na carachtair, plota, codarsnacht agus athruithe. Tá mé den tuairim go raibh an choincheap seo tosaithe ag Kuleshov agus Pudovkin, nuair a úsáid siad an chéad seat mar seat leathan i dtosach agus ansin úsáid siad seat teann. Baintear úsáid as an ‘establishing shot’ seo in eagarthóireacht leanúnacha:
‘Most of the time viewers readily infer that the interior room is inside the building despite never experiencing such an abrupt perceptual sequence in real-world interactions’ (Magliano & Zacksb , 2011).
Tá riail 180 céim ag baint le heagarthóireacht clasaiceach. Ba cheart go mbeidh an ceamara i gcónaí ar an taobh céanna agus atá an aicsean ag titim amach. Tá féidearthacht ag chuile seat suíomh an aicsin a athrú. Tagraíonn Winkler don líne samhlaíochta aicsin idir na carachtair. ‘For a fluid continuity, the camera should never cross this line of action in any shot’ (Winkler, 2012: 1). Ina dteannta sin tá tábhacht mhór ag baint le treorú sa stíl seo, mar a deirinn Dancyger ‘narrative continuity requires that the sense of direction be maintained… a strict left-to-right or right-to-left pattern’ (1997: 300). Má athraíonn treoir i seat éigin nuair a ghearrtar é go seat eile beidh sé tugtha faoi deara ag an lucht féachana agus níl seo páirteach san eagarthóireacht leanúnach clasaiceach. Tagraíonn Winkler don ábhar seo chomh maith:
‘Normally, a movement from the left to the right is interpreted as progress, moving forward, to a place, whereas a movement from the right to the left is considered to be a movement of return from somewhere’ (2012 :3).
Feictear seatanna éagsúla cosúil le seat-tiontaigh seat- seat- an sampla is fearr dóibh siúd ná nuair atá beirt i mbun comhrá. Athraíonn an ceamara chuig uilleann difriúil thar ghualainn an dhuine chuile uair nuair a fhreagraíonn an duine:
‘If the scene includes dialogue between two people, the scene will be shot entirely from one characters point of view and then repeated from the other’s point of view’ (Dancyger, 1997:297).
Is maith le heagarthóirí leanúnacha seatanna an aicsin a iompaigh thart agus uillinneacha eile a chur ar fáil don lucht féachana agus ar ndóigh chun níos mó roghanna chur ar fáil don eagarthóir atá a chur na seatanna le chéile. ‘Some directors film the entire action in long shot, mid-shot, and close-up so that the editor has maximum flexibility…’ (Dancyger, 1997: 297). Is léir go bhfuil an aidhm atá acu ná go mbeidh an lucht féachana ag ceapadh go bhfuil siad istigh sa radharc agus ag glacadh páirt san aicsean.
Tréithe eile don eagarthóireacht clasaiceach seo ná go mbeidh seat a dó ag leanadh an rud a bhí i gceist i seat a haon. ‘If two characters are photographed in conversation using a very high angle, as if one character is looking down on the other, the reverse-angle shot- the shot from the other character’s point of view- must be taken from a low angle’(Dancyger,1997: 297). De ghnáth, ní bhíonn ach plota amháin ag titim amach agus beidh an plota go léir ag tharla ag am-líne amháin.
Ní bhaineadh sé le ciall múna raibh trasna idir an dhá stíl eagarthóireachta seo. Níl aon amhras ach go bhfuil eagarthóirí neamh-traidisiúnta ann a bhaineann feidhm as an dhá stíl. Dar le Bordwell (2002) feictear é seo i scannáin atá déanta ag Oliver Stone, a scannáin roimh na cinn ar JFK:
‘They are probably the most disjunctive made in Hollywood, intercutting colour and black-and-white, replaying shots, inserting an occasional long shot crossing the axis of action’.
Bhí tuairim fíor tábhachtach ag Eisenstein nach raibh sé sásta ligin don íomhá eagarthóireachta a bhí ‘cut off from life’ agus anuas ar seo do rud ar bith a bhí cosúil le teoiric, cosúil le ‘Art for Art’s sake’(Aumont & Hildreth, 1983). I mo thuairim, seo atá i gceist le heagarthóireacht clasaiceach-leanúnachas gan mórán stró a chur ar an lucht féachana a bheith ag smaoineamh. Agus dar le Murch (2008) má dhéanann muid smaoineamh ar an áit ina chaitheann muid an tríú cuid is mó dar shaol: ag brionglóid i rith na hoíche. ‘There, images are fragmented and different realities collide abruptly with what seems (in the dream, anyway) to have great meaning.’ Agus nuair atá muid féin istigh inár mbrionglóidí féin, breathnaíonn muid orainn féin ‘from some disembodied yet still personal point of view, the way actors are seen in films’. Is maith liom an chaoi a smaoiníonn Murch air, mar ar leibhéal praiticiúil bhain sé leis an difríocht atá bainteach leis an stíl eagarthóireachta seo. Uaireanta bíonn gearradh i do bhrionglóidí nuair a dhúisíonn tú mar gheall ar an rud a thit amach ann mar bhí feidhm aige ort- seo an sprioc a bhí ag eagarthóirí montáisí leis an stíl gearrtha a bhí tugtha faoi deara ag an lucht féachana. Ach ar an lámh eile de, bhí eagarthóirí a bhain leis an stíl leanúnach clasaiceach ag iarraidh go mbeidh muid ag fanacht sa bhrionglóid seo a chruthaigh siad dúinn agus gan mórán strus a chun orainn féin i rith an bhrionglóid seo smaoineamh faoi céard atá ag titim amach mar tá gluaiseacht nádúrtha na seatanna ag titim amach.


• Aumont, J., & Hildreth, L.,1983. Montage Eisenstein I: Eisensteinian Concepts. I: Discourse, An t-Earrach 1983: 41-99. Wayne State University. Ar fáil ag: Léite ar 01/12/12.
• Bordwell, D., & Thompson, K., 2006. Film art: An introduction. Nua Eabhrach: McGraw-Hill.
• Bordwell, D., 1985. Narration in the fiction film. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
• Bordwell,D., Intensified Continuity:Visual Style in Contemporary American Film. I: Film Quarterly.An t-Earrach 2002.55(5),16-28. University of California Press. Ar fáil ag: .Léite ar 10/12/2012.
• Coulbeck,D., 2007. West vs East – Continuity vs Montage Editing. Ar fáil ag: Léite ar 02/12/12.
• Cutting, J. E., 2005. Perceiving scenes in film and in the world. I: J. D. Anderson & B. F. Anderson., Moving image theory: Ecological considerations. 9–27. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.
• Dancyger, K., 1997. The Technique of Film and video editing: theory and practice. Newton, USA: Focal press.
• Girard, L., 2007. Presentation-A closer look at editing- old school vs new school. Ar fáil ag Léite ar 02/12/12.
• Magliano, J. P., Miller, J., & Zwaan, R. A., 2001. Indexing space and time in film understanding. I: Applied Cognitive Psychology, 15(5), 533–545. Ar fáil ag Léite ar 05/12/12.
• Magliano, J.P., & Zacksba, J.M., The Impact of Continuity Editing in Narrative Film on Event Segmentation. I: Cognitive Science (2011) 1–29 Department of Psychology, Northern Illinois University. Ar fáil ag Léite ar 06/12/12.
• Murch, W., 2008. A Symposium on Editing. I: The Threepenny Review. An t-Earrach 2008.113, 16-19.Threepenny Review Stable. Ar fáil ag Léite ar 07/12/12.
• Winkler, F., 2012.Video Art – Continuity and Montage. Ar fáil ag Léite ar 08/12/12.

Éabhlóidiú na meán digiteach agus an tionchar atá aige ar an saor-iriseoir.

Gráinne Campion.
Tagraíonn na meán digiteach do fhoirm don meáin leictreonach, don chaoi ina bhfuil sonraí coinnithe le chéile i bhfoirm digiteach in ionad form analógach. Tagraíonn sé don phróiseas le rudaí a chur amach mar chríoch tháirge, mar shampla i bhfoirm fuaime, físe agus focail trí mheán éagsúla. Bhí réimse na meáin bunaithe go stairiúil ar na meáin analóga. Cé go bhfuil béim fós ar an chóras seo, tá forbairt tagtha ar le tamall beag anuas mar bhí siad faoi bagairt ó bhrú ama, bhrú eagarthóireachta, ‘inability to re-purpose, and eventual media decay.’ (Cleveland, 2002) Mar gheall ar na deacrachtaí seo, bhí an iomarca airgid agus ama curtha amú i bhforbairt na meáin agus dáileacháin de. Dar le Cleveland:
‘Over the past few years, the advent of high-performance, low-cost computers, non-proprietary software applications, and open standards have given way to eliminating these limitations. These technologies are ushering in a new revolution in media creation’ (2002).
Tá an éabhlóid seo ag athchruthú beocht don réimse, ag gearradh siar ar chaiteachas airgid, ag sábháil ama agus ag cur níos mo rogha ar fáil i neart bealaí éagsúla.
Reáchtáladh Gradaim na Meán Digiteach (Nokia Digital Media Awards) chuile bhliain agus i mbliana tugadh gradam óir sa chatagóir ‘Soláthar nuachta is fearr ar líne’ ar an suíomh Gréasáin Seo an rud is suntasach, nach bhfuil ghá ann níos mó d’éinne a bheith os comhair na teilifíse chun an nuacht a chloisteáil. Tá rochtain i bhfad níos fearr ag iriseoirí agus an domhain ar aon eolas atá de dhíth orthu ar aon trealaimh ina bhfuil idirlíon le fáil air. Bhuaigh The Sunday Business Post an catagóir ina iomlán leis an aip nuachta atá seolta acu le déanaí. Bronnadh an gradam don aip is fearr ar Schmooze, feidhmchlár líonraithe sóisialta atá áisiúil d’ionadaithe atá ag freastal ar chomhdhálacha. Tugadh aitheantas do TV3 don seinnteoir teilifíse 3Player atá ar fáil mar aip ar fhóin chliste chomh maith le haip pinsin a chruthaigh Irish Life. Taispeánann na Gradaim seo an athrú ollmhór atá tagtha ar na meán digiteach le blianta bheaga anuas, athrú as cuimse agus níl aon amhras gur tharla siad mar gheall ar an dul chun chinn atá déanta ag a leithead do cúiseanna a bhaineann leis an éabhlóid seo, a chruthaíonn tionchar chun na maitheasa mar réimse ata i gcónaí ag athrú ar ról saor-iriseora agus an iriseora atá lán-fostaithe san áireamh.
Ar an tríú lá don Nollag seo, bhí an domhain ag ceiliúradh fiche bhliain ón chéad lá riamh a seoladh teasc ó ghuthán soghluaiste. Seo seirbhís a chur Neil Papworth atá ina hinnealtóir) tús leis. Fiche bhliain imithe anois ach dar le Ofcom rialtóir na Breataine go bhfuil laghdú suntasach feicthe acu sa chéad leath den bhliain seo ins an méid téacsanna atá a seoladh sa tír. (Nuacht RTÉ, 2012) Ach, tá bhrú ag teacht ar an mheán seo le tamall bheag anuas mar gheall ar éabhlóid an idirlín. Ceapaim siad go bhfuil an laghdú seo tagtha mar gheall ar sheirbhísí teagmhálacha nua atá curtha ar fáil trí mheán an idirlín, mar shampla Blackberry Messenger (BBM), Skype, I Messenger, Google Talk agus MSN Messenger. Tá na seirbhísí seo saor in aisce ach caithfear fóin chliste leis an margadh android a bheith agat air nó a leithead de IPhone. Anuas ar seo, tá réimse leathan ghréasáin shóisialta ar fáil d’éinne. Tugann Facebook deis do achan duine teagmháil a dhéanamh do dhuine ar bith agus is cuma cén cairn den domhain atá siad:
‘Baineann iriseoirí áirithe úsáid as le cur lena gcuid teagmhálacha agus foinsí’ (Delap, 2012: 349).
Ina dteanna sin, tá twitter ann ina bhfuil chuile ghnáth duine, duine cáiliúil, comhlacht agus fiú an Papa Naofa ábalta teagmháil a dhéanamh don domhain i bhfoirm ghonta. Dar le Delap ‘ is minic a mhaítear gurb é Twitter meán craolta na cosmhuintire agus gur bhaineadh an leas as, mar shampla , sna hagóidí a dhíbir Uachtaráin na hÉigipte agus na Túinéise as oifig in 2011 “ the revolution will not be televised”’(2012: 350) ach ar ndóigh bhí sé a tuíteáil ar Twitter.
Níl seo ach cuid fíor bheag do na héabhlóidí atá tagtha ar chúrsaí cumarsáide trí mhéan digiteach na linne. Níl aon amhras go bhfuil siad fíor úsáideach do chuile dhuine ach mar iriseoir, cuireann siad an iomarca deiseanna breise ar fáil duit. Tá éifeacht láidir ag an ghuthán mar feiceann Future Media and Technology é mar ‘an ceathrú scáileán, tar éis an pictiúrlann, an teilifís agus an idirlíon’ (Bock, 2011: 6). Tóg an IPhone mar shampla, tá ceamara ann atá ar chaighdeán sásúil chun píosa taifid a dhéanamh agus tá roinnt seomraí nuachta a ghlacann leis an chaighdeán seo mar tá an lucht féachana sa bhaile ag dul i dtaithí le chaighdeán atá níos ísle. Ní bheifeá fáil ar a leithéid de, murach an éabhlóid ar an domhain analóga:
‘The success of YouTube seems to have been an agent of change in the online news market: inspiring newspapers struggling to find an online business model to experiment with the potential of self-produced video content’ (Thurman, 2012: 11).
Ach ciallaíonn seo rud iontach don saor-iriseoir. I dtús báire mar gheall ar na héabhlóidí sa meáin digiteach, feictear domsa gurbh féidir le haon duinne a bheith i bhur saor iriseoir. Ní hamháin sin ach Cuireann Delap pointe mhaith in iúl dúinn, ‘cuidíonn ceamaraí níos lú agus trealamh níos éadroime le soghluaisteacht an tuairisceora teilifíse’ (2012: 357). Is léir do chách go mbíonn cúrsaí teicneolaíochta i gcónaí ag athrú, ní hamháin sin ach is léir go bhfuil sé níos so-aimsithe don phobail i gcoitiantacht i dtéarma airgeadais de. Is féidir le beagnach aon dhuine dul amach agus ceamara a cheannach nó fiú ceamara a úsáid ar bhur ngutháin agus bhur bhfíseáin féin a chrochadh suas ar an idirlíon, ionas go mbeidh siad le feiceáil ag an mhór chuid don domhan. Is féidir le hiriseoir saoránaigh físe (VJs) scileanna theicniúla agus scileanna chur i láthair a fhoghlaim chun glacadh páirt in iriseoireacht ar-líne.
Ceapaim go bhfuil feabhas mhór tagtha ar an UGC (user generated content) atá ar fáil dúinn mar gheall ar an éabhlóid seo. Is iontach an rud é go deo, ach caithfear a bheith fíor cúramach cothromaíocht idir an dhá rud a bhaint amach. Dar le Brown a bhí ag obair leis an BBC, anois ag obair le Channel 4:
‘UGC such as the pictures from people’s mobile phones are only useful when they are a unique source from a particular event’ (Lee-Wright, 2010: 11).
Baineann sé le ciall mas rud é go bhfuil eachtra mhór tar éis titim amach go mbeidh pictiúir nó físeán ag na gnáth daoine atá ann díreach ar an láthair roimh na tuairisceoirí. Níl aon amhras go mbeidh na foinsí sin úsáideach sula bhfuil an tuairisc ar fáil cosúil le na buamaí a bhí ann i Londain nó an tragóid ón t-aonú lá de mhí Mheán Fómhair.
Is cuid lárnach san éabhlóid seo ná an feabhas atá tagtha ar trealaimh. Má tá tú i do láithreoir raidió agus tá tú ag iarraidh ‘ob ná outside broadcast’ a dhéanamh, blianta ó shin bhí an iomarca trealamh ann ach anois níl aon ach gléas taifeadta cosúil leis an Marantz nó mic ina bhfuil an taifead stóráilte istigh ann. Mar gheall ar seo, is féidir le hiriseoir an gléas taifeadta seo a choimeád i bhur seilbh i bhur málaí mar níl sé trom ná mhór. Ní hamháin go bhfuil cúrsaí fuaime ag feabhsú ach tá cúrsaí ceamaraí níos fearr ar an shlí céanna ó thaobh costais de, iompraíocht agus áisiúlacht. Le haghaidh post an iriseora, tógann sé níos lú ama pacáiste nuachta a chur le chéile mar tá níos lú trealamh ann ach níl ann ach duine amháin i mbun an pacáiste anois.
Mar gheall ar ról na hiriseora mar ‘robo-iriseoirí’ (Webber, 2012: 11) atá ábalta chuile rud a dhéanamh ná go bhfuil gearradh siar ar fhoirne nuachta. Feictear domsa gurbh é seo an ról atá ag an saor-iriseoir sna léithe seo má tá post ag tástáil acu! Is annamh a fheictear foirne móra atá úsáide ag The Guardian:
‘an comhfhreagraí, an duine i mbun an taifid agus an léiritheoir’ (Thurman, 2008: 16).
Níos coitianta níl ann ach beirt i mbun an taifid ag The Mirror agus The Sun agus an foireann is coitianta mar gheall ar gearradh siar agus an ísliú caighdeán seo ná duine amháin atá in úsáid ag The Telegraph agus The Times ar líne. Léirigh Pavlik pointe mhaith, go raibh impleachtaí diúltacha ag an ‘domhan analóga’ ar an bhrú atá curtha ar tuairisceoirí chun an pacáiste nuachta a dhéanamh i bhur aonair:
‘Individual reporters come under increasing pressure to act as one person news and production crews’ (2000:231).
Ní drochrud é seo, ar ndóigh mar uaireanta dar le Lee-Wright ‘it enables them to arrive unnoticed in a country closed to reporters’ (2012: 2). Mar shampla in am an toghcháin i Zimbabwe i 2008, ní raibh cead acu taifead ann agus bhí siad ábalta an scéal a chraoladh beo ‘from a back garden over a BGAN mobile phone, a satellite phone’ (Lee-Wright, 2012: 2) agus léirigh seo nach raibh aon deacrachtaí in áit ar bith ar domhan taifead a dhéanamh. Is éard atá i gceist le BGAN ná ‘mobile satellite data transfer system’ (Lee-wright, 2012: 3) a chuireann idirlíon ar fáil ag luas dúbailte don luas atá ag GPRS i 99 tír timpeall an domhain.
‘Mar thoradh ar dhul chun cinn i gcumarsáid na satailíte agus i gcóras eagarthóireachta digiteacha thig le hiriseoirí a gcuid tuairiscí teilifíse a tharchur go gasta ó achan chearn den domhain’ (Delap, 2012: 357).
Tá a leithéid de fheidhmchláir ann chun phost an iriseoir a choimeád níos simplí, mar shampla an ‘Augmented reality system’. Dar le The Guardian:
‘Augmented reality (AR) and journalism are made for each other. Journalism gathers information about the world around us. Thanks to augmented reality, this information can be displayed where it got picked up – which is especially interesting for event reporting’ (Bunz, 2010).
Baineann sé go leor le Realtime agus nuacht a chur ar fáil chomh sciobtha agus is féidir. Rud amháin a bhaineann le AR ná is féidir leis teanga ar bith a aistriú go dtí aon theanga eile-aistriú ghutha agus is féidir leis comharthaí a aistriú. Is léir gur áis iontach é seo a shábhálann airgead agus a chruthaíonn slí éasca agus éifeachtach chun tuairisciú a dhéanamh.
Níl aon amhras go bhfuil imní ar roinnt de na hiriseoirí sinsearacha mar gheall ar an méid athruithe atá ag titim amach go laethúil sa ghnó digiteach. I bhfocail Vanessa Edwards ag aois 42, bhí sí den tuairim go raibh ceangal níos fearr ag an dream óig leis agus d’éirigh sí as a post:
‘Increasingly young person’s world… I would not say it it worse, but it is different’ (Lee-Wright, 2011: 15).
Is mór an trua é seo le cloisteáil ar bhealach amháin mar tá sárscileanna ag iriseoirí sinsearacha nach bhfuil againne agus tá go leor le foghlaim acu, cé go mbeidh cúrsaí teicneolaíochta agus digiteacha i gcónaí ag athrú- beidh na bun heilimintí ag tástáil i gcónaí – an baint leis an phobail agus taithí scríofa, labhartha agus éisteachta. Is léir go réitím le tuairim Delap nuair a deir sé gurbh é ‘an chontúirt is mó a bhaineann leis an réabhlóid sna meáin digiteach ná go dtiocfaidh meath ar bhunphrionsabail agus luachanna na hiriseoireachta mar thoradh air’ (2012: 356). Beinn buartha má raibh an béim go hiomlán ag athrú chuig cúrsaí gasta nach bhfuil cruinn, sonrach agus beacht. Más rud é go bhfuil béime ar chúrsaí teicneolaíochta agus an scéal a bheith curtha amach ar an idirlíon chomh sciobtha agus is féidir, ní daoine le scileanna scríbhneoireachta, cumarsáide, iriseoireachta a bheidh de dhíth ag na comhlachtaí ach meaisíní! Níl aon amhras ar bith go bhfuil feabhas mhór chun na maitheasa tagtha ar cúrsaí iriseoireachta mar gheall ar an éabhlóid seo ar na meán digiteach ach ní sin le rá nach bhfuil athrú chun an donais i gceist i slite éagsúla. Is léir go gcaithfear a bheith fíor cúramach gan an bhun rud a scriosadh agus an tseirbhís is cruinne, is fearr, is gasta agus is eolaí a thabhairt don phobal agus is cuma faoi cén mheán éagsúla a úsáidtear- idir nuachtáin, teilifíse, raidió, idirlíon nó digiteach.


• Bock, M.A., 2011. ‘Citizen video journalists and authority in narrative: reviving the role of the witness’. I: Journalism 07/12 13: 639-653. Ar fáil ag: (Léite ar 26/11/12).
• Bunz, M., 2010. ‘How journalists can use augmented reality’. The Guardian. 7/1/10. Ar fáil ag: (Léite ar 08/12/12).
• Cleveland, S., 2002. ‘64-bit Technology: Driving The Digital Media Revolution’. I: The Digital Post Production Revolution. Ar fáil ag: (Léite ar 09/12/12).
• Delap, B., 2012. Ar an Taifead, Fís, Fuaim, focal. Baile Átha Cliath: Cois Life.
• Gan údar., 2010. ‘Word Lens: This changes everything’. The Economist: Gulliver blog 18/12/10. Ar fáil ag: (Léite ar 7/12/12).
• Gan údar., 2012. ‘20 years since first text message sent’. Nuacht RTÉ. O4/12/12. Ar fáil ag: (Léite ar 4/12/12).
• Gan údar., 2012. ‘Gaelport ag Gradaim na Meán Digiteach’. Ar fáil ag: (Léite ar 20/11/12).
• Lee-Wright, P., 2010. Culture Shock: New media and organizational change in the BBC. I: New Media, Old news:journalism and democracy in the digital Age.73-86. Ar fáil ag: (Léite ar 02/12/12).
• Murdoch, R., 2005. ‘Speech by Rupert Murdock to the American Society of Newspaper editors’. News Corporation. 13/04/05. Ar fáil ag:¬_247.html. (Léite ar 2/12/12).
• Pavlik, J., 2010. ‘The impact of technology on journalism’. Journalism studies. 12/12/10 1:229-237. Ar fáil ag: (Léite ar 16/11/12).
• Randall, D., 2011. The Universal Journalist. Londain: Pluto Press.
• Thurman, N.J. & Lupton, B., 2008. ‘Convergence Calls: Multimedia Storytelling At British News Websites’. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies. 11/08 14:439-455. Ar fáil ag: (Léite ar 6/12/12).

Is buaine clú ná saol.

Gráinne Campion.

Ghlac dobrón ar mhuintir na tíre uile ar a chloisteáil go raibh Éamon de Buitléar imithe ar shlí na fírinne. Deirtear gur bhásaigh sé ag a theach cónaithe i nDeilgne i gContae Chill Mhantáin aréir, an 27 Eanáir in aois a 83.
Beidh cuimhne air mar chraoltóir sa dá theanga, bhí an-mheas agus tuiscint aige ar ár n-oidhreacht náisiúnta agus chaith sé a shaol a chur chun cinn. Bhí ról lárnach aige ina sheirbhís poiblí, mar Sheanadóir, mar chomhalta de Chomhairle Náisiúnta na hOidhreachta, agus mar chomhalta den Phríomh-Bhord Iascaigh.
Ba cheoltóir thar a bheith maith é lena chois, fear de bhunaitheoirí Ceoltóirí Cualainn agus cara mór le Seán Ó Riada. Sheinn sé an t-orgán béil agus an chnaip chairdín. Nuair a d’éag Seán Ó Riada i 1972, bhunaigh an tUasal de Bhuitléir grúpa traidisiúnta darbh ainm ‘Ceoltóirí Laighean’. Thaifead siad dhá dhlúthdhiosca le cuidiú ó Ghael Linn.
Bhí grá agus paisean aige don Ghaeilge agus chaith sé tréimhse sa Ghaeltacht in Iarthar na tíre. Is ansin a chas sé ar a bhean chéile Laillí, iníon don ealaíontóir Charles Lamb; a fuineadh agus a fáisceadh ar an Cheathrú Rua é. Mar sin de, chruthaigh sé baint láidir leis an cheantar agus is ansin thosaigh sé a shaothair fhaisnéise. Rinne sé go leor acu sin i gcuideachta an Ollannaigh, Gerrit Van Gelderen.
San áireamh bhí an tsraith dá teangach ‘Amuigh faoin spéir’ a chraoladh RTÉ. Bhí an-tóir ar an chlár agus bhí tionchar as cuimse aige ar thodhchaí na teilifíse Éireannaigh.
Bhronn sé a chuid saothair uile ar Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh. Cartlann d’ábhar ilmheáin cosúil le lámhscríbhinní, scannáin agus ábhar físe den uile chineál, cartlann de théipeanna fuaime agus ceoil, scripteanna, trealamh craolacháin agus leabhair dá chuid saothair. Ba ea ceann de na gníomhartha deireanacha mór fhlaithiúlachta dá chuid do mhuintir na hÉireann agus don ghlúin amach romhainn atá ann.
Aireofar Éamon go géar ó gach a raibh sé den ádh acu aithne a bheith air. Maireann a bhean Lailli, lena gcúigear clainne, lena muintir uilig agus a n-iliomad cairde.
Ar ráth Dé go raibh a ainm dílis.

Ó Ghlúin go glúin.

Gráinne Campion.

Ní dhéanfaidh an t-imreoir peile Niamh Kindlon dearmad go deo ar an uair a réab sí a ballnasc croiseach tosaigh; an chuid den ghlúin atá bainteach le gluaiseacht agus rothlúchán. Agus í ag imirt le Muineachán i lár Chraobh Chúige Uladh is cuimhin léi a bheith ‘i lár táclála nuair a tháinig duine aniar aduaidh orm ón taobh thiar. Bhí mo chos greamaithe go daingean ar an talamh agus chas an chéad leath de mo chorp, ach níor chas mo chos in éineacht leis,’ a deir sí.
Níor tugadh le fios gurb é an ballnasc croiseach tosaigh a bhí i gceist, ach tar éis di scan MRI a fháil sa Chlinic Spóirt i Seantrabh, Baile Átha Cliath; dúradh léi cé chomh dáiríre agus a bhí an gortú. ‘Bhí orm dul faoin scian agus baineadh úsáid as mo bhallnasc bairnigh ná an patella san obráid le chur in áit an phíosa a bhí réabtha. Chiallaigh sé sin go raibh orm tosú as an nua le fisiteiripe agus go leor modhanna éagsúla eile. Dúradh liom go mbeadh ocht mí athshlánú le déanamh agam, ach i ndáiríre ní raibh mé feabhsaithe ar fad go dtí ar a laghad bliain iomlán ina dhiaidh,’ a deir sí.
Tá costas thart ar €7,500 leis an obair sin ar fad agus tá impleachtaí fadtréimhseacha i gceist. Mar shampla, nuair atá an ballnasc croiseach tosaigh gortaithe don chéad uair, ceaptar go bhfuil seans 12 uair níos mó ag mná an ballnasc croiseach tosaigh a ghortú sa chos eile.
Faraor, bhí na staitisticí fíor i gcás Niamh Kindlon, mar seacht mbliana tar éis an chéad réabadh tharla sé arís. ‘Ar mhí-amhraí an tsaoil, i lár an chluiche leathcheannais chúige Uladh, rinneadh tácláil orm agus chas an bheirt againn le chéile. Chuala mé an fhuaim chéanna – an snap sin- agus bhí a fhios agam ar an toirt go raibh sé déanta arís ach sa ghlúin eile. Ní raibh mé ag iarraidh é a chreidiúint,’ a deir Kindlon.
‘Ní raibh mé chun géilleadh don ghortú seo, cé go raibh obráid eile i gceist. Bhí mé lán tiomnaithe agus dílis don pheil. Is dóigh go raibh an t-ádh orm ar shlí éigin mar gheall ar an am den bhliain a thit sé amach. An dara huair, tharla sé nuair a bhí an sraithchomórtas beagnach thart agus ní raibh mé ag cailleadh amach ar an séasúr uile.’
Deir Kindlon gur úsáideadh ballnasc difriúil – ballnasc ó theannán na hioscaide. ‘Mar gheall ar an athrú seo bhí an t-athshlánú i bhfad níos éasca agus tar éis seacht mbliana ó réabadh an chéad cheann, bhí an marc níos lú agus bhí an gearradh níos ionraí. Is buí le bocht an beagán ar ndóigh,’ a deir Niamh.
‘Níor lig mé don ghortú seo críoch a chur leis an rud is ansa liom, é sin an pheil Ghaelach; bhí mé lán-stuama agus dúirt mé ón tús go mbeidh mé árais ar an pháirc arís gan mhoill. An rud is deacra faoin athshlánú ná go bhfuil sé an-uaigneach. Cinnte go bhfuil go leor moltaí ar fáil ó na dochtúirí agus an lucht fisiteiripe ach den chuid is mó is tú féin a dhéanann an obair chrua. Ach, bhí sé deacair filleadh ar an traenáil don chontae, mar is dóigh go gcaithfidh tú tosú ón tús arís leis mar tá matáin agat atá fíor lag. Shochraigh mé imirt ar feadh bhliain amháin eile agus tá mé fós ag dul trí bliana ina dhiaidh.’
Mar gheall ar an taithí atá ag Niamh leis an chineál gortaithe seo, bíonn sí i gcónaí fiosrach nuair a tharlaíonn sé le héinne eile agus anuas ar seo nuair atá aon eolas nua tugtha chun cinn. D’fhreastail Niamh ar chomhdháil a d’eagraigh Cumann Lúthchleas Gael ar fhorbairt gnéithe éagsúla an chluiche i lár mhí Eanáir. Ceann de na hábhair a bhí a phlé ná, conas gortaithe a sheachaint, go háirithe don bhallnasc croiseach tosaigh sa ghlúin. Is é Enda King atá ina fhisiteiripeoir cliniciúil speisialta ag an Chlinic Spóirt i Seantrabh a thug na cainte seo.
Dar le Enda King, ‘tá seans níos mó ag mná an ballnasc croiseach tosaigh a ghortú, sé go dtí a hocht n-uaire seans níos mó ná atá ag fir.’
Chuir Enda King in iúl don chomhdháil go bhfuil ‘go leor cúiseanna i gceist leis an ghortú seo agus tá dhá ghné de. Tá fachtóirí intreacha: smacht néaramhatánach, méid an bhallnaisc chroisigh, hormóin agus áit na coise ar an talamh. Ina theannta seo tá na fachtóirí eistreacha: cúrsaí aimsire, an cineál bróg nó buataisí, an talamh imeartha agus an cineál spóirt – spórt teagmhála agus spórt neamh theagmhála san áireamh,’ a deir sé.
Tá plean nua ag Cumann Peil na mBan chun dul i ngleic leis an fhadhb seo mar bhunús traenála don lúthchleasaí. Cuirfear neart moltaí ar fáil do chlubanna fud fad na tíre. Mar shampla, molfar níos mó úsáide a bhaint as na ceachtanna seo agus imreoirí i mbun seisiúin traenála: an gróigeadh thar cheann an fáinneáil agus ardú gníomhach díreach cosa.
Tiocfaidh an plean nua seo go mór i gcabhair ar imreoirí agus ar lúthchleasaithe cosúil le Niamh Kindlon. Molann Kindlon do imreoirí ó gach aois grúpa ach go háirithe do mhná, a bheith airdeallach ar an ghortú seo agus fiafraigh den chlub áitiúil an phlean seo a chur i bhfeidhm. Dar le Kindlon, ‘réab mé mo bhallnasc croiseach tosaigh faoi dhó agus níor chur sé aon bhac orm agus mise a rá leat, ní chuirfidh sé go deo, fiú má tharlaíonn sé faoi thrí amach anseo. Mná Mhuineacháin abú!’

An bhfuil siad ar eolas agat?

Chomh hata le bulla
Chomh bithiúnta le cat
Chomh bréan le madadh
Chomh ciúin le tobar
Chomh colgach le cearc ghoir
Chomh confach le peata seabhaic
Chomh cruinn le gráinneog fhéir
Chomh dearóil le héan i mbarrach
Chomh domhain leis an fharraige
Chomh dorcha le tóin an phoill
Chomh gasta le giorria
Chomh glas le cuileann
Chomh goirt leis an tsáile
Chomh greamaithe le bairneach ar chreig
Chomh lán leis an fharraige
Chomh líonta le frog fómhair
Chomh hólta le píobaire
Chomh ramhar le broc
Chomh searbh le caorthainn
Chomh huaigneach leis an chill

Dúcheist Frank Ryan

An t-ainm: ‘Dúcheist Frank Ryan’
Seanrá: Clár faisnéise drámata (Panorama).
Stiúrthóir: Des Bell.
Comhairleach staire: Fearghal McGarry.
Aisteoirí: Dara Devaney,
Mia Gallagher,
Barry Barnes,
Frankie McCafferty.
Fad: 90 nóiméad.
Bliain: 2012.

éiríonn an teideal é féin céard air atá an scannán faisnéise seo bunaithe, dúcheist shaol Frank Ryan. Rugadh i Luimneach sa bhliain 1902 é agus fuair sé bás in Dresden na Gearmáine in 1944. Bhí sé chomh ilchasta leis an sean boinn 50p lE seacht dtaobh. Bhí sé ina Óglach, ina Phoblachtaí Easaontach, ina bhall den Bhriogáid Idirnáisiúnta sa Spáinn, ach sa deireadh thiar chríochnaigh sé ag obair do na Naitsithe mar frith-faisistí i mBeirlín le linn an chogaidh.

Ar son na cúise?
Ach má bhí curriculum vitae Frank Ryan le léamh agat, ní féidir a shéanadh go raibh go leor taithí saoil aige. Dar leis féin ‘go raibh sé ag troid ar son na cúise’ ach cén fáth gur athraigh an chúis seo chomh mion minic? Ardaíonn an scannán seo an bhuncheist – cén fáth gur éirigh leis a bheith bainteach leis na Naitsithe ag deireadh a shaoil cé go raibh sé go hiomlán ina gcoinne. Sa scannán seo, baintear úsáid as samhlaíocht an scannáin chruthaithigh faisnéise le dul i ngleic le scéal ríthragóideach daonna. Baineann Des Bell, an stiúrthóir leas as seift iontach simplí leis an scéal a stiúradh, is é sin Frank Ryan á chur faoi agallamh ar mhaithe lena chraoladh ar an raidió in Éirinn. Bhí sé chomh cliste agus cuidigh an tseift seo go mór le leanúnachas agus snáth na scéalaíochta a choimeád ag rith.
Osclaíonn an chéad radharc le Frank Ryan agus é ina luí sa leaba ag éisteacht leis na buamaí ag pléascadh ina thimpeall. Tá cuireadh tugtha dúinn díreach ar an phointe a bheith in éineacht leis sa seomra dorcha gruama uaigneach seo i mBeirlín i 1944 i lár an dara cogadh domhanda. Anuas ar seo, baintear úsáid as íomhánna cartlainne a bhí dubh agus bán le cur in iúl go raibh sé ag tagairt d’eachtra stairiúla a bhain le fíor scéal cogaidh. Baintear leas bríomhar as beoghníomhaíocht drámata in éineacht le litreacha a scríobh Ryan é féin agus le cuidiú ó roinnt foilseacháin éagsúla chun an scéal a dheimhniú.
An maith nó an t-olc?
Tríd is tríd, bhí muid i gcónaí ár mhealladh chuig croí an scéil, dílseachtaí fhraochtaí scoilte Ryan. Fear a bhí mór le De Valera, i bhfocal De Valera ‘daoine dílis’ a bhí ann. Bhí trua againn don phríomh charachtar agus is dóigh ag an deireadh tá muid ag caoineadh a bháis mar caitheadh go dona leis cé go raibh a chroí go mór ann. Bhí sé paiseanta faoi ‘shaoirse cainte’ agus tábhacht na tíre mar náisiún ach a laghad a déarfar faoi sin is ea is fearr é. Ach caithfear a admháil nach raibh sé sásta dul i dtreo an dearcaidh chúngaigeanta foréigneacha le é seo a dhéanamh. Mealltar é i dtreo na Naitsithe nuair a bhaineadh úsáid ag mana na poblachta: ‘Is é mo chara namhaid mo namhaid féin.’ Ach ní mar a shíltear a bhítear i gcónaí, is maith is eol do Frank é sin ach go minic feictear é i bponc gan aon dara rogha aige. Éiríonn leis an stiúrthóir mothúcháin an chumha a mhúscailt ionainn dá bhrí sin.
A thaobh séimh…
Léirítear grá mar théama sa bhreis i measc cúrsaí cogaidh agus polaitiúla sa scannán faisnéise seo. Nochtar an taobh séimh a bhí ag an charachtar Frank – Dara Devaney – agus é in éineacht lena chéad searc. Bhí sé i ngrá le duine dá chomhghleacaithe san IRA darbh ainm Rose agus thaitin an cur síos a rinne Bell ar an ghrá seo liom. Bhí an t-atmaisféar chomh láidir sa radharc seo gur cheap mé ag an am go raibh mé istigh sa seomra sin in éineacht leo. Bhí siad ag tabhairt barróige le chéile agus bhí an rós i lámha Frank mar shiombail ar an dearcadh mór a bhí aige; ag lorg níos mó ná tábhacht an ghrá ina shaol. Dar leis ‘gur mhúin Rose dó conas grá a mhothú den chéad uair.’ Ach, conas is féidir le duine mar seo a bhí ábalta géilleadh (tuigim nach raibh sé éasca dó) don ghrá, a bheith ina Naitsithe? Mheall sé daoine agus sílim gur roghnaigh an stiúrthóir an duine ceart don ról seo mar, fiú an chuma a bhí air, bhí sé óg le miongháire agus aghaidh a bhí tarraingteach, bhí láithreacht aige mar charachtar. Rinne an stiúrthóir an cinneadh ceart len é a phiocadh mar phríomhcharachtar.
Ceisteanna móra gan fhreagra?
Íocann sé go géar as an bhaint seo leis na Naitsithe. Tugann an scannán seo go leor ceisteanna chun cinn maidir leis an bhaint a bhí ag an IRA leis na Naitsithe sa dara cogadh domhanda. Ceisteanna nach bhfuil mórán freagraí ar fáil dóibh. An raibh Éire go hiomlán neodrach chomh fada agus a bhaineann sé leis an chogadh? Ní féidir a shéanadh go raibh sprioc chumhachtach aige mar scannán faisnéise mar thug sé léargas beacht i bhfoirm físe ar na ceisteanna seo.
An leagan Ghaeilge- ar mhaithe le céard?
Má tá locht ar bith ar an scannán seo, is é an easpa machnaimh a bhí déanta ag an gcomhlacht léiriúcháin ar an leagan Gaeilge. Bhí Gaeilge ag roinnt carachtair ach labhair siad i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge agus mar sin ní raibh aon leanúnachas nó struchtúr ann don lucht féachana. An raibh dualgas ar TG4 coinníollacha a chomhlíonadh ar mhaithe le scannán a chur ar fáil i nGaeilge? Má bhí is mór an trua nach raibh siad ag iarraidh níos mó airgid a chaitheamh leis chun an rud ina iomláine a aistriú. Ní thagann an dá stíl le chéile go héifeachtacht mar gheall ar an athrú teanga seo.
Deireadh leis an dúcheist?
Bhí Frank Ryan i gcruachás, ní raibh aon dul as go háirithe ag deireadh a shaoil agus é ag iarraidh filleadh ar a áit dúchais, ach mar gheall ar thosca nach raibh neart aige orthu, ní raibh an dara rogha aige ach chun streachailt ar aghaidh leis an chineál saol a bhí beartaithe aige. Molaim duit go hard na spéire freastail ar an scannán faisnéise seo mar tugann sé mion léargas ar shaol an duine aonair a thug tús áite don ‘fíor Politik’ in ionad a shaol pearsanta féin. Tá go leor ceisteanna ardaithe ag Des Bell agus má chuireann siad thú ag machnamh faoi ról na tíre seo i gcúrsaí polaitíochta idirnáisiúnta tráth, nach maith an rud é sin!