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The Irish For: An astronaut is a star-sailor, a comet is a paintbrush star

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This is the latest dispatch from our columnist Darach Ó Séaghdha, author of the award-winning and bestselling Motherfoclóir. Every Sunday morning, Darach will be regaling (re-Gaeling?) us with insights on what the Irish language says about Ireland, our society, our past and our present. Enjoy.

“I OFTEN LOOKED up at the sky an’ assed meself the question – what is the stars, what is the stars?”Juno and the Paycock, Sean O’Casey

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, one of the defining moments of the 20th century. For millennia before this, humans had looked up into the night skies and wondered, and suddenly a man was standing on the moon, looking back.

The moon landing is rightly seen as a triumph of scientific endeavour. Now, 50 years later, science is often discussed – especially by non-scientists, parents, and politicians – only in the context of lucrative career opportunities and presented as being diametrically opposed to the humanities.

But the calling to travel beyond the earth’s atmosphere (particularly the........

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