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The Irish For: If you can’t say anything nice about someone, tar isteach

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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.

THE IRISH FOR laughter is gáire, not to be confused with ga aoire, which means the sting of satire. But could one lead to the other?

Last week we looked at the fashion in Britain for compound insults that laced profanity with tweeness in an attempt to simulate wit. This generated less disagreement than any piece I have written to date, feeding my suspicion that I am not alone in finding this trend tiresome.

If you’re going to insult someone, do it properly.

Ireland has a tradition of maledictory verse dating back centuries to a time when bards were a highly respected class in Gaelic society. Their ability to compose a........

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