Behind the Bestseller #7 | Sam Blake talks to Darach Ó Séaghdha

Non-fiction is a different beast to fiction, and in this episode Sam Blake chats to Darach Ó Séaghdha, the Irish writer, podcaster and Irish language activist. The author of Motherfoclóir: Dispatches from a Not So Dead Language (Head of Zeus, 2017), and Craic Baby (Head of Zeus 2018) Darach won Ireland AM Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year in the 2017 Irish Book Awards with Motherfoclóir. Revealing how his Twitter account @TheIrishFor grew into a book, driven by his personal journey and relationship with his father, a gifted linguist, Darach reveals the key issues with taking an online presence into print. Sam Blake delves into the writing process and deciding what exactly goes into a book.

Brought up in an Irish speaking household, Ó Séaghdha’s father and mother used to speak Irish together but spoke English to their children. When Ó Séaghdha’s father became very ill, Ó Séaghdha became interested in learning Irish and used Twitter to share interesting Irish phrases and words he came across.

Ó Séaghdha describes Irish as “the amazing buried treasure”. In his writing he wants to show people how they, through Irish, can make sense of the world around them, through words and phrases that do not exist in the English language.

He runs the popular Irish-language-trivia Twitter account The Irish For. He is also the main host of the podcast Motherfoclóir, part of the Headstuff Podcast Network, a fascinating podcast focusing on elements of the language.

The follow-up to Motherfoclóir, published in 2018, Craic Baby: Dispatches from a Rising Language, explores the very new and very old parts of the Irish language from a personal perspective, covering the topics multilingualism, Brehon LawGaelscoils and especially lexicon.

Check out all the Behind the Bestseller episodes here