Tag Archives: Brendan Patrick Keane

IrishCentral and Irish Slavery

Recently, I came across a fascinating document on line by an academic at the University of Limerick called Liam Hogan. In March 2016, in the run up to St Patrick’s Day, Hogan published an open letter to The Irish Examiner, Scientific American and IrishCentral, criticising the nonsense they have promoted which claims that huge numbers of Irish people were enslaved by the British and that the first slaves in the Caribbean and in the Americas were really Irish. Hogan is pointing out that the indentured servitude and penal servitude of the Irish in the 17th century, while it was harsh and brutal, wasn’t the same as chattel slavery and should not be compared directly to it. He also points out that there are outright fabrications, distortions and exaggerations in the accounts of Irish ‘slavery’.

You can find it here: https://medium.com/@Limerick1914/open-letter-to-irish-central-irish-examiner-and-scientific-american-about-their-irish-slaves-3f6cf23b8d7f#.mqeiu3req

Hogan states that it is important for people in the Internet age to check sources and be responsible in what they publish. He points out that white supremacists and opponents of the Black Lives Matter campaign are using this disinformation to make light of the legacy of slavery among African Americans.

The letter was signed by fifty academics, primarily history specialists. Two of the publications targeted by Hogan, the Irish Examiner and Scientific American, accepted the criticism and changed their output accordingly. What was the response of Niall O’Dowd and IrishCentral? Well, anyone who has read this blog will have a pretty good idea. The response was to ignore it. The original article is still on IrishCentral. You can find it here: http://www.irishcentral.com/roots/irish-the-forgotten-white-slaves-says-expert-john-martin-188645531

There are some interesting parallels here to my issues with IrishCentral. For a number of years, IrishCentral has published and republished an article by Brendan Patrick Keane about the theories of the late Daniel Cassidy, who claimed that much American and English slang comes from the Irish language. This article, like Cassidy’s book, is an incompetent collection of lying garbage. I have repeatedly criticised it here, along with IrishCentral’s editor, Niall O’Dowd, who has continued to promote this pompous crap. My criticisms have been ignored. This is only a small blog, so perhaps that is unsurprising. However, the fact that Niall O’Dowd is such a creep that he simply ignores fifty prominent academics who are accusing him of supporting false claims which have been used by white supremacists to further their ends is a surprise, even to me. (And I have actually read Niall O’Dowd’s autobiography. Jeez, what a tedious waste of a day that was! Still, thank God I only read it. I didn’t have to live it …)

There is another interesting parallel. While we don’t know who penned the IrishCentral article on Irish slaves (it’s just labelled IrishCentral Staff) it quotes from a prominent 9/11 Truther called John Martin, who is described as an ‘expert’. Brendan Patrick Keane, the author of the crap article on Cassidy, is also a 9/11 Truther.

An even stranger parallel is that an Irish numpty called Donnacha DeLong supported Cassidy and was criticised by me here. Guess who published an article critical of Hogan on his blog in May 2016? Yep, Donnacha DeLong! You can find it here: https://donnachadelong.info/2016/05/13/irish-slavery-fact-or-myth/

DeLong’s arguments are as imbecilic as the crap he advanced in defence of Cassidy. He describes this as a ‘stupid debate’ and accuses Hogan of making ‘a name for himself condemning those who talk about the Irish history of slavery’. DeLong condemns racism and the racists who misuse the Irish slave meme but then says ‘lumping everyone who’s looking into the treatment of the Irish in the 17th Century in with neonazis and racists is simply wrong.’ He doesn’t explain who exactly is doing this lumping. Hogan is certainly not accusing everyone who believes in the Irish slavery meme of being a racist and he’s not saying that the English treated the Irish well. He’s saying that the way people of African descent were treated was much worse. Which it was.

DeLong recommends that people should look at other sources, like Peter Linebaugh’s co-written The Many-Headed Hydra. Linebaugh, a very mediocre Marxist historian, was also a big fan of Cassidy’s nonsense. Like DeLong’s, Linebaugh’s response to Cassidy’s work shows that he simply can’t be arsed doing the research a real historian or journalist should do.

Anyway, a thousand thanks and a big round of applause to Liam Hogan and to everybody else in this story who has stood up for honest, evidence-based research and journalism. As for Donnacha DeLong, Niall O’Dowd, John Martin, Brendan Patrick Keane and all the rest, shame on the lot of you, you shower of dim-witted post-truth arseholes! People like you make me ashamed to be Irish!

Hugh Curran, Bréagadóir

Níl tír ar bith ar an domhan cláir a bhfuil ganntanas amadán ann ach cuireann sé iontas orm a mhéad amadán atá le fáil i measc threibh na nGael-Mheiriceánach. Arís eile, tá méadú ar dhíolaíocht leabhar bómánta Cassidy, cionn is go ndearnadh athfhoilsiú ar an alt amaideach faoi New York Slang le Brendan Patrick Keane ar IrishCentral. Agus ní hamháin sin, ach tá bocamadán éigin darb ainm Hugh Curran i ndiaidh a ladar a chur isteach ar cholún na nótaí tráchta faoin alt sin le cacamas aineolach a léiríonn go bhfuil Curran chomh dallintinneach agus chomh lán de féin agus a bhí Cassidy féin.

Cé hé an fear seo Hugh Curran? Bhuel, de réir an phíosa ar IrishCentral agus alt eile a fuair mé ar líne, is i nGaeltacht Thír Chonaill a rugadh é. Chaith sé 14 bliana i gCeanada agus in Albain Nua. Chaith sé cúig bliana mar mhanach Budaíoch agus tá sé ag teagasc le roinnt blianta ar Ollscoil Maine, san áit a bhfuil sé ar Chlár na Síochána agus an Athmhuintearais. Deir sé fosta go bhfuil Gaeilge aige agus gur theagasc sé an teanga. Is deacair sin a chreidbheáil, nó bheadh sé ábalta an amaidí i leabhar Cassidy a aithint dá mbeadh Gaeilge ar bith aige.

Deir Hugh Curran gur bhain sé an-sult as leabhar Cassidy agus go bhfuil 80% den tsanasaíocht sa leabhar inchreidte (há!) agus gur dócha go bhfuil an ceart ag Cassidy níos minice ná a mhalairt. Beidh a fhios ag duine ar bith a léigh an blag seo nach bhfuil sa tuairim sin ach raiméis atá ag teacht salach ar na fíricí atá le fáil sa Ghaeilge, i leabhair ar stair an Bhéarla agus i bhfoclóirí na dteangacha sin, chomh maith le foclóirí teangacha eile ar nós na Fraincise.

Deir sé ansin go mbíonn na saineolaithe Béarla ag déanamh a seacht ndícheall gan a admháil go bhfuil a lán focal Gaeilge sa Bhéarla. Ní thugann sé oiread agus sampla amháin de na focail sin a ndearnadh leithcheal orthu sna foclóirí. Deir sé gur teanga mheasctha an Béarla (rud atá fíor) ach caitheann sé go dímheasúil le lucht na bhfoclóirí. Dar leisean, bíonn siad róréidh foinse éigin ón Ollainnis nó ó Chríoch Lochlainn a cheadú in áit glacadh le míniú ón Ghaeilge. Arís eile, ní thugann sé fianaise ná samplaí dúinn. Is leor focal ó bhéal an fháidh leis an chás a chruthú!

Ansin, scríobhann sé rud atá bómánta amach  is amach. Bhí Gaidhlig agus Gaeilge á labhairt go forleathan i Northumbria ón chúigiú céad go dtí an seachtú céad, dar leis. Luann sé Aodhán Lindisfarne (ach mílitríonn sé an t-ainm mar Aidhan – is comhartha maith é sin nach bhfuil a chuid Gaeilge chomh maith agus a shíleann sé féin) agus an Rí Oswald. Ar ndóigh, bhí Gaeilge ag an bheirt acu. Gael go smior a bhí in Aodhán agus maidir le hOswald, ba bhanphrionsa Gaelach a mháthair agus tugadh Flann Fionn air. Sin beirt!Ach an raibh teangacha Gaelacha á labhairt go forleathan san áit sin ag an tréimhse sin? An bhfuil fianaise ar bith ann? Agus má bhí, cá bhfuil an fhianaise gur fhág sin a rian ar Bhéarla an lae inniu? Cá bhfuil na fíricí, Curran, cá bhfuil na samplaí, nó nach bhfuil an fhírinne tábhachtach sa Bhudaíochas? (Más amhlaidh nach bhfuil, tá dul amú orm.)

Ansin, luann sé an Drochshaol corradh le míle bliain ina dhiaidh sin, agus deir sé go labhraíodh a thuismitheoirí Gaeilge nuair a d’aistrigh siad go Ceanada, agus deir sé (i mBéarla, ar ndóigh): Is deacair a thuigbheáil cad chuige a mbeadh sé chomh doiligh sin a chreidbheáil go ndearna na céadta focal Gaeilge imirce isteach i mbéarlagair Thuaisceart Mheiriceá. Ar ndóigh, níl sé sásta fianaise ar bith a thabhairt ná oiread agus focal amháin a rinne an imirce sin a lua agus ar ndóigh, níl sé sásta a mhíniú dúinn cad chuige nach bhfuil na céadta frása atá i leabhar Cassidy le fáil i bhfoclóir ar bith Gaeilge ná i dtéacs ar bith sa teanga. Mar, níl duine ar bith a cháineann Cassidy ag rá nach bhfuil sé inchreidte a lán focal ón Ghaeilge a bheith sa Bhéarla. Tá muid ag rá nach bhfuil sé fíor, agus gur furasta sin a chruthú.

Ach is é an píosa ina dhiaidh sin an chuid is bómánta agus is maslaí. Dar leisean, bíonn leisce orainne glacadh le bréaga Cassidy cionn is go mbíonn íospartaigh an chinedhíothaithe chultúrtha (victims of cultural genocide) ag taobhú leo siúd a d’imir cos ar bolg orthu mar gheall ar an náire atá orainn agus muid beo bocht. (Go raibh míle maith agat, a mháistir mhóir, as ár ndorchadas a shoilsiú le do mhóreagna Zen …)

Anois, is léir ón méid sin gur gealt nó amadán é an fear seo. Is náire shaolta thú, Curran. Agus mar sin de, tugaim do dhúshlán anseo! Tá cead agat do thuairimí féin a bheith agat, ach níl cead agatsa ná ag duine ar bith eile d’fhíricí féin a bheith agat. Is bréagadóir thú agus níl do chuid tuairimí ag teacht leis na fíricí ar chor ar bith! Más mian leat raiméis Cassidy a chosaint, tá cead agat sin a dhéanamh, anseo, i nGaeilge (má tá Gaeilge ar bith agat!)

Sa bhlag seo, phléigh mé bunús na bhfocal sa leabhar bhómánta sin agus mhínigh mé cad chuige nach féidir glacadh le tuairimí Cassidy. Tá cead agatsa na fíricí ar an bhlag seo a shéanadh, nó iarracht a dhéanamh, cibé. Agus mura bhfuil tú sásta (ná ábalta) sin a dhéanamh agus do chuid rámhaillí a chosaint go poiblí, beidh a fhios ag gach aon duine nach bhfuil ionat ach béalastán aineolach atá ag cuidiú le caimiléir marbh a gcuid airgid a bhaint de dhaoine saonta. (Agus más féidir leat an bhaint idir sin agus an Budaíochas a mhíniú, is fearr thú ná mise a Ghúngaire Dhéin … )

Mar a dúirt an Búda, Cuir an bréagadóir ina thost leis an fhírinne. An bhfuil tú ag iarraidh cur le do chuid bréag, Curran, nó an mbainfidh tú triail as an fhírinne, mar athrú?

Tá mé ag fanacht …

When historians tweet …

I am not a big fan of Twitter. I am sure it is good for something, and I certainly don’t agree with George Clooney that its users are all moronic. No, it’s just that the limit of 140 characters means that it’s hard to say anything of real value or interest unless you talk in haikus or epigrams.

However, there’s another reason not to use Twitter, the false impression it gives of it being a disposable medium, a set of one-off, casual comments framed in an ongoing conversation. Unfortunately, nothing is like that on the internet. Nothing. Your casual, off-the-top-of-your-head popinions, your empty-headed twitterings are there for all to see, unless you choose to delete them (and even then, I bet someone, somewhere has cached the tweets concerned.)

I recently noticed that several people with a background in history have gone on Twitter to recommend an imbecilic article on IrishCentral by Brendan Patrick Keane about Cassidy’s book.

Brian Donovan (a Trinity history graduate), of Eneclann, a company specializing in Irish genealogy material (and also big in FindMyPast), posted this on Twitter in August 2015 with a link to Keane’s dim-witted and ridiculous article:

Good piece on the Irish origins of New York slang. Another “so long”= slán.

No Brian, not even close. Not even WRONG. Is this how good at history the folks at Eneclann are?

And Turtle Bunbury, an oddly-named freelance Irish historian, was obviously feeling too unwell to do all the boring work of researching this stuff (like a true Bunburyist) before he posted a link in 2014:

IRISH WORDS IN NEW YORK CITY SLANG

From a 2010 report by Brendan Patrick Keane. 

I have gone into Brendan Patrick Keane’s article in depth on this blog before, but I’ll just give you a few gems from it to show why no intelligent historian should be recommending it.

This article claims that bailiwick comes from the Irish baille [sic – it should be baile], meaning home. It doesn’t, of course. It comes from the Norman-French word for a bailiff plus the English wick. Dia thoileachas isn’t a real phrase, and isn’t the origin of Gee Whillickers. Swanky doesn’t come from the Irish somhaoineach, as swank is a cognate of German schwanken, meaning to sway. (The idea is of someone strutting proudly or arrogantly.) Snooty is from a Scottish version of snout, not from snua ard, which (if it even existed) would mean high complexion. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera …

Now, I know that IrishCentral shouldn’t have published this insulting rubbish in the first place, but the people at IrishCentral aren’t historians … or indeed, real journalists. IrishCentral isn’t a serious news site and doesn’t provide real facts. It’s just a bit of tabloid fake-Oirish green froth, and people like Donovan and Bunbury should be a lot more careful about recommending trash like this to other people if they wish to retain any credibility at all as historians.

After all, you may be regarded as a genuine historian now, but remember that checking your sources before commenting is very important, because you’re only a couple of serious lapses like this away from being a talking head on Ancient Aliens.

Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Gosh Darn It, Danny

Another really stupid claim made in Daniel Cassidy’s book is that the expression ‘darn it’ comes from Irish.

Why is this stupid? Well, for one thing, there is no doubt about where darn it really comes from. It is first recorded (in America) in 1781. Early references include specific claims that darn is a euphemistic substitution for damn. The existence of expressions like ‘gosh darn it to heck!’ and ‘darnation’ leave us with little room for doubt that this is another minced oath, like Baloney! or Gee Whizz! or Holy Cow!

Cassidy ignores the logical explanation and claims that it comes from dothairne air. This word does exist but it is quite obscure. Ó Dónaill’s dictionary has this:

dothairne, f. (gs. ~). Affliction. Díth is ~ ort! Bad scran to you!

Dinneen has this:

dothairne g., id., f., evil, mischief; misfortune; do dhíth is do dhothairne ort, misery and misfortune attend thee.

Unusually, Cassidy’s definition is not too far from Dinneen’s and Ó Dónaill’s. In this case, Cassidy has resisted the temptation to add any ‘figurative’ meanings from his own imagination.

The problem is this. If we put “dothairne air” into Google, we get no hits at all. If we put “damnú air” into Google, we get (well, today I got) 1360 hits. So, dothairne is not as common in Irish as Cassidy would like us to believe and of course, Cassidy didn’t speak Irish and knew nothing about the language.

Incidentally, there is a variant of this which gets a handful of hits on Google, the fake word ‘daithairne’. This comes from a singularly dim-witted article by Brendan Patrick Keane on IrishCentral, where Keane was apparently too lazy to copy the word out from Cassidy’s book properly, and too stupid and ignorant of the Irish language to realise that daithairne violates a basic rule of Irish orthography, caol le caol is leathan le leathan. (It would take too long to explain this properly, but basically, consonants have two values depending on whether they are next to an i,e or an a,o,u. For example, in mise, pronounced misha, the s is slender because it has an i and an e next to it. In measa, pronounced massa, the s has an a before it and after it, so it’s broad. The –aithai- string is strange in Irish because it’s slender on one side and broad on the other.) Still, at least this is on IrishCentral where it will hardly be noticed. A little more rubbish there will be like mún dreoilín san fharraige (a wren pissing in the sea.)

Incidentally, dang it (which Cassidy’s razor-sharp intellect somehow missed) might just have an Irish connection. In Irish, damnú air (damn it) is sometimes disguised as daingniú air (strengthening on it). It is not impossible that this gave rise to dang it, as there is no word dang in English.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig

St Patrick’s Day will soon be here, so it seems like a good opportunity once again to attack Cassidy’s rubbish book of fake Irish, to encourage people to learn a little of the real thing, and to say a couple of words about the philosophy of language learning.

At this time of year, many people in the Irish diaspora take an interest in their culture and history. Because of the irresponsible behaviour of a number of prominent members of the Irish-American establishment like Peter Quinn, Joe Lee, Michael Patrick MacDonald, Tom Deignan and countless others, who recommended and continue to recommend this nonsense to gullible people, this book is still in print and still being sold. This is a disgrace. Cassidy’s ‘research’ is a cruel and disgusting hoax and IMHO no decent person would support it. However, thanks in part to this blog, people are now much more aware of how dishonest and foolish this book is, so the newspaper articles about Cassidy’s linguistic ‘revelations’ which used to appear at this time of year have been considerably fewer over the last couple of years. The only major organ (yes, I’m aware of the innuendo) of the diaspora which still supports this raiméis is the egregious IrishCentral. They continue to republish a semi-literate ‘review’ of Cassidy’s book by some 9/11 Truther called Brendan Patrick Keane.

Anyway, it seems appropriate to celebrate St Patrick’s Day with some handy (and GENUINE) phrases in our beautiful Ulster dialect of the Irish language.

 

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig duit!

Ban-akh-tee na fayla pahrig ditch!

Blessings of St Patrick’s day to you!

 

Go raibh míle maith agat.

Go roh meela moy oggut!

A thousand thanks!

 

Tá sé iontach deas inniu.

Tah shay intah jass inyoo.

It’s very nice today.

 

Sláinte mhór agus saol fada agat!

Slahn-chya wore ogus seel fadda oggut!

Good health and long life to you!

 

If you want some more information on these things, there are hundreds of resources on line. Focloir.ie is particularly good and has audio files for common words. Just don’t trust anything you read on IrishCentral, in any language, and don’t use Cassidy’s book as a source for learning Irish!

As for the philosophy of language learning, here’s a few points for people thinking of learning Irish:

DO

  • learn a little every day – start NOW!
  • label things you use every day – fridge, cooker, car, door
  • write common words or phrases on cards and carry them round with you
  • learn a few proverbs or songs by heart
  • use apps and words of the day and the Kindle and other new technology
  • get output by TG4 and Raidió na Gaeltachta and listen to the language as much as possible (without bothering about understanding it) just to get used to the sounds and intonation

 

DON’T

  • go to a class once a week and forget about it the rest of the time
  • try to learn everything at once and get disheartened when you can’t
  • use Google Translate to translate INTO Irish (it’s useful to get an idea of what a text means in a language you don’t speak well or at all but, for example, if you put I cycled a lot into Google Translate, you get Rothar mé go leor, which is garbage!)
  • make up sentences which are too complicated for you – stick to the structures you know to be correct. Walk, then run! There’s no point in practising elaborate structures which are wrong. Stick to simple sentences which are right! 

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig daoibh!!

Moron Niall O’Dowd – Sorry, More On Niall O’Dowd

I notice that Brendan Patrick Keane’s ridiculous piece of brown-nosing in support of Cassidy’s nonsense has once again reappeared on Nihil O’Dude’s IrishCentral, only a couple of weeks after the last time it was republished there. Since Christmas they have also republished Tom Deignan’s list of 20 books which all Irish Americans should read, another article which I have criticised here for giving support to How The Irish Invented Slang.

I should point out that I didn’t find this by chance on IrishCentral, a resource which I don’t read and which is strictly for Plastic Paddies and tourists, IMHO. I have minimal interest in the kind of rubbish that IrishCentral specialises in, items like The Top Ten Whackiest Irish Saints or Which Green Food Coloring Should You Use This St Patrick’s Day? or The Rose of Tralee Makeover: Discover Your Inner Colleen. (Just to be clear, I made these up, though the real thing is often worse.) I noticed it because Cassidy’s nasty, lying little book is once again selling more copies on Amazon, as unsuspecting suckers read Keane’s dumbass opinion piece and think the book sounds like fun.

I would like to think that the republishing of these articles is happening because someone at IrishMental has read my comments on this blog rather than because they have no ideas and are forced to endlessly recycle garbage. The thought is flattering. I would love to think that I have pissed off Niall O’Dowd and his cronies. After all, if they are republishing trash that they know to be trash simply because I criticised them for doing so, that isn’t flipping the bird to me. It’s cynically flipping the bird to their own readership. Still, pigs and grunts and all that.

Let me just say it once more, for the sake of anyone who hasn’t got the message yet. Cassidy’s book is full of fake Irish. (And O’Dowd knows enough Irish to realise that. Snua ard? Really?) Most of the words which Cassidy provided fake Irish versions for already have credible and even proven origins in English or other languages. Cassidy himself didn’t speak any Irish. Cassidy was a malignant fraud who spent 12 years pretending to be a professor on a full salary on the strength of a Cornell degree that he flunked. And we all know that the only reason why O’Dowd and the bómáin at IrishCentral are supporting this garbage is because Cassidy had lots of important cronies in New York, people like Joe Lee and Peter Quinn, and offending them by acting like a genuine journalist would open up the appalling vista of O’Dowd and his mates having to buy their own cheese and wine for a change.

What a pathetic bunch of fuckwits!

Ed Moloney and Niall O’Dowd

I found an interesting piece on Niall O’Dowd on Ed Moloney’s blog, The Broken Elbow. You can find the whole thing on this link: http://thebrokenelbow.com/2014/05/03/niall-odowds-bile-explained/. It seems that I am unable to reblog it properly but I hope Ed Moloney will forgive me for quoting the piece below and asking visitors to this blog to check out the original.

“As regular readers of Niall O’Dowd’s Irish Central website will know, the said Niall has been devoting a lot of time and space on ad hominem attacks on myself since the arrest of Gerry Adams.

While basing his attacks on the claim that the Boston oral history archive was set up by myself to undermine the Sinn Fein leader … there is a subtext which explains the real reason for the animosity.

Essentially I found him out stealing my by-line and my articles, written for the Sunday Tribune in Dublin, to use in his Irish Voice newspaper back in the late 1980’s. It was a dirty, cheap thing to do and I confronted him about it (I chose not to go the legal route since that would endanger innocent people’s jobs) and demanded that he pay me a proper fee in future for using my journalism. He had no choice but to agree but our relationship was always a tense one, marked by mutual dislike.

I wrote about it in some length on this blog when O’Dowd first editorialised against myself and Anthony McIntyre and below is a reprint of the relevant part. But he is right about one thing: I dislike liars and will always use my journalism to expose them, whether it be lies from Niall O’Dowd, Gerry Adams, Ian Paisley or Margaret Thatcher.”

In fairness to Niall O’Dowd, I should say that he denies Moloney’s version of events. However, I have no reason to doubt Ed Moloney’s word. Niall O’Dowd, on the other hand, has been responsible for publishing and republishing all kinds of lies, nonsense and rubbish on his IrishCentral site, including the ridiculous articles by Brendan Patrick Keane about Cassidy’s insane theories, so I know who I believe!