Liam Mac Carráin

1916-?2004; b. Belfast; Irish language learner and teacher and Irish-language poet; father of Ciaran Carson with his wife Mary [née Maginn] who he taught Irish having himself first learnt it out of enthusiasm for the language.


Dánta Aduaidh (Béal Feirste: Cumann Chluain Ard 1981; Baile Aátha Cliath: Coiscéim 1981), 33pp. [pamphl.]; Is Cuimhin Liom an tAm (BAC: Coiscéim 1983), 120pp.; selected poems in Greagóir Ó Duill, ed., Filíocht Uladh 1960-1985 (BAC: Coiscéim 1986); Seo, siúd, agus siúd eile (BAC: Coiscéim 1986), 95pp.; also Sceáalta Aduaidh, sraith a dó ([Belfast:] Nuachtaán Bhaile Andarsan q.d.[Anderstown]), booklet and cassette.

[ 1 work in Ulster Univ. Libraries (Belfast & Magee); 3 Works in National Library of Ireland - online; 4 works in Open Library - online. Accessed 31.10.2023]

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Ciaran Carson writes in a memory of his father in 2004:

It was in the Belfast GPO [General Post Office] that he first heard the Irish language being spoken, by two of his colleagues, and fell under its spell, as he recounts in his memoir in that language, Is Cuimhin Liom an t-Am (I Remember the Time). He was determined to learn Irish, and became fluent in a couple of years. Willie Carson became Liam Mac Carráin, sometimes known as Liam Carson.

He proceeded to teach Irish in his spare time, and fell in love with one of his pupils, Mary Maginn. When they married, in 1944, they made a resolution to speak exclusively Irish at home. It was forbidden to speak English, which my siblings and I picked up off the street. Since no one else in the neighbourhood spoke Irish, we were regarded with a mixture of terror and pity by other children. We used Irish as a code to disparage them unbeknownst to them. Within Ireland there was Northern Ireland; within Northern Ireland, Belfast; within Belfast, the Falls Road; within the Falls Road, the Carson family, or Clann Mhic Carráin, a household with its own laws, customs and language.

—Available at Forrest Lake Univ. Press - online; accessed 31.10.2023.

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