Nollaig Ó Gadhra was a journalist, lecturer and Irish-language activist who was a regular commentator on political and social events in Ireland, contributing much to debates on radio and television, while writing in Irish and English for the print media here and abroad. He was dedicated and energetic in his research, writing and work in language and cultural organisations.
This collection of 21 short essays is edited by one of Nollaig’s daughter’s, Máirín, a long-standing current affairs journalist with RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta. The book makes no attempt to be a biography but achieves its aim in being an entertaining collection of memories from friends, family, politicians and public figures who got to know Nollaig over the years.
Many of us referred to him simply and fondly as NÓG. After a live radio or television programme, it was no surprise to hear the office phone ring, knowing that it was likely to be Nollaig pointing out what he thought had been missed in the programme and promising to send you his own research to keep you better informed should you return to the subject. His criticism was often (but not always) helpful and constructive but, when he had let off steam, he would re-establish common ground before returning to his personal cuttings library to send you a bulging recycled envelope containing the promised research.
The short essay here can be dipped into read one after another, and all have fond memories of Nollaig from a range of perspectives. The contributors include Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh (‘I gComhartha Cairdis’), Eoghan Harris (‘Bliain i gCuideachta Nollaig Uí Ghadhra’), Maolsheachlainn Ó Caollaí (‘Bhí Fudar Faoi’), Máire Geoghan-Quinn (‘Fear Meabhrach Ildánach’), Cathal Goan (‘Fear ann Féin’), Seán Ó Cuirreáin (‘NÓG’), Eamon Ó Cuív (‘Cuimhní Cinn’) and many more. The variety of perspectives give an excellent overview of Nollaig’s personality, interests and work and, all in all, form a fitting tribute that will be enjoyed even by those who only knew him through his media appearances.
There is also a list of the eleven books written by Nollaig Ó Gadhra, including works on Irish history, politics and language matters, as well as biographies of Gandhi, John Boyle O’Reilly, Éamann Íognáid Rís and Richard J. Daly, Méara Chicago: evidence of his wide-ranging interest in Ireland, the Irish and much more.
Cathal Póirtéir, Leabhair idir lámha, Books Ireland, Eanáir / Feabhra 2018. (Excerpt from the review).
As a journalist with Raidió na Gaeltachta, Máirín Ní Ghadhra is regularly invited to attend book launches as well as social and political gatherings. And as she attended events that spanned a wide variety of topics, it regularly crossed her mind that ‘Dad used to write a lot about that’.
But Nollaig Ó Gadhra’s name was not being mentioned on these occasions and Máirín was concerned that people were beginning to forget about the journalist, lecturer, historian and Irish-language activist who died in 2008 at the age of 64. Now, thanks to a new book ‘Nollaig Ó Gadhra: Cuimhní Cairde’, which she has edited, his name is centre stage again.
Born in Co. Limerick, Nollaig lived for most of his life in Furbo, just west of Galway city, having moved there with his Inverin-born wife, Máirín Ní Chonghaile.
They met in Dublin in the late 1960s, when Máirín was working with Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge and Nollaig, a UCC graduate in Irish and history, was working for the Irish language newspaper Inniu and RTÉ. He left RTÉ when he wasn’t allowed to attend a summer school in Harvard for which he had been awarded a scholarship.
After he and Máirín moved to Galway, Nollaig worked in tourism before joining the RTC (now GMIT), where he lectured in Irish, Communication, European Studies and Modern History. And he continued to write.
‘Daughter’s labour of love puts Nollaig centre stage, Connacht Tribune, 13 October, 2017. An excerpt from an interview by Judy Murphy with Máirín Ní Ghadhra.
Minister of State, Seán Kyne last month launched a collection of essays by friends and colleagues of Nollaig Ó Gadhra writes Seán Ó Mainnín.
Journalist, lecturer, historian and activist – Nollaig Ó Gadhra’s accomplishments were many. Ó Gadhra took an active interest in nearly every aspect of life and he famously kept in regular correspondence with people from all walks of life, both in Ireland and overseas.
In this book, 20 of his close friends and acquaintances share their memories of Nollaig Ó Gadhra, giving an affectionate yet unvarnished account not only of the man but touching on some of the major historical events that occurred during his lifetime.
Included in the collection are essays by the politicians Éamon Ó Cuív, TD, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the historian Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, Pádhraic Ó Ciardha, TG4, Ronnie O’Gorman, founder of The Galway Advertiser, and many others.
‘Tributes paid to journalist and activist at book launch’, The Connemara Journal, October 2017. Sliocht as alt le Seán Ó Mainnín.
Fear ildánach ab ea Nollaig a rugadh i gContae Luimhnigh ach a chaith an chuid is mó dá shaol ag cur faoi i gCois Fharraige. I measc na ndaoine a bhfuil alt acu sa leabhar, tá Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, Eoghan Harris agus Pádhraic Ó Ciardha.
Nollaig Ó Gadhra, Cois Fharraige, Connacht Tribune, 6 Deireadh Fómhair, 2017. Sliocht as alt le Donncha Ó hÉalaithe.