If I have a heritage, it’s this

“In Inisfail the fair there lies a land, the land of holy Michan. There rises a watchtower beheld by men afar. There sleep the mighty dead as in life they slept, warriors and princes of high renown. A pleasant land it is in sooth of murmuring waters, fishful streams where sport the gunnard, the plaice, the roach, the halibut, the gibbed haddock, the grilse, the dab, the brill, the flounder, the mixed coarse fish generally and other denizens of the aqueous kingdom too numerous to be enumerated.”

“Fishful.” Lovely.
“Too numerous to be enumerated.” Talking my language.
Then there’s the Melville-ish catalog of fishes.
Especially “the mixed coarse fish generally.”
And more subtly the sentence structure and rhythm around “streams where sport.”

You must taste this kind of writing, letting the alliteration of “In Iniasfail the fair there lies a land, the land…” tease the tip of your tongue: ananafathafathalasa lanthala…

Here’s an essentially dead language, Gaelic, thrusting its bones through the threads of ostensibly English prose. Rich and ripe.

Author: Michael Swaine

Michael Swaine is a writer and editor. He helped launch the first personal computer newsweekly, InfoWorld. He co-authored Fire in the Valley, the seminal tech history book on which the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley was based. He was editor-in-chief of Dr. Dobb’s Journal and has written for and edited several other magazines. His latest creation is PragPub for The Pragmatic Programmers. He and his partner Nancy Groth own Summer Jo’s, an organic farm, restaurant, and bakery in Grants Pass, Oregon.