A Great Manxman

Culture Vannin is celebrating its 40th birthday, an email tells me. Well happy birthday to them I hope (just hope) I’m around for their fiftieth anniversary! It’s almost serendipity because almost immediately after opening the email I’m looking at the RTE site and spot this interview that Cathal O’Shannon did with Doug Faragher. Faragher was speaking almost twenty years before Culture Vannin was founded at a time when Manx language and political consciousness was starting to blossom again. He also speaks passionately about Manx nationalism and the desire for self determination. Faragher was one of the founder members of Mec Vannin – indeed I was as well (very young then) – but Faragher was the real energy of the movement, the driving force of the first years. Of course as always there was ‘a split’ and thereafter he devoted himself to the Manx language and great work he did for it. I often wonder if we celebrate these pioneers of the cultural and political movement enough. Certainly Faragher makes it clear that he has two imperatives, one political and one cultural. Can that be said of those promoting our culture today.

Faragher’s interviewer Cathal O’Shannon is thought provoking in his questions and Farargher measured in his answers. It’s clear that he wants to see a free and independent Isle of Man where the Manx language has greater presence. We still don’t have the total independence that he wanted when he together with others established Mec Vainin. By contrast the language has gone ahead in leaps and bounds. I think if he were around today though he would be a happy man.

O’Shannon was once described as the greatest Irish journalist of the twentieth century. I think Faragher was one of the greatest Manxmen of the twentieth century.

RTE Archive footage: Doug Faragher:

https://www.rte.ie/archives/2016/1010/822930-manx-language/

Bernard Moffatt

AGS Celtic League (13th January 2022)

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