Seán de Fréine
Genres: Reviewer, Anthologist, Translator, Historian
Bleá Cliathach is ea Seán de Fréine. Is é Saoirse gan Só (Foilseacháin Náisiúnta Teoranta, 1960) an saothar foilsithe is luaithe a scríobh sé i nGaeilge, leabhar inar fhéach sé le tionchar sóisialta agus cultúrtha an athraithe teanga in Éirinn sa naoú haois déag a fhiosrú, agus ar bunfhoinse tagartha é sa phlé acadúil agus poiblí ar an ábhar sin ó shin. Tá eolas níos fairsinge ar an leagan Béarla de, The Great Silence, a foilsíodh ar dtús i 1965 (Foilseacháin Náisiúnta Teoranta) agus ina eagrán méadaithe i 1978. Tá sé ar na saothair is mó a luaitear i réimse léann na hÉireann agus tionchar aige fós ar scoláirí a bhíonn ag plé le litríocht na Gaeilge, an litríocht Angla-Éireannach, an tsocheolaíocht agus léann an aistriúcháin.
Ba chomhúdar é ar Ciste Cursaí Reatha (Institute of Public Administration, 1992) ina phléitear réimse leathan ábhar a bhaineann le saol an lae inniu. Foilsíodh Croí Cine ar dtús i 1990 (An Clóchomhar) agus leagan níos cuimsithí in 2019 le Cló Iar-Chonnacht, cnuasach é ar na céadta sleachta gairide as litríocht na Gaeilge a cumadh ó cuireadh peann Éireannach le pár i gcéaduair sa séú céad.
D'oibrigh sé mar ard-státseirbhíseach sa Roinn Airgeadais agus roimhe sin i ranna rialtais eile agus ba é an chéad phríomhfheidhmeannach ar Bhord na Gaeilge. D'oibrigh freisin mar shainchomhairleoir bainistíochta in Éirinn agus thar lear. Ina bhall agus ina rúnaí tráth ar Bhord na Leabhar Gaeilge. Scríobhann sé léirmheasanna go rialta ar an fhilíocht agus hábhair eile in An Timire. Leabhar eile idir lámha aige faoi láthair ina ndéanann sé athchóiriú ó bhonn ar na téamaí atá pléite aige cheana maidir le feidhm agus tionchar na Gaeilge agus an chultúir ar stair agus ar saol na tíre. Bhronn Ollscoil Chathair Bhaile Átha Cliath Céim Oinigh Dochtúireachta air in 2021.
Seán de Fréine is a Dubliner, raised in Phibsboro, a scholar and a public servant whose work has been of fundamental importance in the cultural sphere in Ireland for over six decades. He has been a foundational influence on the sociolinguistics of Irish society and on questions of language policy. Since the 1960s onwards, his published work has been central to academic and public discussion of issues of language, society and identity in Ireland.
His earliest published work, written in the Irish language, Saoirse gan Só (Foilseacháin Náisiúnta Teoranta, 1960), was the first book to explore the social and cultural effects of the language shift in nineteenth-century Ireland and has been the fundamental reference point in subsequent discussion, both academic and public. It is more familiar in its expanded English version as The Great Silence, published in 1965 (Foilseacháin Náisiúnta Teoranta) and in a revised edition in 1978. This is one of the most cited works in Irish studies, influencing scholars of Irish, Anglo-Irish literature, sociology and translation studies. Its influence can be measured by the fact that its English-language title has been one of the most frequently evoked phrases in studies of the cultural history of Ireland over the last two centuries.
He put his sociolinguistic expertise at the service of public policy, and was involved in the development of language planning in the Irish state over several decades, particularly in his capacity as a chief executive of Bord na Gaeilge from 1975 to 1978. His role in cultural policy also extended to the fostering of writing and publishing in the Irish language, and his work as a member of Bord na Leabhar Gaeilge from 1994 to 2006 is regarded by those who work in Irish-language publishing as a major contributor to its current vitality and diversity.
His interest in literature led to another major reference work, Croí Cine, a themed anthology of writing in Irish since the earliest times. First published in 1990 (An Clóchomhar), it had long been unavailable and sought-after by the time of its republication in an expanded form in 2019 (Cló Iar-Chonnacht).
Supplementing his professional career, he has also been involved in many other organizations throughout, ranging from professional (Institute of Public Administration, College of Industrial Relations) through those associated with the Irish language (Conradh na Gaeilge, Muintir na Tire, an Chomhdháil Cheilteach, Cumann na Scribhneoirí, Gaeleagras and his key role in Bord na Leabhar Gaeilge), as well as a host of others (advisory work to GAA, to the Bishops’ Conference, the Jesuits, etc.). He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Dublin City University in 2021.
Birth date: 21 June 1927Share this portrait: