Putting Accents on Characters on Mac

Accents, everyone has one but some characters have more than one, and writing them on a Mac can be hard unless you know how.

I really only need one type of accent, the “sine fada” in Irish that goes over the vowels. They look like this: á, é, ó, ú and í.

For a long time I used Option-key using an Irish keyboard map I got off Justin Mason years ago. I haven’t used it for some time now and every now and again I wonder if there’s a better way of doing it using the standard keyboard maps on a Mac.

Turns out there is.

This page explains how to use the accent menu, but you can also use “dead keys” to type accents.

The accent menu is dead simple. Press the key down for a little longer than usual and a menu will appear with the accents required. Press the corresponding number and your accented character appears!

The dead key approach is probably faster however. Use the keyboard viewer to see your keyboard layout. I have a large split Microsoft keyboard and I’m using the British PC layout now so when I hit the Option key the accents are highlighted.

If I want to type “I like to eat cake” in Irish, and not “I like to eat shit”, I must use “Option-e” followed by “a” to get “á” in one word:

“Is maith liom cáca a ithe.”

I’m sure by now you’ve realised just how important accents are in daily life. It’s the difference between delicious chocolate and something that looks similar but tastes quite different. Yeah, you really needed that mental image didn’t you? Sorry. 🙂


Americans Try To Pronounce Traditional Irish Names

You should hear what some people make of my name. There are classes devoted to pronouncing it before I arrive at destinations. 🙂


YOLO NASA you know?

YOLO, an acronym that I’ve only ever heard on Reddit, stands for “You Only Live Once”. Does anyone actually use it in real life?

Where I've actually heard YOLO
Where I’ve actually heard YOLO (via)

If you’re talking to some young hip Irish person try saying NASA to them. That’s YOLO in Irish!

Nil Ach Saol Amhain!

They’ll really know what you’re talking about. Honest. Everyone’s saying it over here.*

* No not really. Thanks BreakfastNT for the translation!


The 2011 Irish Presidential Ballot

Today Ireland goes to the polls to elect a new president. The job isn’t as important as in other countries, but one of the primary roles of the President is to veto new laws if they are unconstitutional. Nevertheless the election campaign has been downright dirty and negative as the hopeful candidates can’t really attack each other on policy issues.
It was the same last time. Skeletons are dragged out of closets, old events rehashed and exposed to the light of day again. There must be a better way of electing the first citizen?

I know who I don’t want to vote for: Dana, Sean Gallagher, David Norris, Martin McGuinness or Mary Davis. The remaining candidates, Gay Mitchell and Michael D Higgins, haven’t made any impression on me. A random number generator would make more sense than trying to decide among that lot.

Last I heard Sean Gallagher was in the lead, contrary to opinion on Twitter, and to this ballot taken by expats.

What’s more important for the country are the two referendums. There is the referendum website but since I guarantee that it will be gone by this time next year here are the two questions being asked of the Irish populace:

Referendum on the pay of judges

This referendum is about whether the pay of judges can be reduced in certain circumstances. At present the Constitution does not allow for the reduction of the remuneration of sitting judges.

Referendum on inquiries by the Oireachtas

This referendum proposes to give the Houses of the Oireachtas (the Dáil and Seanad) express power to conduct inquiries into matters of general public importance and, in doing so, to make findings of fact about any person’s conduct.

I think I’ll be voting no to the first amendment, and possibly no to the second one but I’m undecided about that. That’s the amendment I’m most interested in but have heard the least debate about on radio. This post seems quite clear on the changes, admitting that some aspects are still vague and letting the chair of a committee decide the rights of witnesses is worrying. Will this second amendment bring us “broadly” in line with other countries?

Here are the two amendments, for history:

Proposed amendment – judges’ pay

At present, Article 35.5 of the Constitution states:
“The remuneration of a judge shall not be reduced during his continuance in office.”

It is proposed to replace this with the following wording:
5 1° The remuneration of judges shall not be reduced during their continuance in office save in accordance with this section.

2° The remuneration of judges is subject to the imposition of taxes, levies or other charges that are imposed by law on persons generally or persons belonging to a particular class.

3° Where, before or after the enactment of this section, reductions have been or are made by law to the remuneration of persons belonging to classes of persons whose remuneration is paid out of public money and such law states that those reductions are in the public interest, provision may also be made by law to make proportionate reductions to the remuneration of judges.

Proposed amendment – Oireachtas inquiries

At present, Article 15.10 states:
“Each House shall make its own rules and standing orders, with power to attach penalties for their infringement, and shall have power to ensure freedom of debate, to protect its official documents and the private papers of its members, and to protect itself and its members against any person or persons interfering with, molesting or attempting to corrupt its members in the exercise of their duties.”

It is proposed to renumber this as 15.10.1° and to insert the following subsections:

2° Each House shall have the power to conduct an inquiry, or an inquiry with the other House, in a manner provided for by law, into any matter stated by the House or Houses concerned to be of general public importance.

3° In the course of any such inquiry the conduct of any person (whether or not a member of either House) may be investigated and the House or Houses concerned may make findings in respect of the conduct of that person concerning the matter to which the inquiry relates.

4° It shall be for the House or Houses concerned to determine, with due regard to the principles of fair procedures, the appropriate balance between the rights of persons and the public interest for the purposes of ensuring an effective inquiry into any matter to which subsection 2° applies.

(First image via this Reddit thread)

Ireland tv

In The Name Of The Fada

In the Name of the Fada

You’ll already know about the Irish version of Jump Around by Des Bishop if you’re a regular reader here, but if you have missed previous episodes, please watch the last episode of “In The Name Of The Fada”. It’s on RTE 1 tonight at 10:15pm. Sky+ is set to record it here.

We just watched the 5th episode in New York and Boston and totally enjoyed it. That Korean guy in Times Square had a brilliant grasp of Irish even though he’d never been to Ireland. I’m looking forward to the last episode, even if it does make me feel embarrassed that I’ve forgotten so much of the language…

“Ta sé fucking brilliant!”

External links:

Ireland Music

Jump Around as Gaeilge

“Léim Thart” le Des Bishop ag canadh ag Oireachtas na Samhna 2007 i gCathair na Mart. It’ll be on RTE 1 tonight on “In the Name of the Fada” at 10:15pm if you want to catch a probably better version. I can barely make out any of the song in any of the Youtube videos of his performances I watched this morning!

Fair dues to him for taking on the Irish language. Takes a foreigner to show the Irish how to make it popular! 🙂


Níos Gaelaí ná na Gaeil iad féin

Seachtain na Gaeilge is now over for another year but this year RTE actually featured a tv program I enjoyed. Níos Gaelaí was a four part series which followed 4 immigrants to Ireland as they learned to speak Irish and learn about Irish culture through cooking, sport, music and dancing. The show was presented by Bob Kelly who was engaging and jumped from Irish to English with ease while keeping the conversation going.


The last episode on Arainn was wonderful to watch. The scenery there is so stark and barren but the local populace were friendly and full of fun. Witness dancing at the cross roads! Predictably enough they ended up at Dun Aonghus but drinking champagne near those cliffs? Gulp!

I felt Bob Kelly preached a little too much at the end about the importance of keeping the language alive but it was humbling to hear these new Irish speaking as Gaeilge. I for one would love to labhair cupla focail in my daily interactions with strangers and friends.

Humour When-in-Ireland

Gomaith: cartuin as Gaeilge


Gomaith is an online cartoon in Irish that is yet in it’s infancy but promises to provide, “an irreverent look at the world from the high stool.”

Not all the cartoons are funny but there are a few nuggets of gold in there. Oh, and there’s an English translation too, so don’t be afraid to click the link! (via)

Web When-in-Ireland

Who wins Irish Linkbaiter of the Year?

A number of Irish blogs and sites attracted a great many links and attention over the past 12 months but I think I can safely say that the Irish Blog Awards deserves the much coveted “Irish Linkbaiter of the Year Award”. If Damien didn’t delete his own blog from nominations he’d certainly be up for a gong or two!

Not to be left out, I’ve linked to the Awards site too, and I noticed that I’ve been nominated in three categories:

  • This blog is nominated in the best technology blog category.
  • I’m nominated in the “Best Contribution to the Irish Bloggersphere” category
  • Finally, In Photos has been nominated in the best photoblog category.

I voted a few days back and I remember nominating In Photos (hey, why leave things to chance?), but thanks to whoever nominated me in the other categories. Now all that remains is for everyone to vote for me! Go on, you know you want to!

I won’t make it to the awards ceremony this year either but Ryan will be on hand to take a few photos. I look forward to seeing his brilliant black and white shots of the event. My reason for not attending are the same as last year, but thankfully, this year it’s under much happier circumstances!

The voting page doesn’t link to the participating blogs and personalities, but Jason Roe came up with the goods and has linked to them all. Fire up your browser and open them tabs! Ah yes, the Red Cardinal has done the same.

Meanwhile, in typical Rebel Cork style, the Gamma Goblin is holding his own alternative blog awards where, “I’m gonna have my own awards and give ye all nothin! I’m gonna print up flyer’s and stuff, and have cake, and pop… and then maybe a raffle. None of you cretins will get any of the tickets, I’ll keep all the tickets, that way I will definitely win the spot prize’s, which will consist of, a collection of items, and a pile of things.” Go on GG, blow your own bugle, you’ll enjoy it!


How to make free international calls

Fellow Corkman, Pat Phelan has launched the Irish version of his All Free Calls service. It’s now possible for Irish people to make international calls at the price of a local or national call.

I’ve covered getting cheap calls in Ireland and abroad before but All Free Calls is a price that’ll be hard to beat. If your telephone provider offers a free calls package you’ll be able to make international calls for free! Eircom, UTV Internet and others offer free local calls so this should shake up the international calls market quite a bit.

Anytime free minutes bundles or packages are available from several Irish providers including Eircom, BT, Perlico etc. When you use the number shown on the website the international part of your call is then free.

Disclaimer: I’ve met Pat twice, I’m subscribed to his blog but other than that I’m impartial!

Update: It’s not all free, 1890 and 0818 numbers are excluded from free call packages unfortunately. Pat clarifies the situation today. Still, local call is better than the silly amounts the incumbant charges for international calls.