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So the Rio Olympics are over. Between blanket coverage of the games on TV and radio and the corruption that came to light I’m glad it’s all over! It all reminds me of a book I read some years ago.

Although Irish has been used as a literary language for at least 1,500 years and is compulsory in all State primary schools very few can speak the language. It has been argued that use of the language by non-Irish writers has nothing to do with a specifically Irish identity.

Dutch-born Alex Hijmans came to study in Galway University in the west of Ireland. He learned to speak Irish fluently and has published three books in the language. One of these, Favela, is an account of his life in Brazil where he now lives. A favela is a slum or shantytown on the outskirts of large cities like Rio de Janeiro. It is estimated that there are about 1,000 favelas in Rio alone!  The principal focus of Hijmans’ book is on the lives, culture and spiritual beliefs of those living in these ghettoes.

We saw or overheard nothing of these during the last couple of weeks!