Just as the Scandinavians and the Germans differed less in the seventh and eighth centuries than they do today, so also must the Irish Celts and the Gallic Celts have originally resembled each other more than present-day Irishmen and Frenchmen.
Frederich Engels History of Ireland 1870
It is a machine which has more than any other come to epitomize the essence of Celtic Tiger opulence: the motor car. The motor car is the preferred mode of transport in Ireland . No other object serves to display one’s economic status more blatantly than the automobile. But rather than launching into an ebullient tirade against our fatuous love affair with the motor car,( a critique which would not be inappropriate considering the environmental cost) I want you to take a drive with me through several millennia of European history. Our point of departure is Ireland , our destination is France and our mode of transport is words, ancient lexia strewn upon the highways of linguistic history. Let us consider the word ‘car’. Car is the most common word in the Anglophone world to denote the automobile. This word is in fact derived from Irish, and its cognate equivalent can be found in the ancient pre-Roman language of France : Gaulish.
When one contemplates the unfathomable antiquity of the Irish language and its ubiquity throughout Europe, it is disappointing to think that there is no university in Ireland specializing in the study of Indo-European philology. The appreciation of the importance of Irish for the study of philology and ethnologyy was highlighted by many German scholars and poets. Frederich Engels, a ferocious polyglot, studied Irish and the poet Goethe is said to have sought instruction in the language after reading a book by the philosopher Herder. But interest in the Irish language has always germinated outside of Ireland. Without the meticulous research of German scholars such as Johann Casper Zeuss and Kuno Meyer, to name just two, rigorous scholarship of our ancestral language would have been enormously compromised. Recently, while perambulating the glorious streets of Paris, I came across a notice in Irish at the Centre Culturel Irlandais. It was written by a French Gaelgeoir who was looking for an language partner to hone his linguistic skills. It has become easier to speak Irish in France than in Ireland! No doubt, my French friend is fully aware of the Gallic-Gaelic connection and the hauntingly beautiful fact that An Ghaeilge is as much his at it is mine.