It turns out the Dish has quite a following over there. Thanks for all the emails. My favorite:
He's a Cork man, Donal Og. The accent is one of the "thicker" ones in Ireland, at least to an American(or even a Brit/American) ear. But having lived here now for 8 years, and having met and worked with so many Irish people from every county, the accent doesn't worry me much anymore. What worries me is the attitude still prevalent here regarding gays...it's downright shockingly neanderthal. I witness this almost every day as someone who works for an Irish airline...I am the "Cabin Crew" manager in one of our bases and there are two gay men among my charges. While most of the rest of the crew are excellent with them, if they are out of earshot, or sometimes even within, "gay" jokes are made.
Socially, Ireland is a bastion of ignorance on this matter.
It pains me, as the American mother of a gay son (who lives in Boston) to hear the incessant nasty jokes and chatter on this subject. The Irish are still very uncomfortable with gay people. It is, I believe, a result of the mores of this still very Catholic country, but with the enormous change the Irish have experienced in the last 15-20 years one would think, or at least hope, that the bigotry would change, too. Donal Og has done a great service for his country.
By the way, "Gaelic" is a collection of languages which include Irish, Scots-Gaelic, and Manx-Gaelic.; Irish is the native language of Ireland.
And Tom Humphries is a brilliant sportswriter.