Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill writes in Irish and is one of the best-known contemporary Irish poets. A collection published in 1990, Pharaoh’s Daughter, opens with the poem ‘Ceist na Teangan’, or ‘The Language Issue’, in which she likens Irish to a little reed boat, hoping that it will bear the poem to shore, ‘in the lap, perhaps, / of some Pharaoh’s daughter’. In this volume in Irish and English, she takes up the theme of the ‘Mhaighdean Mhara’, or mermaid, drawing on the figure of Mélusine in the writing of Jean d’Arras among others.
Ní Dhomhnaill, Nuala. The Fifty Minute Mermaid. Trans. Paul Muldoon. Oldcastle: Gallery Press, 2007.