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Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 12°C
# return to sender
So, a statement for Irish language mag ended up in Macau, China
A letter destined for Belfast ended up in Macau, China. Totally understandable.

The Belfast in China, right?

NOS CULTURLANN MCADAM O FIAICH? Yes, we might send that letter to China as well.

On this of all weeks, when memories of the Leaving Cert wash over us along with that much-welcomed Vitamin D that comes with the glorious exam weather, it is easy to feel for people who are baffled by the Irish language.

But the bewildered don’t just include students. Has anybody thought of the postmen?

“It’s nothing new that letters addressed in Irish can sometimes create a challenge for postmen,” Tomaí Ó Conghaile told earlier today after his magazine received a letter four weeks late.

Why the delay?

The correspondence from a bank had somehow made its way to Macau, China.

“At first we thought it was a joke,” said Ó Conghaile, who is the editor of NÓS. “But there was a Chinese stamp mark on the back of the envelope – and it had ‘Missent to Macau’ printed across the front – so it seems the letter had been on a bit of an Asian adventure.”

The Belfast-based publication works from an Irish-language cultural and business hub called ‘Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich’.

“We’re guessing that somebody in Royal Mail confused ‘McAdam’ with ‘Macau’ and sent our mail to China. We can’t think of any other explanation as Belfast was even written in English,” mused the editor.

“Irish is taught at university level in Beijing and one of the most popular short films as Gaeilge is ‘Yu Ming Is Ainm Dom’ whose main character is a young Irish speaker from China. Maybe our missent letter is just part of this Irish-Chinese cultural exchange… we’ll be keeping our well-travelled envelope as a souvenir anyway.”

The letter was eventually sent back from Macau – a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China and a former Portuguese colony – and Nos now has a nice souvenir for its office.

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