Local champ to launch book on chess in Irish

Story by Ann Casey

Wednesday, 1st September, 2010 4:42pm

Local champ to launch book on chess in Irish

Úna " Boyle competing in the World Chess Olympiad in Dresden two years ago.

A new Irish language book on chess will be launched at the weekend by international chess player, Úna " Boyle, a native of Duleek.

'Ficheall' is the first ever Chess book written and published in the Irish language and it will be launched at a function in the Boyne Valley Hotel next Sunday. Later in September, Úna will travel to Siberia, where she will represent Ireland in the World Chess Olympiad for the second time.

As well as being a champion chess player, Úna is also a talented musician and was a member of the now defunct Celtic dance band Hyper[borea]. She is a daughter of Vera and the late Enda O'Boyne of Duleek. Enda, a local historian and school principal, was also a keen chess player and talented pianist.

She has dedicated her book to his memory and is launching the book in the Boyne Valley because that is where he played chess with the Drogheda Chess Club. Sunday's book launch is the result of five years of work, which began when Úna, a fluent Irish speaker, was asked to teach chess in Irish to children in a Dublin Gaelscoil.

It proved a difficult task to ensure the class took place entirely in Irish as some of the terminology didn't exist and she sought help from An Coiste Téarmaíochta, the Irish language Committee determining new terms and words in the language and also consulted with native Irish speakers who play chess.

"I decided to write a book to teach children to play chess through Irish," she said. 'Ficheall' made an appearance at the launch of Dún Laoghaire Chess Festival when Senator Dan Boyle welcomed its introduction to the Irish language and chess in Ireland. The book is available to buy on www.ficheall.com or at the book launch in Drogheda on Sunday at 2pm and its distribution to shops will follow.

Úna will have little time to recover after the book launch before she flies out to Siberia to represent Ireland in the World Chess Olympiad. Two years ago she competed in the same event in Dresden where she won the title Women's Candidate Master. She currently teaches chess, through Irish, in Scoil Aonghusa in Drogheda and a number of Dublin schools.

She has been playing chess since she was eight and her talent had manifested itself by the time she was 11 or 12, and able to beat people much older.

Despite her prowess at chess, Úna is probably best known as a musician and was part of the Hyper[borea] duo and in 1997 she received a Heineken/Hot Press Music Award and has since pursued a solo career. She says that she intends to concentrate more fully on her music, now that the book is finished.

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