'An tOcras Mór' The Great Hunger.

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SWIFTY
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Posts: 1033

 

 


 

The Great Famine of 1845-47 is reputed to have rung the death knell for the Irish language, not just in Co. Monaghan, but throughout the length and breadth of Ireland. The Gaeltacht areas of the western seaboard were the worst affected in this respect, as the greatest exodus of victims of that terrible period came from those Irish speaking districts. The remaining pockets of Gaelic speakers in rural areas in the Gaeltacht (English speaking areas) also witnessed the downward spiral of our native tongue during that same period.

 

The decline of the language, however, had dated from a much earlier time. The demise of the Gaelic chieftains and the Gaelic way of life, in the seventeenth century, had started the decline, with English being introduced throughout the expanding foreign controlled areas. The series of ‘Plantations’ drove the final nails into the Irish coffin, and the native tongue as a spoken language shrank, and continued to shrink, until it was confined to the western seaboard, from west Cork to north Donegal.

 

The trend continued for the next two centuries and was finally copper-fastened with the introduction of the National Schools system in the 1830’s. The Irish had always been renowned for their love of education and jumped at the opportunity to have their child educated, only to discover that their native language, if still spoken by the youngsters, was banned from the classroom, and even from the play-ground outside the school. The introduction of the notorious ‘tally stick’ made ure that they did not use a single word of their home language in the hearing of the newly appointed teachers, brought in from outside and who had no knowledge of Irish whatsoever.

 

A ‘tick’ was notched on the stick for every word of Irish that they uttered during the school day, and they received a corresponding punishment at the end of the day for same. Little wonder that they quickly decided to forget their native tongue, and little wonder also that the patriot, Padraig Pearse, later described that same National School system as ‘the Murder Machine’.

 

Despite all that, Farney, the most southerly of Co. Monaghan’s five baronies and embracing the parishes of Inniskeen, Killanny, Donaghmoyne, Carrickmacross and Magheracloone, was still practically one hundred per cent Gaelic speaking right up until the late 1830s, at the following piece taken from Proinsias O’Muirgheasa and Peadar O’Casaide’s excellent little book ‘A Man of Farney’, a Short Story of the Life of Henry Morris, published by Eigse Fhearnmhai in 1974, clearly shows:-

 

‘The Irish language was generally in use among the country people at this time. Henry (Morris) quotes two interesting Irish sayings referring to his great-grandfather. It was said of Lucas Mor:- ‘Da gcuirfea slat thart ar pharoist mhor Domhnach Maighin cha bhfaighfea fear nios Criostai na Lucas Mor O’Muirgheasa’ (If you put a rod around the great parish of Donaghmoyne you would not find a more Christian man than Lucas Mor Morris). And Malai Ban used to say to her daughter-in-law (Harry’s wife) when the younger woman was going to Carrick:- ‘Ma chasann mo chuidse ort thoir, thiar no thuaidh, abair go bhfuil mise anseo’ (If you meet any of my people, east, west or north, tell them that I’m here). This was a reference to her many children who had all married around the district’.

 

The strength of the Irish language itself, coupled with the resilience and determination of the people of the barony of Farney to hold on to their native tongue, has brought favourable comment from most historians throughout Co. Monaghan down through the years. The county’s leading historian, the late Fr. Peadar Livingstone from Castleblayney, in his mammoth work ‘The Monaghan work ‘The Monaghan Story’, published by Clogher Historical Society, Enniskillen 1980, wrote the following:-

 

‘The Irish language survived longer in Farney than in other parts of the country. The last native speaker, Dan Tate (Tuite) of Kednaminsha, Inniskeen, did not die until 1957. The 1891 census recorded that 2,161 native speakers still survived in the barony, mainly in the parishes of Donaghmoyne and Inniskeen. Besides, Farney had been closely connected with the Irish literary tradition of South Armagh and North Louth and there was a time when the poems of Seamus Dall MacCuarta, Peadar O’Doirnin, Art Mac Cumhaigh and Cathal Bui Mac Giolla Gunna, were on the lips of many in Farney. Farney too had its own poets, men like Aodh O’Mallaile who wrote ‘An Sistealoir Bronach’, Micheal MacMathuna who composed ‘Iomain Ionnus Caoin’, Liam Mac Seoin, Padraig Dall O’Mearain and Father Brian Callan. Irish manuscripts survived in Farney after they had disappeared elsewhere and, even in the nineteenth century, men like Eamonn McCabe, Thomas O’Connor, Owen Marron and Michael Carolan, were still transcribing manuscripts in Irish. Even at the end of the century Farney could still boast of a host of rich Irish speakers who had stores of folklore and old Irish stories an poems’.

 

The scourge of emigration which began in pre-Famine times, but gained quick momentum following that dreadful catastrophe, was also a major factor in the decline of the language. With little employment and few opportunities to be gained at home, the younger generations took to the emigrant ships and headed westwards across the Atlantic to find a new life for themselves. Irish, they knew full well, would be of little benefit to them in the gaining of employment or any kind of advancement whatsoever in the New World, so they made it a point to use English only in their homes before departure time, so that they would have some preparation for life abroad, where Irish as a spoken language was unknown.

 

Because of all these various adverse factors it is an absolute miracle that Irish has survived at all as a language, and full credit to those who had the courage and the tenacity to hold on to their native tongue in such terrible circumstances.

 

Outside of Farney the language also survived in several other corners of the county. The credit for much of this must be given to a number of poets who lived there and whose verses remain to this day. In Donagh parish in the north of the county a poet called Brian MacCionaith lived at Pullis, Emyvale, in the closing decades of the 18th century and early part of the 19th century. A poem in Irish written by him, circa 1810, was unearthed by the late Athair Padraig O’Maolagain, later Bishop of Clogher, and was published in the ‘Clogher Record’ on two occasions, the first in the 1954 edition. The poem was in praise of a previous Parish Priest of the neighbouring parish of Errigal Truagh, named Ross MacCionaith, who was obviously much revered by the people of both parishes and who died in 1760. The opening verse reads as follows:

 

Mile Seacht gcead agus tri fichid,

De aois Mhic De dha bhliain da dhioghhail,

O chuaigh scathan na nGael a bhi in eideach Chriosta,

Ins and chriaidh is cead faraor e.

Do bhi crionnacht Sholaimh in eochair na ceille,

Feile Eochaidh a chothuigheadh na heigse, Hector is Paris, Troiius, Ganimedus,

Achilles, Hercules a d’iomchradh na sleibhthe.

 

From the same area comes a novel written by the Ulster writer William Carleton called ‘The Fair of Emyvale’. It is the story of an 1815 abduction and the main family involved was named Goodwin, but Carleton points out that they were known locally by their Irish name, McGoughan, and states quite clearly that the family used only Irish as the spoken language in their home. He also adds:-

 

‘When talked of, or spoken to, in the Irish language, he was never named or addressed as Goodwin, nor did he himself much relish this innovation upon his Celtic appellation’.

In the west of the county during that same period, Irish was also the everyday language in the home and there is a strange piece of evidence for this. At 9 am, on 19th July 1824, a Clones man named Alexander Pearce was hanged at Hobart town jail in Tasmania, Australia, for murder and cannibalism (ach sin sceal eile!!). He was prepared for death by Fr. Phillip Connolly, by coincidence another Monaghan Man, who suggested to him that he make a full public confession of his crimes. Pearce, knowing that there was no escape and probably to gain notoriety, agreed and made the confession which was written down by Fr. Connolly. The authorities, however, refused to accept it as it was written in Irish, which they had never seen before. Irish had been first (or home) language of both Pearce and Fr. Connolly.

 

All of these instances show quite clearly that Irish was still the ‘home’ language of the people of Monaghan right up until nearly Famine times. Then came the disasters already mentioned and Irish disappeared. However, with the introduction of Connradh na Gaeilge (the Gaelic League) and other kindred organisations, in the early part of the 20th century, Irish has been revived and has made considerable progress over the past one hundred years. Hopefully it will continue to do so and that our native tongue will again attain its proper place in the lives of Co. Monaghan people in the not so distant future.


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WHEN GENOCIDE BECAME "FAMINE" : IRELAND, 1845 - 1850

This petition seeks your support for a campaign to:

* Persuade relevant authors, editors and website content providers to stop using the word ‘Famine’ for what took place in Ireland between 1845 and 1850, and start using terms such as, "The Great Hunger" or 'An tOcras Mór

PETITION LINK- TO CHANGE THE WORD FAMINE http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850


May 31, 2010 at 5:43 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

 

The Hedge Schools

 

There must be something about prohibitions that make citizens defy even the strongest government. In America, prohibition of alcoholic beverages led to a thriving industry in "bootleg" whiskey; in Ireland, prohibition of Roman Catholic education led to a thriving industry in "bootleg" schools, Ireland's Hedge Schools.

 

The Hedge Schools emerged out of the harshness of the infamous Penal Laws, passed between 1702 and 1719. One of the first of the Penal Laws specified that "no person of the popish religion shall publicly or in private houses teach school, or instruct youth in learning within this realm..." One commentator on this Penal Law said that "It was not merely the persecution of a religion, it was an attempt to degrade and demoralize a whole nation." A law so unjust as this pleaded to be defied and the Irish of the 18th century were equal to the challenge.

 

It was not that there were no schools in Ireland open to Roman Catholic children that led to the Hedge Schools. The English government sponsored schools but the majority of the Catholic population refused to use them. The government schools were clearly intended to proselytize and to Anglicize Ireland. As late as 1825, the Protestant hierarchy petitioned the King, saying "amongst the ways to convert and civilise the Deluded People, the most necessary have always been thought to be that a sufficient number of English Protestant Schools be erected, wherein the Children of the Irish Natives should be instructed in the English Tongue and in the Fundamental Principles of the True Religion."

 

The Irish who could afford the Hedgemaster's fee sent their children to Hedge Schools where Gaelic brehons, storytellers and musicians secretly taught Irish history, tradition, and told tales of the Irish children's ancestry. Popular history places these schools under ruined walls or in dry ditches by the roadside. Some lessons, no doubt, were taught in the shadow of a hedge while others were taught in barns. Some schools even had names, such as the Moate Lane School where Edmund Rice, founder of the Irish Christian Brothers, received his education. Some were even more comfortable than the state sponsored Diocesan and Charter schools and held to a higher standard of instruction, including classical training in Ovid and Virgil.

 

A Commission of Inquiry reported in 1826 that of the 550,000 pupils enrolled in all schools in Ireland, 403,000 were in Hedge Schools. Sadly, too many children had no schooling. Their need motivated two of the great Irish educators. Nano Nagle defied the Penal Laws to open schools for the children of the poor in the mid-1700's and she founded the Order of the Presentation Sisters to continue her work. Inspired by Nano Nagle, Edmund Rice opened schools for the poor to counter the English use of the schools to proselytize and left the Christian Brothers to teach "Paddy Stink and Mickey Mud."

 

The Penal Laws were gradually repealed, the prohibition on Irish teachers being lifted in 1782. In 1832, State elementary schools acceptable to the Irish Catholic population were instituted, resulting in the waning of the Hedge School system. The Hedge Schools had done what was needed to demonstrate that the Irish would defy laws that were aimed at destroying their culture and they demonstrated the love of the Irish for learning. They also give us many romantic visions of children and Hedgemaster studying Greek and Latin with the sky as their ceiling and the emerald green turf of Ireland as their floor. John O'Hagan's verse gives us the image of the Hedge Schools that the Irish cherish:

 

I Still crouching 'neath the sheltering hedge,

Or stretched on mountain fern,

The teacher and his pupils met feloniously to learn.

 

(written by John Walsh)

 

© Irish Cultural Society of the Garden City Area


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WHEN GENOCIDE BECAME "FAMINE" : IRELAND, 1845 - 1850

This petition seeks your support for a campaign to:

* Persuade relevant authors, editors and website content providers to stop using the word ‘Famine’ for what took place in Ireland between 1845 and 1850, and start using terms such as, "The Great Hunger" or 'An tOcras Mór

PETITION LINK- TO CHANGE THE WORD FAMINE http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850


May 31, 2010 at 7:44 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

 

Ye Hedge School is named after the clandestine schools run by the Irish during the time of the Penal laws which not only forbade the teaching of Catholic catechism, but indeed forbade all education for Catholics. Despite these laws, however, when my great-great-grandfather arrived in the United States from Ireland, he was well educated, knowing arithmetic, algebra, and geometry, history and geography, spelling and writing, and, of course, catechism.

 

It is simply extraordinary that while the Penal laws prevented the Catholic Irish from voting or holding office, from owning or purchasing land, from engaging in commerce, and forbade them to educate their children in by any means, at home or abroad, education continued. Priests were banned and hunted with bloodhounds and the faithful Irish had nothing but the barest living in their countryside, on lands that had not (yet) been confiscated, yet all the while, priests and other educated Irishmen who were faithful to the Church conducted schools in inaccessible caves or tiny huts, or behind hedges. The schools were called Hedge Schools. Seumus MacManus, in his book The Story of the Irish Race, describes them thus:

 

"Throughout those dark days the hunted schoolmaster, with price upon his head, was hidden from house to house. And in the summer time he gathered his little class, hungering and thirsting for knowledge, behind a hedge in remote mountain glen where, while in turn each tattered lad kept watch from the hilltop for the British soldiers, he fed to his eager pupils the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge.

"Latin and Greek were taught to ragged hunted ones under shelter of the hedges whence these teachers were knows as "hedge schoolmasters." A knowledge of Latin was a frequent enough accomplishment among poor Irish mountaineers in the seventeenth century and was spoken by many of them on special occasions. And it is authoritatively boasted that cows were bought and sold in Greek, in mountain market-places of Kerry."

 

MacManus also tells of the eighteenth century Irish poet Owen Roe O'Sullivan who was a farm hand until he had the opportunity to help his master's son read a Greek passage; the son had just returned from college on the Continent.

And he tells us that a friend's father used to hear whole conversations in Latin among the priests and schoolmasters of nineteenth century Ireland.

 

A good photo of a historic hedge school may be found partway down this webpage:

http://homepages.iol.ie/~sweeneyd/school/schools/index.htm

 

Ardagh in Limerick has a reference to the "Mass rocks" of the same period in history -- places where Mass was said in secret during the same years as the hedge schools.

 

The Glenariff website has a wonderful panoramic view of an Irish landscape. Somewhere in the glen, there is a cave that was used as a hedge school. The photography does not provide a view of the cave in question, but it gives the flavor of the place and time -- and a flavor of the difficulty the British would have faced trying to destroy the schools:

 

http://www.antrim.net/glenariff/historical.html

 

In our own time, education is legally required and readily available for everyone, but what an education! Not only are prayer and catechism forbidden in our schools, as were Mass and Catholic theology in Ireland, but phonics is virtually outlawed, math is neglected, and literature, history, geography, and the biological sciences are so infected with eugenic bias as to be anti-catechetical for Catholics.

 

Whether you are schooling at home or in public or private schools, Ye Hedge School is committed to developing and promoting materials that will help you bring your children's education in line with eternal truth.


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WHEN GENOCIDE BECAME "FAMINE" : IRELAND, 1845 - 1850

This petition seeks your support for a campaign to:

* Persuade relevant authors, editors and website content providers to stop using the word ‘Famine’ for what took place in Ireland between 1845 and 1850, and start using terms such as, "The Great Hunger" or 'An tOcras Mór

PETITION LINK- TO CHANGE THE WORD FAMINE http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850


May 31, 2010 at 8:22 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

 

Irish (Gaeilge) is a Goidelic language spoken in Ireland and in small communities in Canada and Argentina. Irish is constitutionally recognised as the first official language of the Republic of Ireland, and has recently received a degree of formal recognition in Northern Ireland, under the Good Friday Agreement alongside the varieties of Lowland Scots spoken in Northern Ireland.

The language is sometimes referred to in English as Gaelic (IPA: /ˈgeɪlɪk/), Irish Gaelic, or Erse from Scots, but is more generally referred to in Ireland as the Irish language or simply Irish. Use of the term Irish also avoids confusion with Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig na h-Alba), the closely-related language spoken in Scotland and usually referred to in English as simply Gaelic (IPA: /ˈgɑlɪk/).

 

Gaeltachtaí

 

There are pockets of Ireland where Irish is spoken as a traditional, native language. These regions are known as Gaeltachtaí (sing. Gaeltacht). The most important ones are in Connemara (Conamara), including Aran Islands (Oileáin Árann) in County Galway (Contae na Gaillimhe), and the west coast of County Donegal (Contae Dhún na nGall; also known as Tír Chonaill), and the Dingle peninsula (Corca Dhuibhne) in County Kerry (Contae Chiarraí). Others exist in Mayo (Contae Mhaigh Eo), Meath (Contae na Mí), and Waterford (Contae Phort Láirge), but these areas have seen their Irish-speaking populations dwindle since the Gaeltacht boundaries were drawn up.

The numerically strongest Gaeltachtaí are those of Connemara and Aran. The highest percentages of Irish speakers are found in Ros Muc, Connemara, and around Bloody Foreland (Cnoc na Fola) in Tír Chonaill.



September 29, 2010 at 12:04 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

 

Dialects

 

See the full discussion at Irish dialects.

There are a number of distinct dialects of Irish. Roughly speaking, the three major dialect areas coincide with the provinces of Munster (Cúige Mumhan), Connacht (Cúige Chonnacht) and Ulster (Cúige Uladh).

Munster dialects

Munster Irish is spoken in the Gaeltachtaí of Kerry (Contae Chiarraí), Muskerry (Múscraí), Cape Clear (Oileán Cléire) in the western part of County Cork (Contae Chorcaí), and the tiny pocket of Irish-speakers in An Rinn near Dungarvan (Dún Garbháin) in County Waterford (Contae Phort Láirge). The most important subdivision in Munster is that between Decies Irish (spoken in Waterford) and the rest of Munster Irish.

Some typical features of Munster Irish are:

The use of personal endings instead of pronouns with verbs, thus "I must" is in Munster caithfead, while other dialects prefer caithfidh mé (mé means "I"). "I was and you were" is Bhíos agus bhís in Munster but Bhí mé agus bhí tú in other dialects.

In front of nasals and "ll" some short vowels are lengthened while other are diphthongised.

A copula-construction involving is ea is frequently used.

Connacht dialects

The strongest dialect of Connacht Irish is to be found in Connemara and the Aran Islands. In some regards this dialect is quite different from general Connacht Irish but since most Connacht dialects have died out during the last century Connemara Irish is sometimes seen as Connacht Irish. Much closer to the traditional Connacht Irish is the very threatened dialect spoken in the region on the border between Galway (Gaillimh) and Mayo (Maigh Eo). The remnants of the Irish of Tourmakeady (Tuar Mhic Éadaigh) in southern Mayo and Joyce Country (Dúthaigh Sheoige) are considered the living Irish dialects closest to Middle Irish. The northern Mayo dialect of Erris (Iorras) and Achill (Acaill) is in grammar and word-building essentially a Connacht dialect, but shows an affinity in vocabulary with Ulster Irish, due to large-scale immigration of dispossessed people following the Ulster Plantation.

Connemara Irish is very popular with learners, thanks to Mícheál Ó Siadhail's self-teaching textbook Learning Irish. However, there are features in Connemara Irish which are not accepted standard, notably the preference for verbal nouns ending in -achan, such as lagachan instead of lagú, "weakening". The non-standard pronunciation with lengthened vowels and heavily reduced endings give Connemara Irish its distinct sound.

Ulster dialects

The most important of the Ulster dialects today is that of the Rosses (na Rosa), which has been used extensively in literature by such authors as the brothers Séamus and Seosamh Mac Grianna, locally known as Jimí Fheilimí and Joe Fheilimí. This dialect is essentially the same as that in Gweedore (Gaoth Dobhair), the same dialect used by native speaker Enya and her siblings in Clannad.

Ulster Irish sounds very different and shares several unusual features with Scottish Gaelic, as well as having lots of characteristic words and shades of meanings. However, since the demise of those Irish dialects spoken natively in what is today Northern Ireland, it is probably exaggerated to see Ulster Irish as an intermediary form between Scottish Gaelic and the southern and western dialects of Irish. Indeed, Scottish Gaelic does have lots of non-Ulster features in common with Munster Irish, too.

One noticeable trait of Ulster Irish is the use of the negative participle cha(n), in place of the Munster and Connaught version ní. Even in Ulster, cha(n), most typical of Scottish Gaelic, has ousted the more common ní only in easternmost dialects (including the now defunct ones once spoken in what is now Northern Ireland). The practice seems to be that cha(n) is most usually used when answering to a statement, either confirming a negative statement (Níl aon mhaith ann - Chan fhuil, leoga = "It is no good" - "Indeed it isn't") or contesting an affirmative one (Tá sé go maith - Chan fhuil! = "It is good" - "No, it isn't!"), while ní is preferred in answering a question (An bhfuil aon mhaith ann? - Níl = "Is it any good?" - "No").

Other regions

The extant dialects of Irish native to Leinster, the fourth province of Ireland, became extinct during the 20th century, but records of some of these were made by the Irish Folklore Commission among other bodies prior to this.

The Irish of Meath (in Leinster) is a special case. It belongs to the Connemara dialect, as the Irish-speaking community in Meath is simply a group of mostly Connemara speakers who moved there in the 1930s, after a land reform campaign spearheaded by Máirtín Ó Cadhain, subsequently one of the greatest modernist writer in the language.

 


September 29, 2010 at 12:06 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

 

Stages of the Irish language

The earliest form of the language, Primitive Irish, is found in ogham inscriptions up to about the 4th century. After the conversion to Christianity, Old Irish begins to appear as glosses in the margins of Latin manuscripts, beginning in the 6th century, until it gives way in the 10th century to Middle Irish. Modern Irish dates from about the 16th century.

The Irish Language Movement

The Irish language was the most widely spoken language on the island of Ireland until the 19th century. The first Bible in Irish was translated by William Bedell, Church of Ireland Bishop of Kilmore in the 17th century.

A combination of the introduction of a primary education system (the 'National Schools'), in which Irish was prohibited and only English taught by order of the British Government in Ireland, and the Great Famine (An Drochshaol) which hit a disportionately high number of Irish language speakers (who lived in the poorer areas heavily hit by famine deaths and emigration), hastened its rapid decline. Irish political leaders, such as Daniel O'Connell (Dónall Ó Conaill), too were critical of the language, seeing it as 'backward', with English the language of the future. Contemporary reports spoke of Irish-speaking parents actively discouraging their children from speaking the language, and encouraging the use of English instead.

Some, however, thought differently. The initial moves to save the language were championed by Irish Protestants, such as the linguist and clergyman William Neilson, in the end of the eighteenth century; the major push occurred with the foundation by Douglas Hyde, the son of a Church of Ireland rector, of the Gaelic League (known in Irish as Conradh na Gaeilge) which started the Gaelic Revival. Leading supporters of Conradh included Pádraig Mac Piarais and Éamon de Valera. The revival of interest in the language coincided with other cultural revivals, such as the foundation of the Gaelic Athletic Association and the growth in the performance of plays about Ireland in English, by such luminaries as William Butler Yeats, J.M. Synge, Sean O'Casey and Lady Gregory, with their launch of the Abbey Theatre.

Even though the Abbey Theatre playwrights wrote in English (and indeed some disliked Irish) the Irish language affected them, as it did all Irish English speakers. The version of English spoken in Ireland, known as Hiberno-English bears striking similarities in some grammatical idioms with Irish. In contrast to English as spoken in England, Hiberno-English offers a greater range of expression. Some have speculated that even after the vast majority of Irish people stopped speaking Irish, they perhaps subsconsciously used its grammatical flair in the manner in which they spoke English. This fluency is reflected in the writings of Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde and more recently in the writings of Seamus Heaney, Paul Durkan, Dermot Bolger and many others. (It may also in part explain the appeal in Britain of Irish-born broadcasters like Terry Wogan, Eamonn Andrews, Graham Norton, Desmond Lynam, etc.)

This national cultural revival of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century matched the growing Irish radicalism in Irish politics. Many of those, such as Pearse, de Valera, W.T. Cosgrave (Liam Mac Cosguir) and Ernest Blythe (Earnán de Blaghd), who fought to achieve Irish independence and came to govern the independent Irish state, first became politically aware through Conradh na Gaeilge, though Hyde himself resigned from its presidency in 1915 in protest at the movement's growing politicisation.

A Church of Ireland campaign to promote worship and religion in Irish was started in 1914 with the founding of Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise (the Irish Guild of the Church). The Roman Catholic Church also replaced its liturgies in Latin with Irish and English for their liturgies following the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.


September 29, 2010 at 12:06 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

 

Independent Ireland & the language

The independent Irish state from 1922 (The Irish Free State 1922-37; Éire from 1937, also known since 1949 as the Republic of Ireland) launched a major push to promote the Irish language, with some of its leaders hoping that the state would become predominantly Irish-speaking within a generation. In fact, many of these initiatives, notably compulsory Irish at school and the requirement that one must know Irish to be employed in the civil service, proved counter-productive with generations of school-children alienated by what was often heavily-handed attempts at indoctrination, that created a cultural backlash. Demands that children learn seventeenth century Irish poetry, or study the life of Peig Sayers (a Gaelic speaker from the Blasket Islands) whose accounts of her life, as recounted in Irish language books, though fascinating, was taught in a poor manner, left a cultural legacy of negative reactions among generations, all too many of whom deliberately refused to use the language once they left school.

The emergence of a new, more pragmatic and technocratic leadership in the beginning of the sixties, with Seán Lemass as Taoiseach, marked the shift in the attitude of Ireland's dominant élites towards the language. Whereas the first three presidents of Ireland (Douglas Hyde/Dubhghlas de hÍde, Sean T. O'Kelly/Seán T. Ó Ceallaigh and Eamon de Valera) and the fifth (Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh) were all so fluent in Irish that it became the working language in their official residence, later presidents struggled with any degree of fluency, its use declining to such an extent that it is only used now (if at all) in occasional speeches. Similarly, where earlier generations of Irish government leaders were highly fluent, recent prime ministers (Albert Reynolds/Ailbhe Mag Raghnaill, John Bruton, Bertie Ahern) had little fluency, struggling to pronounce passages of their speeches in Irish to their Ard-Fheiseanna (party conference(s), pronounced 'Ord Esh-ana').

It is, though, disputed to what extent such professed language revivalists as de Valera genuinely tried to Gaelicise political life. Ernest Blythe did little during his time as Minister of Finance to assist Irish language projects beyond the vested interests of already established organisations. Even in the first Dáil Éireann, few speeches were delivered as Gaeilge (in Irish), with the exception of formal proceedings. None of the recent taoisigh (plural of 'Taoiseach', meaning 'prime minister') have been fluent in Irish; of the recent Presidents only Mary McAleese (Máire Mhac Ghiolla Íosa) and Mary Robinson/Máire Mhic Róíbín are fluent, though the latter studied the language to improve her fluency while in office. Presidents of Ireland do take their inauguration 'Declaration of Office' in the language, but that too is optional.

Even modern parliamentary legislation, through supposed to be issued in both Irish and English, is frequently only available in English. Much of publicly displayed Irish is ungrammatical, thus irritating both language activists and enemies of the language and contributing to the public image of the revival as phony and bogus.

Many public bodies have Irish language or bilingual names, but some have downgraded the language. For example, Eircom (formerly Telecom Eireann) effectively dropped Irish from its telephone directories in 1999. An Post, the Republic's postal service, continues to have place names in the language on its postmarks, as well as recognising addresses.

In an effort to address the half-committed attitude of Irish language use by the State, the Official Languages Act was passed in 2003. This act ensures that every publication made by a governmental body must be published in both official languages, Irish and English. In addition, the office of Official Languages Commissioner has been set up to act as an ombudsman with regard to equal treatment in both languages.

Picture of a typical Irish road sign in Mullingar, County Westmeath, with placenames in English and Irish.

In 2002, at the launch of what was to be a new traffic management system for Dublin, it was revealed that the vast majority of signs would be in English only. The justification offered was that, in making the English lettering large enough to be easily read by motorists from a distance, there was no space to include Irish. The use of the single Irish words left, 'An Lár' (meaning city centre) was criticised on the basis that no-one would know what it meant, even though it was a term used widely for decades on street signs. Even the once common method in Ireland of beginning and ending letters - beginning 'A Chara' (meaning friend) and ending 'Is Mise le Meas' - is becoming rarer.

On balance, the overly enthusiastic promotion of Irish by the political and cultural elite from the 1920s did more harm than good to the language's longterm prospects. Instead of winning over people to the concept that they could speak Irish, they attempted to follow a process of saying they must speak Irish. That created a backlash that made many people more determined than ever not to. The language went into long-term decline, with Gaeltacht areas (exclusively Irish speaking areas) shrinking as the results of each national census returns were analysed. Today, most people, even in what are officially Gaeltacht areas, no longer speak the language. In a last ditch effort to stop the complete collapse of Irish-speaking in Connemara in Galway, new planning controls have been introduced to ensure that only Irish speakers will be given permission to build homes in Irish speaking areas. But even this may be too little, too late, as many of those areas have a majority of English-speakers, with most Irish speakers being bilingual, using English as their everyday language except among themselves. Compulsory Irish in schools remains a political shibboleth, with most politicians reluctant to raise the subject for fear of appearing unpatriotic.

Attempts have been made to offer some support for the language through the media, notably the launch of Raidió na Gaeltachta (Gaeltacht radio) and Teilifís na Gaeilge (Irish language television, called initially 'TnaG', now completely renamed TG4); both have had limited success. TG4 has offered Irish-speaking young people a forum for youth culture as Gaeilge (in Irish) through rock and pop shows, travel shows, dating games, and even a controversial award-winning soap opera in Irish called Ros na Rún (featuring, among other characters, an Irish-speaking gay couple and their child). Most of TG4's viewership, however, tends to come from showing gaelic football, hurling and rugby matches, and films in English.

In 1938, the founder of the Conradh na Gaeilge, Douglas Hyde, was inaugurated as the first President of Ireland. The record of his delivering his inauguration 'Declaration of Office' in his native Roscommon Irish remains almost the only surviving remnant of anyone speaking in that dialect, which in effect died out with him. Over sixty years later, the majority of the Gaeltacht and Irish-speaking areas in existence as he took that oath, no longer exist.

 


September 29, 2010 at 12:08 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

 

Northern Ireland

Attitudes towards the Irish language in Northern Ireland have traditionally reflected the political differences between its two divided communities. The language has been regarded with suspicion by Unionists, who have associated it with Catholic dominated Republic in the south, and more recently, with the republican movement in Northern Ireland itself. Many republicans in Northern Ireland, including Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, learnt Irish while in prison, a development known as the jailtacht. The language was not taught in Protestant schools, and public signs in Irish were effectively banned under laws by the Parliament of Northern Ireland, which stated that only English could be used.

This was not formally lifted by the British Government until the early 1990s. However, Irish-medium schools, known as gaelscoileanna, had been founded in Belfast and Derry, and an Irish-language newspaper called Lá ('day') was established in Belfast. BBC Radio Ulster began broadcasting a nightly half-hour programme in Irish in the early 1980s called Blas ('taste', 'accent'), and BBC Northern Ireland also showed its first TV programme in the language in the early 1990s. The Ultach Trust was also established, with a view to broadening the appeal of the language among Protestants, although hardline Unionists like the Reverend Ian Paisley continued to ridicule it as a 'leprechaun language'. Ulster Scots, was, in turn, ridiculed by nationalists as 'a DIY language for Orangemen'.

The Irish Language Today

 

In spite of all the efforts since Ireland achieved independence (some critics claim because of those efforts) the Irish language is in rapid and perhaps terminal decline in the Republic of Ireland. According to data compiled the Irish Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, only one quarter of households in Gaeltacht areas possess a fluency in Irish. The author of a detailed analysis of the survey, Donncha Ó hÉallaithe, described the Irish language policy followed by Irish governments a 'complete and absolute disaster.' The Irish Times (January 6, 2002), referring to his analysis, which was initially published in the Irish language newspaper Foinse, quoted him as follows: 'It is an absolute indictment of successive Irish Governments that at the foundation of the Irish State there were 250,000 fluent Irish speakers living in Irish-speaking or semi Irish-speaking areas, but the number now is between 20,000 and 30,000.'

According to the language survey, levels of fluency among families is 'very low', from 1% in Galway suburbs to a maximum of 8% parts of west Donegal. With such sharp decline, particularly among the young, the real danger exists that Irish will largely become extinct within two generations, possibly even one. While the language will continue to exist among English speakers who have learned fluency and are bilingual (though mainly English-speaking in their everyday lives) Gaeltachtaí embody more than just a language, but the cultural context in which it is spoken, through song, stories, social traditions, folklore and dance. The death of the Gaeltachtaí would make a break forever between Ireland's cultural past and identity, and its future. All sides, irrespective of their view on the methodology used by independent Ireland in its efforts to preserve the language, agree that such a loss would be a cultural tragedy of a monumental scale.

 


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WHEN GENOCIDE BECAME "FAMINE" : IRELAND, 1845 - 1850

This petition seeks your support for a campaign to:

* Persuade relevant authors, editors and website content providers to stop using the word ‘Famine’ for what took place in Ireland between 1845 and 1850, and start using terms such as, "The Great Hunger" or 'An tOcras Mór

PETITION LINK- TO CHANGE THE WORD FAMINE http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850


September 29, 2010 at 12:08 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

All languages and all cultures are important, just as the diversity of plants or variety of animals are important in the physical world. They are part of the wealth of human inheritance and should not be lightly discarded.

 

Modern Irish is the direct descendant of one of the most ancient languages in Europe – Old Irish. It is a Celtic language, closely related to Scots Gàidhlig and Manx Gaelg, and also related to Welsh, Cornish and Breton. Irish has been spoken in Ireland since at least 300 BC.

 

The earliest written literature in Europe was Classical Greek, eg Homer's Iliad (8th Century BC). The second was in Latin, eg Virgil's Aeneid (1st Century BC). Scholars agree that the third oldest written literature in Western Europe was in the Irish language. We have written records of Irish lyric poetry from 700 AD. The oral literature is older still.

IRELAND POSSESSES:

'a greater wealth of carefully preserved oral tradition from the earliest period of our era than any other people in Europe north of the Alps.'

 

The eminent English scholar, NK Chadwick has written that Ireland possesses in the Irish language:

'a greater wealth of carefully preserved oral tradition from the earliest period of our era than any other people in Europe north of the Alps. For this reason the foundation of her early history from traditional materials is of general interest far beyond her political and geographical area, and second only to that of the ancient Greek and Roman world.'

 

Irish was once one of the most important languages in Europe and in its day was spoken all the way from Cork and Kerry to the north of Scotland and in the Isle of Man. Poets and bards could travel through all three countries and listen to and enjoy one another's compositions.

 

Irish scholars and clerics brought learning and literature, even in Latin, to many parts of the Continent. The German word for a bell, glocke, comes from the Irish clog. The Irish missionary monks brought that word with them to the Continent a long time ago.

 

The Brehon Laws (Dlíthe na mBreithiún) were an elaborate native system of law governing most aspects of life and human relations – land, property, marriage etc. Irish scholars had codified the grammar of the language by the 12th Century. The Gaeil were indeed a cultured and progressive people.

 

The Anglo-Norman invasion which began in 1169 was the beginning of the 800 years of conquest and resistance which is not over yet. As the English conquest reached farther and farther into the country, English rule was established and the English language was introduced and over the centuries it became the dominant language. Laws like the Statutes of Kilkenny (1367) were passed to promote the process of anglicisation, by suppressing and replacing Irish speech and customs.

 

The English poet Edmund Spenser (1552-1599), who acquired large estates of land in Co Cork by plantation wrote:

 

'It hath always been the use of the conqueror to despise the language of the conquered and to force him by all means necessary to learn his. The speech being Irish the heart must needs be Irish. The speech being English . . .'

 

As power passed from the native Irish to the imperial power of England the Irish language and Irish culture generally were weakened and the English language took hold. By 1600 it had become the language of power, law, administration, commerce and education. Nevertheless, most of the common people continued to speak Irish.

 

The first ever journal in the Irish language – Bolg an tSolair – was published by the first generation of Republicans in Belfast (1795) by the Northern Star – the Republican organ of the time.

Irish speaking regions in Ireland (below) coloured black

 

1800

 

 

1851

 

1986

 

When the old Gaelic schools were suppressed or died out because there were no longer Irish chiefs to support them, some Irish people managed to get education in the hedge schools:

 

'Crouching 'neath the sheltering hedge,

Or stretched on mountain fern,

The master and his pupils met,

Feloniously to learn.'

 

The government in London established the national school system in 1831. Although Irish was the home tongue of almost half the children of Ireland at that time, no Irish was allowed in those schools and no Irish history was taught. They were not 'national' schools at all – they were instruments of anglicisation. The pupils had to learn and repeat this verse:

'I thank the goodness and the grace

which on my youth have smiled

and made me in these Christian days

A happy English child.'

 

The bata scóir was tied around many children's necks and a notch put in it each time he/she spoke Irish. Certain punishment would follow.

 

Daniel O'Connell, although himself a native Irish speaker, thought the language was a burden or encumbrance and advised people to change to English.

 

 

Daniel O'Connell, although himself a native Irish speaker, thought the language was a burden or encumbrance and advised people to change to English. Thomas Davis, the Young Ireland leader, on the other hand, said Irish was the badge of our nationality and should never be lost. But he was in no way narrow-minded. His policy was broad and generous. 'From whatever stock they have sprung, Celtic, Norman or Saxon,' he wrote, 'if men loved and served the country, they were Irish'.

 

The Great Famine dealt another blow to the Irish language, as it hit hardest, by hunger, disease, death and emigration in Irish-speaking counties like Co. Mayo. People came to associate Irish with poverty and to perceive English as essential for progress. Ireland lacked good leaders.

 

The Gaelic revival began in earnest with the founding of the Gaelic Athletic Association in 1884 and Conradh na Gaeilge (Gaelic League) in 1893. Pádraic Mac Piarais defined the national objective as an Ireland 'not free merely but Gaelic as well; not Gaelic merely, but free as well' when he spoke at the grave of the Fenian, O'Donovan Rossa, in 1915. He pioneered modern education and schooling though Irish and studied bilingual education in Belgium.

 

The language movement became so strong that it successfully campaigned to have Irish made an essential subject for entry to the colleges of the new National University of Ireland (1908). Many of the County Councils backed the campaign and the new provision took effect in 1913.

 

During the 1916-21 phase of the national struggle, the Gaelic revival movement was very strong. The business of the first meeting of Dáil Éireann on 21 January, 1919 was conducted entirely in Irish, apart from the reading of important declarations in English and French.

 

When the Free State was established in the 26 Counties in 1922 a positive Irish language programme was introduced into the schools and Irish was promoted in the public service. Since about 1970 this effort has been gradually abandoned. This is why parents in some areas have organised the Gaelscoileanna, where the children are educated through Irish. This movement is making great strides all over Ireland. The attitude of the two states can be summed up as hostility in the Six Counties and hypocrisy in the 26 Counties. Irish is rarely spoken in Leinster House.

The last native speaker of Manx Gaelic, Ned Maddrell, died in 1974 at the age of 97.

 

The last native speaker of Manx Gaelic, Ned Maddrell, died in 1974 at the age of 97. Since then the language enthusiasts have been using tape recordings of the last of the native speakers in classes and schools to try to teach the sounds of the language. We have not yet reached that forlorn situation in Ireland, but since 1950 the last native speakers have died in several Irish counties – Tipperary, Sligo, Roscommon, Cavan, Tyrone, Louth, Antrim. As the Gaeltacht contracts under the pressure of English, the richness of the Irish idiom is disappearing.

 

The 800 years of invasion and occupation have left us with a prevalent slave mentality, the mind that sees things English as superior. Take the example of the names which have been given to housing estates here in recent years. We have 'Westminster Downs' and 'Windermere Close,' 'Tudor Lawn' and so on. Townlands which had native names for centuries now have estates and roads with names plucked from the heart of England.

 

This is because the developers buy some of the better class English newspapers and study the property pages. They select fancy English names. The more 'fashionable' these are the higher the price they can expect for the houses they build. That tells us a lot about both the builders and, possibly, their customers – for them, English is better.

 

Among some of the Unionists we have to deal with a lot of ignorance and roguery. At the time of the Ulster Plantation (1609) the native Irish were Irish-speaking. Many of the Scots Presbyterian settlers spoke Scots Gàidhlig. The Lowland Scots spoke Lallans (a dialect of English from which we get Ullans) and the English settlers spoke English.

 

Sammy Wilson (DUP) says Irish is a 'Leprechaun language' and that hurling in Co Antrim is an 'alien game'. This is ignorance of course.

 

When John Taylor (UUP) says the Unionists are not Irish, but 'British', do not play Irish games, sing Irish songs or speak Irish, he is indulging in a piece of roguery. Most of the placenames of Ulster are of Irish origin – Ard Mhacha, anglicised Armagh, etc. The tunes the Orange bands play are Irish traditional tunes – Rosc Catha na Mumhan and the Boyne Water have the same traditional air.

 

John McCague may have proclaimed that he was a staunch loyalist, but he could not ignore the fact that his own surname is Irish – Mac Thaidhg in fact, the son of a Teigue! But would he believe it?

 

We must not forget that some of the great Irish scholars were Protestants, whether Loyalist, Nationalist or Republican in their time. Charlotte Brooke (1740-1793) from Co Cavan collected Irish poetry and published it in her Reliques of Irish Poetry. Douglas Hyde from Co Roscommon, another Protestant, founded Conradh na Gaeilge and was its first Uachtarán. He called on the Irish people to 'de-anglicise' themselves.

 

The Irish language belongs to all the people of Ireland, and it has the potential to unite them. Those who claim it is divisive do not understand what is involved. Presbyterian ministers preached in Irish in many parts of Ulster throughout the 19th Century and up to the beginning of the 20th Century, because their congregations were Irish speaking. When Queen Victoria visited Belfast the shipyard workers displayed a banner reading 'Céad Míle Fáilte'. We are all Irish on this island. 'Divide and Conquer' was ever an imperialist ploy.

 

It is generally accepted that the greatest Irish prose writer of the 20th Century was Máirtín Ó Cadhain (1905-1970) from An Spidéal, Co na Gaillimhe. He was a prominent and active Republican in the 1930s and 1940s. He was interned in the Curragh Camp during WWII where he taught his rich Irish to many of his comrades. He later became Professor of Modern Irish in Trinity College, Dublin. He was always a campaigner, agitator and pamphleteer for the language.

 

When Máirtín Ó Cadhain died in 1970 the mantle of the greatest writer of Irish prose fell on the shoulders of Diarmaid Ó Súilleabháin (1932-1985), a native of Béara, Co Chorcaí, who was a teacher in Guaire, Co Loch Garman.

 

Diarmaid was also an active Republican and he served a term in Mountjoy jail in the 1970s. Another famous Republican writer, in Irish and English was Breandán Ó Beacháin (Brendan Behan) who served terms in jail in England and in Ireland in the 1940s.

 

'Dá gcaillfí an Ghaeilge do chaillfí Éire', wrote Pádraic Mac Piarais. 'If Irish died or was lost, Ireland herself would die also.' The case for an independent Ireland is based on the historic claim of the Irish nation. We have our own distinct identity and nationality as a people. The core of that identity is our own language, the most Irish thing we possess. We must promote and strengthen Irish. Otherwise, the English language will dominate our thinking and in time we shall become indistinguishable from the English people or the Americans, or become a mid-Atlantic mixture of both. The historic Irish nation with its own identity would be no more.

 

Beatha teanga a labhairt. For a language to live, people must speak it. It is not sufficient to speak about it. Republicans should make themselves proficient in Irish. It is not that difficult. Bilingualism is the norm for much of the human race, including many who can neither read nor write.

 

Modern research in Europe, Canada and elsewhere shows, (1) that children between the ages of three and eight can pick up two languages as easily as one, when placed in the right environment and given suitable encouragement; and (2) being bilingual from an early age helps develop mental agility, alertness and communication skills, as well as making it easier for the child to learn other languages later on.

 

When Irish people travel abroad they are often mistaken for English because they are speaking English among themselves. The Welsh do better than that, as we hear on the streets when they come to Dublin for rugby matches.

 

Organisations like the GAA, Conradh na Gaeilge, Glór na nGael, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, all help to maintain an Irish identity and should be supported. Republicans, true Republicans should give the lead – learn Irish, speak Irish, put Irish on the posters, leaflets, etc. It is all part of undoing the conquest and building a free nation for our children. We have a certain view of pseudo-Republicans. Let us not ourselves be hypocrites as far as Irish is concerned. Saor agus Gaelach!

 

 



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WHEN GENOCIDE BECAME "FAMINE" : IRELAND, 1845 - 1850

This petition seeks your support for a campaign to:

* Persuade relevant authors, editors and website content providers to stop using the word ‘Famine’ for what took place in Ireland between 1845 and 1850, and start using terms such as, "The Great Hunger" or 'An tOcras Mór

PETITION LINK- TO CHANGE THE WORD FAMINE http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850


September 29, 2010 at 12:31 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

 

by Dr. Sam Couch, Ph. D.


 

The Gaelic language was a casualty of the Famine plagues and of the migrations of Irish to England, Scotland and America. English was the language of success in these émigré homelands; Gaelic, the language of the homeland was a barrier. Irish trying to raise themselves from poverty or attempting to escape the famine and plague abandoned Gaelic, adopted English and anglicized their names. This happened in a number of ways. As an example the O or Mac which once preceded almost all Irish names was dropped. Names were translated with literal meanings so that Mac an Ghabhann, meaning son of the smith, was changed to MacGown, Gown, or more frequently simply anglicized to Smith. Gaelic spellings were smoothed and the nearest approximation to the Gaelic sound was used. O Liathain became Lehane (pronounced Lehaan).

 

Daniel O'Connell, the Great Liberator, had neither need nor wish to preserve Irish, although he was a native speaker. Swift, champion of the Irish, proposed the abolition of the language, in order to "civilise the most barbarous among them." Not since Tudor times did Gaelic culture have pre-eminence. During these times, a proud O'Neill chieftain proclaimed that it did not stand with his honor "to writhe his mouth in clattering English." By the time of the famine, the Irish language was in its death throes.

 

It was this death of the language that gave birth to a number of movements with Irishness at their core. Home rule was a near certainty by the end of the 19th century; but English had ousted Irish as the lingua franca of the island. Differing visions arose in the minds of the Irish and the Anglo-Irish. A new set of ideals for the New Ireland were fashioned during this time. The Anglo-Irish still saw Ireland as a place of romance where reality seldom invaded their dressing-box existences. Although estates were reduced during the century and the government gave in to demands of more militant Irish politicians, the patrician Anglo-Irish learned to live with reduced rents and incomes. They still found ways to keep servants, horses, to hunt and entertain, to send children to England for schooling. Irish were expected to play a subservient part in a very stereotypical sense, doffing caps to the lord, being picturesquely inebriated, late, muddle-headed, grooming horses, telling colorful tales, dancing jigs, and jovially doing work around the house and in the stables.


September 29, 2010 at 12:55 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

 

These "stage Anglo-Irish" were very conspicuous around the turn of the century. These were the people who succumbed to climate, drink and often ended up selling the estates to servant's heirs. Another group of Anglo-Irish, those engaged in the visual and literary arts began a more deliberate movement studying the ancient culture that they had for so long lived among and ignored. From the 1840s societies were established to resurrect old Gaelic lore, to study Celtic design, and to print texts and tales from ancient manuscripts. The discovery in 1850 of the Tara Brooch, an 8th-century ornament of silver gilt set with glass and amber and decorated with delicate filigree birds, snakes, other animals, scrolls and braid, let to commercial exploitation of Celtic themes. Silverwork and book illustration revived these detailed designs; these symbols later were added to furniture, buildings, carpets and wallpaper. At the same time, literary researchers discovered a body of myth that could not be compared to any other European mythic canon, save the Greek.

 

In 1880 Standish O'Grady completed publication of the History of Ireland: Heroic Period. Much of the scholarly work of the previous 40 years now was available to the public in a free retelling of ancient tales. These tales included the stories of Queen Maeve, Cuchulainn, Finn McCool, Dermot and Grania, the Red Branch knights and the Children of Lir. The stories had the desired effect of creating wonder, delight and pride in Celtic culture. O'Grady was a person of the Ascendancy whose father was a titled Protestant clergyman. His dreams for Ireland filled these tales. He saw Ireland through a mist of romantic courtliness. It was his intention to rouse the sense of responsibility of his class so they would take the lead in a Celtic renaissance that would unite the country. He met with limited success. Most of the Anglo-Irish found that daily life left little time for cultural pursuits, least of all a Celtic restoration. Their vision of the future was a continuation of the present, their own kind holding the reins of government without the violence and threats of violence which were part of their lives, and at least retaining the decreased estates the Land Acts had left them.

 

Among one small group, the spark of O'Grady's narration was fanned into flames and the great Anglo-Irish dream for the future of the country came into being. As a vision it turned out to be short-lived an ineffectual. But the literary revival of the 1890s and the associated ripples of literary distinction that floated out from Ireland during the first quarter of the present century were among the most extraordinary phenomena ever to have emanated from this puzzling and unpredictable country. It had nothing to do with Oscar Wilde, whose plays were filling London theatres, or with George Bernard Shaw, whose prolific output of wit and comedy kept audiences delighted for the next half century. The one was entertaining England in the tradition of Sheridan, with wit and epigram and very little to stir deep feelings; the other, Shaw, was entertaining but also preaching the gospel of Fabian socialism, as he would continue to do for half of the 20th century. The champions of the revival had less commercial success than these two, and much less interest in it. Their movement was more of a crusade. Almost all were Protestant and Anglo-Irish, although there were Catholics in their number. It does not seem to have worried them that those of less privileged, Catholic-Irish backgrounds might resent their appropriation of the native culture.

This series of articles is based on lectures given by Dr. Samuel Couch to Irish Studies courses at Georgia Southern University and Young Harris College between 1997 and 2004. Documented sources come from Couch's research and studies in American universities and with scholars in Ireland. The articles are in no way intended to be comprehensive.

 

Background materials come from, but are not limited to, readings in the following books:

 

Duffy, Sean, ed., Atlas of Irish History. Gill & Macmillan: Dublin. 1997.

Joyce, P.W., Outlines of the History of Ireland from the Earliest Times to 1905. M.H. Gill & Son: Dublin. 1909.

Killeen, Richard, A Short History of Ireland. Gill & Macmillan: Dublin. 1994.

Smyth, Daragh, A Guide to Irish Mythology. 2nd ed. Irish Academic Press: Dublin. 1996.

 

Any lack of attribution to primary sources is unintentional and the sole responsibility of Dr. Couch.

 

 


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WHEN GENOCIDE BECAME "FAMINE" : IRELAND, 1845 - 1850

This petition seeks your support for a campaign to:

* Persuade relevant authors, editors and website content providers to stop using the word ‘Famine’ for what took place in Ireland between 1845 and 1850, and start using terms such as, "The Great Hunger" or 'An tOcras Mór

PETITION LINK- TO CHANGE THE WORD FAMINE http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850


September 29, 2010 at 12:56 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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