“Ag Triall Siar Connachta” (Going Back to Connacht): The Survival of Irish-Gaelic in the Gaeltacht of County Galway, 1880-1920

Eileen Hogan Butler University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Vivian Deno Butler University
In the 1850s in post-famine Ireland, the Irish-Gaelic language was neglected in favor of English which equipped speakers to be members of the United Kingdom. But, the agrarian society of the County Galway Gaeltacht (designated Irish-speaking region) remained a stronghold of the Irish language despite British imperialists. Ag Triall Siar Connachta addresses the survival of the native language in the Galway Gaeltacht. While my work has identified several reasons for the survival in this one specific region, this presentation focuses upon interrelated explanations. First, the Catholic schools in the Gaeltacht continued to teach in Irish despite the attempts of the British-backed National School System to ban the language from schools. The evolution of the application for the establishment of a National School shows the discrimination that the Irish people faced in their hopes of receiving an education in their native language. Second, the Irish Literary Revival (1880-1920s) elevated Irish-Gaelic literacy while adding a new ingredient of cultural prestige which poor Irish-speakers of the Gaeltacht could not have given themselves with literature written in their native tongue. My research focuses on this interconnectedness to better understand contemporary cultural issues of incorporating Irish-Gaelic into everyday lives. After the Revolution, Irish literary scholar Peter Maguire said the Gaeltacht developed into the home of all things that are Gaelic and was an inspiration to the rest of the country for “Irishness” preserved in its truest form is.
Oral Presentation

When & Where

10:30 AM
Jordan Hall 301