The GAELIC REVIVAL (Irish : Athbheochan na Gaeilge) was the
late-nineteenth-century national revival of interest in the Irish
language (then known as Gaelic, which is more often applied to
Scottish Gaelic today) and Irish Gaelic culture (including folklore,
sports, music, arts, etc.). Irish had diminished as a spoken tongue,
remaining the main daily language only in isolated rural areas, with
English having become the dominant language in the majority of
Interest in Gaelic culture was evident in the middle of the
nineteenth century in the scholarly works of John O\'Donovan and
Eugene O\'Curry , and the foundation of the
Ossianic Society . Concern
for spoken Irish led to the formation of the Society for the
Preservation of the Irish Language in 1877, and the Gaelic Union in
1880. The latter produced the
Gaelic Journal . Irish sports were
fostered by the
Gaelic Athletics Association , founded in 1884.
The Gaelic League (Conradh na Gaeilge) was established in 1893 by
Eoin MacNeill and other enthusiasts of Gaelic language and culture.
Its first president was
Douglas Hyde . The objective of the League was
to encourage the use of Irish in everyday life in order to counter the
ongoing anglicisation of the country. It organised weekly gatherings
to discuss Irish culture, hosted conversation meetings, edited and
periodically published a newspaper named
An Claidheamh Soluis
An Claidheamh Soluis , and
successfully campaigned to have Irish included in the school
curriculum. The League grew quickly, having more than 400 branches
within four years of its foundation. It had fraught relationships with
other cultural movements of the time, such as the Pan-Celtic movement
Irish Literary Revival .
Important writers of the
Gaelic revival include
Peadar Ua Laoghaire ,
Patrick Pearse (Pádraig Mac Piarais) and
Pádraic Ó Conaire .
* 1 Early movements
* 2 Gaelic League
* 3 Writers
* 4 See also
* 5 References
* 6 External links
Early pioneers of Irish scholarship were John O\'Donovan , Eugene
O\'Curry and George Petrie ; O'Donovan and O'Curry found an outlet for
their work in the Archaeological Society, founded in 1840. From 1853,
translations of Irish literary works, particularly mythological works
of the Ossianic Cycle —associated with the
Fianna —were published
Ossianic Society , in which Standish Hayes O\'Grady was active.
Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language was formed in
1877 by, among others,
George Sigerson and Thomas O\'Neill Russell .
The secretary of that society, Father John Nolan, split with it in
1880 and formed the Gaelic Union, of which the president was The
O\'Conor Don , and whose members included
Douglas Hyde and Michael
Cusack . Cusack's interest in Gaelic culture was not restricted to
the language; he took a keen interest in the traditional games of
Ireland, and in 1884, with
Maurice Davin , he would found the Gaelic
Athletic Association to promote the games of
Gaelic football , hurling
and handball . In 1882 the Gaelic Union began publication of a
monthly journal, the
Gaelic Journal . Its first editor was David
Comyn; he was followed by John Fleming, a prominent Irish scholar,
and then Father Eugene O\'Growney .
In November 1892
Douglas Hyde gave a lecture to the National Literary
Society entitled "The Necessity for De-Anglicising Ireland." He said
that the Irish people had become almost completely anglicised , and
that this could only be reversed through building up the language.
Eoin MacNeill followed this up with an article in the Gaelic Journal,
"A Plea and a Plan for the Extension of the Movement to Preserve and
Spread the Gaelic language in Ireland", and set about forming an
organisation to help bring this about, together with Eugene O'Growney
and J. H. Lloyd (Seosamh Laoide). The Gaelic League (Conradh na
Gaeilge) was founded on 31 July 1893. Hyde was elected president,
MacNeill secretary, and Lloyd treasurer, and Thomas O'Neill Russell
was among those elected to the council.
The Gaelic League held weekly meetings that were a combination of
classes and conversation. Within months it had branches in Cork and
Galway. After four years it had 43 branches, and after ten years more
than 400. Although it was more concerned with fostering the language
in the home than with teaching it in schools, it was nonetheless
successful in having Irish added to the curriculum; the number of
schools teaching it rose from about a dozen in the 1880s to 1,300 in
1903. The League took over the
Gaelic Journal in 1894, when O'Growney
retired as editor, with MacNeill replacing him. In January 1898 it
began publication of a weekly newspaper,
Fáinne an Lae. In March of
the following year, following a dispute with the owner, this was
An Claidheamh Soluis
An Claidheamh Soluis , with MacNeill again as editor. In
1901 MacNeill was replaced as editor by Eoghan Ó Neachtain, who was
in turn replaced in 1903 by
Patrick Pearse . The League also
concerned itself with the folk music of Ireland , and was involved in
the movement which led to the organisation of the
Feis Ceoil (Festival
of Music) by Annie Patterson in 1897.
The League's relations with contemporary cultural movements were
strained, and sometimes hostile, despite the fact that some of the
League's leaders were on friendly terms with those movements.
Pan-Celticism was viewed with suspicion by many members because its
leaders in Ireland, especially Lord Castletown , were closely
associated with the Irish establishment. When
Douglas Hyde was
invited to the planned Pan-Celtic Congress of 1900—to be held in
Dublin—as a delegate of the League, the Coiste Gnótha (executive
committee) refused to send any representative, though Hyde might
attend as an individual if he wished. Hyde reluctantly declined to
Irish Literary Revival was denounced because its works
were written in English, not Irish, and therefore tended even more
Eoin MacNeill wrote, "Let them write for the
'English-speaking world' or the 'English-speaking race' if they will.
But let them not vex our ears by calling their writings Irish and
Patrick Pearse said of the
Irish Literary Theatre ,
recently founded by
W. B. Yeats and Lady Gregory, that it should be
"strangled at birth".
Peadar Ua Laoghaire (Fr. Peter O'Leary), a parish priest
Castlelyons in County Cork, began contributing to the Gaelic
Journal in 1894, and in November of that year he published the first
instalment of Séadna, which was to become his best-known work. It was
described by the journal as a "specimen of Munster Irish, one of the
best samples, if not the very best, of southern popular Gaelic that
has ever been printed." Séadna was the first major work of modern
literature in Irish . Ua Laoghaire serialised the Táin Bó Cúailnge
in the Cork Weekly Examiner in 1900–1901, and followed it up with a
series of modern renderings of ancient Irish tales such as Bricriu,
Eisirt, An Cleasaidhe and An Craos-Deamhan, all of which eschewed
scholarship in favour of colloquial, entertaining Irish. After
Séadna, his best-known work is his autobiography, Mo Scéal Féin.
All his works are written in what was called "caint na ndaoine" (the
language of the people).
Patrick Pearse (Pádraig Mac Piarais), the editor of An Claidheamh
Soluis—and later a revolutionary leader in the Easter Rising
—wrote poetry, short stories and plays. He is considered the first
modernist writer in Irish. Pearse rejected what he called the
imposition of "dead linguistic and literary forms on a living
language", but at the same time rejected the idea that only native
speakers like Ua Laoghaire could produce "Irish Irish". He produced
two books of short stories, Íosagán agus Scéalta Eile (1907) and An
Mháthair agus Scéalta Eile (1916). His collection of poems,
Suantraithe agus Goltraithe (1914) contains his most famous poem,
Mise Éire " ("I am Ireland").
Pádraic Ó Conaire was arguably the best writer of the period. He
wrote more than 400 short stories between 1901 and his death in 1928.
His stories were darker than those of his contemporaries. According to
his entry in the Dictionary of Irish Biography, they deal with
"isolation, conflict between good and evil, the tragedy of life,
hatred, blindness, despair, and madness." He wrote one novel,
Deoraíocht (Exile), described by
John T. Koch as a "strange and
brooding psychological novel , the first of the genre in Irish", about
Connemara man living in London. Ó Conaire's works were
controversial, addressing themes such as alcoholism and prostitution,
which Ua Laoghaire and others within the movement found objectionable.
Irish Literary Revival
Scottish Gaelic Renaissance
* ^ A B C Tierney, Michael (1980). Eoin MacNeill:Scholar and Man of
Action 1867–1945. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 16. ISBN 0 19 822440 0
* ^ A B Tierney (1980), p. 17
* ^ "Michael Cusack,
Maurice Davin and the Gaelic Athletic
Association" (PDF). The 1916 Rising: Personalities and Perspectives.
National Library of Ireland. 2006. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
* ^ Ryan, John (Dec 1945). "Eoin Mac Neill 1867–1945". Studies:
An Irish Quarterly Review. Irish Province of the Society of Jesus. 34
JSTOR 30100064 .
* ^ Duffy, Charles Gavan ; George Sigerson;
Douglas Hyde (1894).
The Revival of Irish Literature. London: T. F. Unwin . p. 117.
Retrieved 4 April 2013.
* ^ Tierney (1980), p. 20
* ^ Tierney (1980), pp. 21–2
* ^ Tierney (1980), p. 24
* ^ Tierney (1980), p. 26
* ^ A B Tierney (1980), p. 28
* ^ Tierney (1980), p. 42
* ^ Tierney (1980), p. 44
* ^ Tierney (1980), p. 48
* ^ Tierney (1980), p. 73
* ^ Tierney (1980), pp. 29–30
* ^ Edwards, Ruth Dudley (1977). Patrick Pearse: The Triumph of
Victor Gollancz Ltd
Victor Gollancz Ltd . pp. 31–2. ISBN 0 575 02153 5
* ^ Dunleavy, Janet Egleson; Gareth W. Dunleavy (1991). Douglas
Hyde: A Maker of Modern Ireland. Berkeley: University of California
Press . p. 204. ISBN 0 520 90932 1 . Retrieved 7 April 2013.
* ^ A B Tierney (1980), p. 66
* ^ Tierney (1980), p. 35
* ^ A B Murphy, John A. (2009). "Ó Laoghaire, Peadar". Dictionary
of Irish Biography.