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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2001 (January-June) » Irish for people North and South « Previous Next »

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liam o briain (202.143.71.45)
Posted on Tuesday, February 20, 2001 - 04:23 am:   Edit Post Print Post

When some Unionists were in prison during the Troubles they learned Irish from a teacher. Clearly while some Unionists are Irish speakers most of them associate the language with Republicanism. Just the other day Danny Kennedy a prominent Unionist called Irish a dead language but the worst insult of all was when Willy Smith called it a lepracaun language. After all it was Presbyterians who kept the language alive in the early 1900's and wrote poetry and books.Comments please?

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Aonghus (vpn.parthus.com - 62.221.5.1)
Posted on Tuesday, February 20, 2001 - 05:27 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Liam
The problem is that Irish in Northern Ireland (or the six counties) is a political instrument. It is used demonstratively by some republicans, and it is abused demonstratively by some Unionists.

These people see admitting Irish as a) the original language of the area and b) an ancient and cultured language as giving up their claim to superiority - which they are not prepared to do. They see themselves as the superior race who need to civilise the leprechauns.

And as far Presbyterians preserving the language - they were also the first Republicans! (Wolfe Tone, Henry Joy McCracken......)

So howls of rage at their comments is fine as far as they are concerned!

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Jonas (stud170.shh.fi - 128.214.106.170)
Posted on Tuesday, February 20, 2001 - 09:16 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I think it's impossible to draw a line between Catholic&pro-Gaeilge V.s Presbyterian&anti-Gaeilge. As you've both pointed out, many protestants have contributed both to republicansim and the language movement (Wolf Tone & Douglas Hyde). At the same time, some catholics have been less sympathetic to the Irish language. I would suppose that there is no connection between being catholic and being pro-Gaeilge.

(Just a short story from my own experiences:
The irish catholic family I usually stay with in Galway would want to see English as the language of Ireland. On the other hand, the upper-class english protestant family with whom I lived while an exchange student in England are very sympathetic to the Irish language (as well as to Welsh). They have often commented on how developed the Gaelic culture was before being destroyed be England. In fact, they are the ones who made me interested in Celtic languages)

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Aonghus (vpn.parthus.com - 62.221.5.1)
Posted on Tuesday, February 20, 2001 - 01:33 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

And I wasn't drawing the line on religious grounds. I was drawing the line at the political extremes - there are various shades of grey between!

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