‘Foundation stones do not grow into edifices’- the role of language in nation building

The following post is a bit lengthy, it is a version of another chapter of my UG dissertation. It deals with ideas of culture and nationalism. For those who are not familiar, the Gaelic League is a cultural nationalist body set up in the late 19th century with the aim of reviving the Irish language.  Even though the Gaelic League was a non-sectarian, non-political organisation many of the figures who joined would go on to play a part in the revolutionary period from 1916-1923.  Given that the initial aim of the league was the revival of the Irish language I found myself interested in how the project fared in independent Ireland, where the people who played a role in achieving a degree of independence were now in charge of language policy.  

Pre 1921, cultural nationalist groups including the Gaelic League found themselves frequently in a confrontational role with a state which was, at best, indifferent to their aims and at times openly hostile to them. In the face of such opposition the League contributed greatly to the success of the nationalist movement, and membership of the league was looked upon as a badge of honour for those who considered themselves to be patriotic Irish citizens.[1]

How did this kind of success transfer to a state which was now run by fellow countrymen who by and large had the same linguistic aspirations as League members? Was reviving the language merely a symbolic part of the nationalist movement or would it be a real priority in independent Ireland?

The Gaelic League’s reaction to the formation of the Free State

When the Irish Free State was founded many members of the Gaelic League, perhaps suffering from campaign fatigue believed that they had taken language revival as far as they could and it was now the job of the fledgling Irish Government to take it to next level.[2] As a result many members ceased their League activities, and a further number of those who remained were absorbed into the new political parties and into state bodies such as the Army, Police and Civil Service.[3]  They felt that the time could be right to pass on the torch as there were enough language enthusiasts on both sides of the Treaty split to ensure a ‘forward looking language policy in Dáil Eireann’.[4]

Long-standing members concluded that the League could no longer carry the weight of the process of de-Anglicisation by themselves, and that the new Government was in a better position to carry on this work with a lot more efficiency than a voluntary organisation.[5] In the pre-Treaty era the Dáil had a rational and systematic policy operating in collaboration with the League,[6] perhaps best illustrated in the Aireacht na Gaedhilge Report to the Dáil in August 1921, when Seán Ua Ceallaigh stated: ‘It is a great advantage and a great financial saving that the Gaelic League is cooperating actively in the work which is our main concern’.[7] This apparent harmony indicated a bright future between the Government and the League. The first governing party of the Free State, Cumann na nGaedheal resolved to make Irish language classes compulsory in schools.  This was reminiscent of the earlier Gaelic League campaigns, and it appeared that both the Government and the League were uniform in their goal.

As well as the continued promotion of Irish in schools, another central objective of Cumann na nGaedheal’s language policy was to halt the decline of the language in the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) regions. The hefty task of researching the problems faced by the people of the Gaeltacht regions was given over to a group headed by General Richard Mulcahy (Commander in Chief of the National Army), one time was a member of the Gaelic League. Mulcahy accepted his task with enthusiasm due to his lifelong commitment to Irish language and culture. [8] 

The Gaeltacht Commission Report – ‘To Uphold and foster the language’

Mulcahy’s research was ultimately published in the Gaeltacht Commission Report in 1926. The importance of the language in relation to nation building was evident from the opening remarks of the report: ‘We believe that the Irish people as a body recognise it to be a national duty…to uphold and foster the language’. While the symbolic importance of the Gaeltacht regions were very much apparent: ‘the Irish people rightly value as a national asset, their “Gaeltacht”.[9]  However,.the League would remark that the government’s public view of the Gaeltacht, was always viewed ‘with a great deal of false sentimentality’.[10] Investigations in the Gaeltacht areas took place between 7 August and 10 October 1925, with evidence recorded from scores of witnesses in public sittings of the Commission as well as written statements of evidence. It is indicative of the problems relating to the native language that much difficulty was experienced in recording testimony by the Commission when oral evidence in Irish was given![11]

The attitudes of some National Teachers to the teaching methods the Government wished to employ were highlighted at a sitting of the Commission in Dungarvan, Co Waterford. Here the methods of intense, compulsory Irish learning were merely dismissed as ‘a passing phase’. [12] Teaching methods were but one of the concerns put to the commission. Problems of economic decline and migration in Irish speaking areas were also highlighted, with claims that a number of people on the Aran Islands would be on the verge of starvation by Christmas of that year.[13]

Numerous conclusions were reached in relation to the problems faced by Gaeltacht communities, and suggestions made to rectify the situation were abundant. In Irish speaking districts the immediate objective was to make Irish, forthwith, the sole language of instruction and to provide higher education facilities on par with English-speaking districts. Having Irish replace English in general official intercourse and correspondence by officials of the State and Local Authorities was also suggested, and it was hoped that there would be a greater cooperation between the Clergy, the professions, the press and business directors in helping promote the language. If such measures were initiated, it was thought, there would be definite hope of bringing about, at the earliest possible moment, the permanent improvement of economic conditions of these areas.[14]

The final report was published on August 23 1926 and the findings were enthusiastically welcomed by the Gaelic League and the Councils in the Gaeltacht regions. During a debate on the Commission’s findings almost two years later the Speaker of the House stated that the report bore every sign of ‘having been carefully and sympathetically considered, with an understanding both of the social, economic and national problem’ the Gaeltacht was facing. However, almost two years from its publication only fourteen of the eighty two recommendations had been adopted by the Government.[15]

Perhaps understandably, patience among branches of the Gaelic League across the country had been wearing thin in the intervening months while awaiting the implementation of the report’s recommendations. A resolution was passed by the Gaelic League in Cork in December 1926, only several months after the findings were published demanding that the recommendations of the Gaeltacht Commission be brought into immediate operation. [16] Similar resolutions were passed in Skibbereen and Tralee. [17][18] The Limerick branch also called for the findings to be put ‘into force without delay’, [19] while League members in Mullingar felt if the Gaeltacht recommendations were acted upon promptly and thoroughly, they would save the Gaeltacht ‘even now’[20]

Despite the fact that Ernest Blythe, an avid Irish language enthusiast, presided over the Ministry of Finance, it has been suggested that his department panicked at the Commissions proposals.[21] Among the proposals which the Department of Finance baulked at was free secondary school education for Gaeltacht inhabitants. This was not available anywhere in Ireland until the 1960s and historian Joe Lee argues the real reason for alarm among the department was that if free secondary school education was given to Gaeltacht inhabitants it would be difficult to confine these policies to these areas. [22]

The perceived shirking from the Commission’s report by Cumann na nGaedheal raised serious questions about their commitment to language revival. The perceived sabotaging of the report contributed to a decline in Government popularity by the 1927 general election, and reinforced anti-Treaty republican party Fianna Fáil’s claim that pro-Treaty Cumann na nGaedheal had turned its back on Irish-Ireland. [23]

‘Moulding Irish opinion I the right way’ – The League and politics

By this time many of rank-and-file League members had all but run out of patience with Cumann na nGaedheal, with the decimation of the Gaeltacht Commission Report being one of the final straws. In this respect their disillusionment mirrored the view that the pro-Treatyites of Cuman na nGaedheal had not done enough to advance nationalist objectives since 1922, with a turn towards Fianna Fáil and increasingly attractive alternative.

It needs to be stressed that incidents of disharmony between the League and the Government were not always confined to disagreements over language policy. The League took ‘grave exception’ to the Oath of Allegiance, (Section 71) of the Local Government Act. [24] This section of the act demanded employees of the state (including teachers) ‘bear allegiance to the Irish Free State and its constitution’ – which included an indirect reference to the British monarchy, and had been one of the principle factors in sparking the civil war of 1922-23. [25] The League was viewed some with suspicion by Free State authorities over its stance in relation to the act which indicated some anti-Treaty sentiment within the organisation.

At a meeting of the Central Council in April 1929 a pact with Fianna Fail was proposed which would give that party the support of the Gaelic League at the next General Election on condition the party gave a satisfactory guarantee that they would make the Gaeltacht question a national question. No doubt this was a radical proposal by an organisation which was founded on a non-political platform.  Nevertheless, this was successfully opposed by those present, including two Fianna Fail deputies.[26] It was, however a clear indication many of the League’s members did not approve of Cumann na nGaedheal’s approach to revival.

Closer police attention was now being directed at certain members of the League. In November 1929 Gardai raided an Irish class in progress at Ballyellis Co. Wexford. It was claimed this raid caused serious disruption to Irish classes in the area for weeks afterwards. [27] Disruption to language classes also took place in Elphin, Co. Roscommon, where a local school teacher claimed to have not taught for several years because he refused to take this oath. [28] And in Co. Galway it was claimed seventeen centres of Gaelic teaching had been discontinued owing to this matter. [29] At a county Feis in Co Cavan, President of the Gaelic League Cormac Breathnach made the bold claim the Oath was an attempt to resurrect the Statute of Kilkenny – (a medieval ordinance which had banned the use of Irish in English-controlled areas of Ireland). [30]

While it was clear there was friction between the Gaelic League and Cumann na nGaedheal regarding the language, League members had little choice other than to support the Government’s language promotion in schools. Nevertheless, a significant shift in educational policy regarding language came with the first Fianna Fáil government in 1932. Thomas Derrig, a trained teacher and language enthusiast, was the new Minister for Education, and he made clear the government’s impatience with the language revival’s lack of success under Cumann na nGaedheal. [31] He was also quick to get on side with the Gaelic League by praising them for the ‘magnificent work’ they were doing in moulding Irish opinion ‘in the right way’. [32]

Gaelic League activist Douglas Hyde is inaugurated as President of Ireland in 1938.

If the final years of the Cosgrave administration had witnessed deterioration in the relationship between Government and the League, the Fianna Fáil years were also, at times, less than harmonious. For example, at a major meeting of the League in Dublin on December 18, 1934 the assembled members were told that the organisation’s members were ‘getting uneasy’ about Fianna Fáil’s position in relation to language revival and the Gaeltacht, believing that the government was not acting quickly enough to stop the language decline. [33]

Relations between the League and Fianna Fáil also came under some strain over the Board of Work’s demand that the Gaelic League vacate their historic Dublin headquarters, 25 Parnell Square. A meeting of the Central Council on September 10, 1932 a resolution was unanimously passed ‘refusing point blank’ to surrender the premises. A letter bitterly criticising the Government was delivered to Mr. Hugo Flinn, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance. It pointed out that more had been expected from the Government and its attitude now seemed to be, ‘I am in power now and you can go be hanged’. [34]

At a League meeting in Spiddal Co. Galway in April 1933, attended by ‘every county in Ireland’, the League President assured the assembled delegates they were not willing to leave their premises until they were ejected. They felt the Parnell Square premises were interwoven in Irish history; and it was here those who faced the British firing squads in 1916 received their education. [35]

The issue of the continued detention of republican prisoners (who had been Gaelic League members) also continued to cause considerable problems. An annual Gaelic League celebration in the Mansion House in January 1935 witnessed some League members interrupt the National Anthem shouting ‘release the prisoners’ and jeered de Valera when it had finished.[36] Incidents such as these indicate a more complex relationship which went deeper than language revival.

Throughout this decade the League continued to be critical of the political elites. It was argued that League members should not vote for non-Irish speaking parliamentary candidates. This was not, however aimed at any particular party as they were ‘as bad as each other’ when it came to language matters. [37] Politicians were also lambasted for using little Irish in Dáil debates (approximately 45 minutes daily was allotted to debate in Irish) [38] It was further claimed not one in ten of the Deputies in the last Dáil were even able to speak Irish despite ‘the flood of election oratory’. [39]

Education and Civil Service –‘ Foundation stones do not grow into edifices’

There were some successes in the revival of the language in the schools in the 1930s. The number of all-Irish speaking primary schools had increased from 228 in 1931 to 704 by the end of the decade. [40] Nevertheless, this was far from sufficient if the language was to be fully revived, as a League pamphlet indicated: ‘the work of the schools is the foundation stone to the revival. Foundation stones, be they ever so sound, well cut and polished, remain foundation stones and do not grow into edifices’. [41]

Outside of schools the ‘Gaelicisation’ of the new state was also a preoccupation of some in government. Fianna Fáil’s stated aim was for the Irish language to become the language of state employees conducting the day to day business of the state and the introduction of the language to the Civil Service, Army, Police force and the Law Courts helped to boost the number of adult learners in the country. [42]

Some members of the League itself felt that the Gárda were doing ‘good work’ in ‘popularising the use of the native tongue’ in the Gaeltacht. [43] However, this praise may have been somewhat misplaced. Garda Commissioner Eoin O’Duffy’s attempts, for instance, to create an Irish speaking police force were ultimately futile. O’Duffy set aside 500 police positions for those who spoke Irish, but was met with ‘practically no response’. [44] Clearly this voluntary approach did not work. O’Duffy in the later 1920s realised that his men were making poor progress in Irish despite this initial goodwill and adopted a more interventionist approach giving his men an ultimatum to become competent in the language by 31 December 1928 or face dismissal. [45] However, nothing actually came of this threat and the twenty percent of the force which were Irish speaking had not increased by 1946. [46]

The position of privilege the Civil Service had in the State proved to be more problematic for the Gaelic League. They felt independence had failed to get rid of old ways of governing and old prejudices towards native practices. They argued that the old English Civil Service had drained Ireland of its native language and when the new one was established hundreds of officials from the previous regime were retained. [47] 

Another League pamphlet lamented the most telling way in which the English language was imposed upon Irish people before independence: the dealing of essential matters by those who were incompetent in Irish or sufficiently anti-Irish to deal with Irish speakers effectively. However, under native Government the same position still existed: ‘English-speaking managers over Irish speaking workers’ was the cry. [48]

This was another instance of the League and the Government singing from a different hymn sheet. While Fianna Fáil’s Education Minister, Derrig believed no other group had in the past done as much as the Civil Servants had to save the language[49] , the League was critical of the culture of the Civil Service on the grounds that once entry had been achieved, it was hard to dislodge what they viewed as unsatisfactory non Irish-speaking candidates. It was claimed that although knowledge of Irish was absolutely essential for entry to the Civil Service, only English is necessary to enable them to remain in it. [50] It can be argued that this claim is vindicated by the statistic that by the 1960s only 14 per cent of the country’s civil servants had achieved fluency in the language.[51]

The mass media and the Irish language

Douglas Hyde opens the new radio station 2 RN. Some Gaelic Leaguers accused it of being an ‘anglicising influence’.

Two significant areas of language development were initiated and maintained by the Governments of the late 1920s and 30s.  They were the mass production of Irish-language material in print and the new medium of radio broadcasting. The Gaelic League, with its limited resources would have found it almost impossible in achieving any success in these areas. The first State radio station was named 2RN (To Erin) and began broadcasting on 1 January 1926 with former Gaelic League president Douglas Hyde giving a short opening speech, in which he alluded to the role radio was to play in the promotion of the Irish language. [52]

2RN came under the department of Posts and Telegraphs, which J.J. Walsh was Minister in charge; he would later recall ‘wherever and whenever Irish language, history and general national characteristics could have been featured, there was no hesitation in doing so’. [53] Still, by the 1930s the national radio station had only managed to devote just over four percent of its airtime to Irish-language programmes. [54] As a result, Gaelic League accusations of English language bias were aired and some believed that the state Radio was one of the greatest ‘Anglicising influences’ in Ireland. It was also claimed people were paid more to make programmes in English than in Irish. [55] 

The stations Jazz music programmes were also condemned by the League as having ‘a smack of Moscow about it’. [56] At a League Congress meeting in 1933 several resolutions attempted to deal with concerns about 2RN. More Irish programming and more attention to the broadcasting of news of Gaelic affairs were called for; there were also calls for Children’s Hour to be broadcast entirely in Irish, and for the provision of loudspeakers in each school to give the children an opportunity of listening to native Irish speakers broadcasting. [57]

Printed resources are of course vital to the success of any spoken language. Ernest Blythe had once stated ‘it would be impossible to revive Irish without plenty of reading material’. [58] Again, it was obvious the Gaelic League wasn’t in a sound enough financial position during this period to produce the amount of literature which was needed. In 1926 the State took control of Irish language publications with An Gúm which was established within the Department of Education. Beginning with the production of suitable secondary school material it then expanded to cover general literature in Irish. With this expansion An Gúm built on Gaelic League precedents of publications for the general public’s consumption. [59]

Back in 1893 Douglas Hyde noted that there were only six Irish language books in print. In contrast, An Gúm had produced 234 books, totaling 180,000 copies in its first eight years. [60] Despite the growth of Irish language material, some of the content came in for criticism by certain League members. It was claimed An Gúm had focused too much on translation and not enough on original works and in the matter of children’s books only five original works had been produced compared with forty one translations. It was further claimed that An Gúm had produced a number of books which ‘nobody would want to read in any language’. [61]

Financial difficulties, new groupings

The League found itself in an increasingly unfavourable financial position during the early years of the new state. This forced it to accept a reduced role in promoting language as indicated above it was in no position financially to spearhead the revival on its own. The annual collection had dropped continuously from 1922 when £8,000 was collected to £1,000 in 1925[62]  Therefore, it was clear that the organisation would be reliant on the Government funding the language revival. The financial slide would continue, and by mid-1929 the League Executive was in arrears of £3,000. [63] The 1930s brought further financial woe to the organisation. In 1933 a special Ard Fheis was held to consider ways to tackle the organisation’s debt. [64]

President of the League P.T. Mac Fhionnlaoich stated while the Irish language had made considerable progress, due to its financial difficulties the League itself had not, and as a result the Executive Committee was finding it difficult to carry out its day to day work. [65] While this financial difficulty can be explained in the context of the world-wide depression of the time it has also been put down to a certain amount of campaign weariness by League veterans. In the years prior to independence there was a lot more enthusiasm with regard to fundraising, this is evident in the fundraising trips to the USA. On two separate American fundraising trips the league raised approximately $55,000 (1905-06) and $14,000 (1911).[66]

When this is compared to the financial state of the organisation towards the end of the 1930s it can be argued that there was a decline in enthusiasm for what was once viewed as a patriotic duty, resulting in a significant dent in fundraising capabilities. There had also been reports of some branches not paying their affiliation fees. The financial problems are perhaps best illustrated by the fact that at least one county branch of the League (Kerry) were forced to petition the Government to finance a re-organisation scheme for the county, to the tune of £6,000. [67] Leading Gaelic Leaguer Daniel Corkery expressed concern for the decline of the organisation at this time, arguing that it should be ‘given into the hands of young men’. [68]

From the late 1920s the League also faced the emergence of other Gaelic groups who had become disillusioned with the pace of language revival. The Gaeltacht Defence League was formed in the wake of Cumann na nGaedheal’s failure to implement the Gaeltacht proposals, they claimed to be charged with ‘pushing this question of saving the Gaeltacht’. [69] In 1933 another group ‘Gaedheal’ launched with almost identical aims. [70] With several different groups pushing the Gaelic agenda and a Government seemingly dedicated to Irish revival in power, a meeting was held at the League’s headquarters to decide if there was any further need for the existence of the League.[71] A large majority decided that there was. Nevertheless this indicates the feeling of some that the League had lost its way both ideologically and financially.

Apathy versus idealism – the shortcomings of the language revival

The Gaelic League were highly critical of much Government language policy over the 1920s and 1930s, however much of this criticism was misplaced as both Government’s placed high emphasis on the revival of the national language. After independence the language was given high priority, at first partly through political necessity to placate anti-Treaty opponents, but also because some Government members were preoccupied with ‘a romantic idealization of Ireland’s Gaelic past with the language as its lynchpin’. [72]

However the biggest obstacle to the restoration of the language was arguably people’s apathy. Mulcahy argued that Irish could only be revived by stimulating an esteem and love for the language and public policies in relation to this only served to ‘copper fasten the widespread indifference to the language’. [73] This indifference was not restricted to pupils, the Gaeltacht Commission heard evidence that teachers in areas around Macroom, Co Cork ‘were very apathetic about Irish’. [74] It is certain this apathy was much more widespread. Even in the Gaeltacht areas there was indifference to the language from native speakers who saw learning English as a route to prosperity. In some instances parents even requested that their children be taught in English.

Despite these sentiments the government pushed ahead with these educational reforms as they believed that the government’s role was the construction of an Irish nationality and the language was a central part of that. [75] Corkery had lamented the loss of homogeneity within the league with the formation of the Free State, and it can be argued this loss can be seen with the financial problems which beset the organisation in this period. The non-payment of affiliation fees by some of the leagues branches would indicate a lack of common direction, it would also suggest that some branches may have experienced campaign fatigue and given up active agitation for language improvement.

As the realities of independence unfolded, the Gaelic League lost many members who took a step back, believing that the same political establishment would now take the language movement onto the next level. In a sense, the League lost part of its rationale with independence. However, links between the Government and the League were retained in prominent figures such as Eoin MacNeill, Ernest Blythe and Mulcahy and of course de Valera. However, there were members of the Gaelic League who distanced themselves from politicians of all shades because of the belief that their vision of ‘Irish-Ireland’ was not safe in the hands of those who they saw had sold out the idea of the ‘Ireland: Gaelic and free’, which they had longed for.

What was perhaps not predicted by the Gaelic League was the level of apathy towards the language by those who were now expected to learn it in schools and in their jobs, and by those who were expected to retain it (the Gaeltacht population) in the Free State. This would have a discouraging effect upon members of the Gaelic League.
The apparent failure of the language to flourish as the Gaelic League would have hoped in the new state can perhaps be explained by the attraction of voluntarism over compulsion. To be involved in a voluntary organisation which had mass appeal was a much more alluring prospect for the average League member than the long term commitment of learning a language.

From the point of view of a cultural organisation it is certain that the Gaelic League lost momentum in the new State. Membership of the organisation was not the mark of prestige it once was and many of those who remained within the organisation were viewed the ‘refuge of dissidents’ by some politicians. [76] Connections between League members did continue, albeit on a more ceremonial level with political representatives sharing the same platforms as Gaelic League, and indeed G.A.A. members at public political commemorations and at sporting finals. But ultimately, the dream of an Irish-speaking, Gaelic Ireland would never become a reality.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

SECONDARY SOURCES
Books
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Crowley, Tony, Wars of Words: The Politics of Language in Ireland 1537-2004 (Oxford, 2005)
Cumann Luthchleas Gael: A Century of Service (Dublin, 1984)
Dunleavy, Janet & Dunleavy, Gareth, Douglas Hyde: A Maker of Modern Ireland, (California, 1991)
English, Richard, Irish Freedom: The History of Nationalism in Ireland (London, 2006)
Foster, Roy. F., Modern Ireland 1600-1972 (London, 1988)
Garvin, Tom, Nationalist Revolutionaries in Ireland (Oxford, 1987)
Hill, J.R., A New History of Ireland VII 1921-1984 (Oxford, 2010)
Hutchinson, John, The Dynamics of Cultural Nationalism: The Gaelic Revival and the Creation of the Irish Nation State (London, 1987)
Keogh, Dermot, Twentieth Century Ireland, (Dublin, 2005)
Lee, Joseph, J., Ireland 1912-1985 Politics and Society (Cambridge, 1993)
Lyons, Francis Stewart, Ireland Since The Famine (Glasgow, 1973)
MacDonagh, Oliver, et al, Irish Culture and Nationalism, 1750-1950 (Dublin, 1983)
MacDonagh, Oliver, States of Mind: A Study of Anglo-Irish Conflict 1780-1980 (London, 1980)
Maume, Patrick, Life that is Exile: Daniel Corkery and the Search for Irish Ireland (Belfast, 1993)
McGarry, Fearghal, Eoin O’ Duffy A Self Made Hero, (Oxford, 2005)
McMahon, Timothy, Grand Opportunity: The Gaelic Revival and Irish Society 1893-1910 (New York, 2008)
Meehan, Ciara, The Cosgrave Party: A History of Cumann na nGaedheal 1923-33 (Dublin, 2010)
Mulcahy, Ristéard , My Father, The General (Dublin, 2009)
Ó Buachalla, Seamus, Education Policy in Twentieth Century Ireland (Dublin, 1988)
O’Ceallaigh, Seamus, Gaelic Athletic Memories (Dublin, 1945)
Ó Cuív, Brian, A View of the Irish Language (Dublin, 1969)
Ó Fearail, Padraig , The Story of Conradh na Gaeilge, (Dublin, 1975)
Ó Tuama, Seán, The Gaelic League Idea (Dublin, 1972)
Regan, John, M., The Irish Counter-Revolution 1921-1936 (Dublin, 1999)
Walsh, Dick, The Party: Inside Fianna Fáil (Dublin, 1986)
Williams, Desmond, The Irish Struggle 1916-1926 (London, 1966)
Wheatley, Michael, Nationalism and the Irish Party: Provincial Ireland 1910-1916 (Oxford, 2005)
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Ó Buachalla, Seamus, ‘Educational Policy and the Role of the Irish Language from 1831-1981’ inEuropean Journal of Education, Vol.19, No.1, Multicultural Education (1984), pp. 75-92
O Murchadha, Hilairi, ‘The Growth and Decline of the Gaelic League in County Wexford 1900-1950’ in The Past: The Organ of the Ui Cinsealaigh Historical Society, No. 26 (2005), pp.5-34
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Anglo Celt 1846 Connacht Tribune 1909 Irish Independent 1905 Irish Press 1931-1995 Leitrim Observer 1904-2007 Limerick Leader 1905-1948 Meath Chronicle 1897 Munster Express 1908Nenagh Guardian 1838 Southern Star 1892 Sunday Independent 1906
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[1] T. Crowley, Wars of Words: The Politics of Language in Ireland 1537-2004 (Oxford, 2008), p.144
[2] T. Ó hAilin in B. Ó Cuív ed., A View of the Irish Language (Dublin, 1969), p. 99.
[3] D. Corkery, What’s this About the Gaelic League? (Dublin, 1942), p. 4.
[4] B. Ó Cuív, in D. Williams, The Irish Struggle 1916-1926 (London, 1966), p. 163.
[5] Ibid. p. 6
[6] S. Ó Buachalla, Education Policy in Twentieth Century Ireland (Dublin, 1988), p. 59.
[7] Dáil Eireann-17/Aug/1921 Aireacht na Gaedhilge Debate, p. 7.http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/1921/08/17/0015.asp 
[8] R. Mulcahy, My Father, The General (Dublin, 2009), p. 185.
[9] Coimisiun na Gaeltachta Report (Dublin, 1926), p. 3.
[10] The Gaelic League Keating Branch, You May Revive The Gaelic Language (Dublin, 1940), p. 31.
[11] Coimisiun na Gaeltachta, p. 5.
[12] Irish Independent, 10 Oct. 1925. p. 8.
[13] Irish Independent, 21 Aug. 1925. p. 5.
[14] Coimisiun na Gaeltachta, p. 58.
[15] Dáil Eireann- 02/May/1928 Gaeltacht Commission Report p. 2. http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/1928/05/02/0030.asp

[16] Irish Independent, 22 Dec. 1926. p. 9.
[17] Meath Chronicle, 1 Jan. 1927. p. 5.
[18] Irish Independent, 10 Dec. 1927. p. 5.
[19] Limerick Leader, 22 Jan. 1927. p. 2.
[20] Irish Independent, 10 Dec. 1926. p. 5.
[21] C. Meehan, The Cosgrave Party: A History of Cumann na nGaedheal 1923-33 (Dublin, 2010), p. 75.
[22] J. Lee, Ireland 1912-1985 Politics and Society (Cambridge, 1993), p. 135.
[23] C. Meehan, The Cosgrave Party (Dublin, 2010), p. 73.
[24] H. O Murchadha, ‘The Growth and Decline of the Gaelic League in County Wexford 1900-1950’ in The Past: The Organ of the Ui Cinsealaigh Historical Society, No. 26 (2005), pp.5-34, p. 19. (http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/25520101 )
[25] Local Government Act 1925 http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1925/en/act/pub/0005/sec0071.html#sec71 
[26] Irish Independent, 3 Apr. 1929. p. 4.
[27] Ibid. p. 19.
[28] Irish Press, 24 Dec. 1934. p. 8.
[29] Irish Independent, 28 Jun. 1926, p. 9.
[30] Anglo-Celt, 17 Jul. 1926. p. 2.
[31] D. Keogh, Twentieth Century Ireland, (Dublin, 2005), p. 172.
[32] Leitrim Observer, 11 Jun. 1932. p. 2.
[33] Irish Independent, 19 Dec. 1934. p. 9.
[34] Sunday Independent, 11Sep. 1932. p. 1.
[35] Connacht Tribune, 22 April. 1933. p. 22.
[36] Irish Independent, 14 Jan. 1935. p. 7.
[37] Sunday Independent, 6 Sept. 1936. p. 9.
[38] Irish Independent, 15 Nov. 1934. p. 5.
[39] Irish Press, 21 Jun. 1937. p. 6.
[40] Keogh, Twentieth Century Ireland, p. 93.
[41] Gaelic League, Revive The Gaelic Language, p. 26.
[42] Ó Cuív, The Irish Strugglep. 165.
[43] Irish Independent, 7 Aug. 1936. p. 14.
[44] F. McGarry, Eoin O’ Duffy A Self Made Hero, (Oxford, 2005), p. 144.
[45] R.V. Comerford, Ireland(London, 2003), p. 146.
[46] Ibid, p. 46.
[47] Corkery, The Gaelic League, p. 16.
[48] Gaelic League, This Irish Racket (Dublin, 1944) p. 11.
[49] Irish Press, 17 Nov. 1934. p. 7.
[50] Gaelic League, Revive The Gaelic Language, p. 18.
[51] F.S. Lyons, Ireland Since The Famine (Glasgow, 1973), p. 637.
[52] I. Watson, ‘Irish-language broadcasting: history, ideology and identity’ in Media, Culture & Society, Sage Publications, Vol.24: (2002) pp 739-757. ( http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/591726 )
[53] S. O’Ceallaigh, Gaelic Athletic Memories (Dublin, 1945), p. 30.
[54] I. Watson, ‘Irish-language broadcasting’, pp 739-757.
[55] Irish Press, 9 Nov. 1939. p. 8 (It was claimed a programme maker was paid ‘£3 3s’ to make a broadcast in English, and ‘£2 2s’ to make the same programme in Irish).
[56] Southern Star, 20 Jan. 1934. p. 5.
[57] Irish Press, 11 Apr. 1933. p. 10.
[58] Irish Press, 1 Oct. 1937. p. 9.
[59] N Buttimer in J.R. Hill, A New History of Ireland VII 1921-1984 (Oxford, 2010), pp 557-558.
[60] Irish Press, 17 Nov. 1934. p. 7.
[61] Irish Press, 1 Oct. 1937. p. 9.
[62] Irish Independent, 22 Jan. 1926. p.5 (P. Ó Fearail, The Story of Conradh na Gaeilge, p.46 estimates Gaelic League funds increased modestly over the period from 1924-1927 from £1,838 to £2,066)
[63] Anglo Celt, 20 Apr. 1929. p. 7.
[64] P. Ó Fearail, The Story of Conradh na Gaeilge, (Dublin, 1975), p. 47.
[65] Irish Press, 6 Nov. 1933. p. 7.
[66] J. Dunleavy & G. Dunleavy, Douglas Hyde: A Maker of Modern Ireland, (California, 1991), pp 315-317.
[67] Irish Independent, 1 May. 1939. p. 6.
[68] P. Maume, Life that is Exile: Daniel Corkery and the Search for Irish Ireland (Belfast, 1993), p. 126.
[69] Irish Independent, 2 Dec. 1929. p. 10.
[70] Irish Press, 13 Nov. 1933. p. 2.
[71] Irish Independent, 18 Dec. 1934. p. 7.
[72] Akenson, A Mirror To Kathleen’s Face p. 36.
[73] Mulcahy, My Father, The General p. 186.
[74] Irish Independent, October 7, 1925, p. 8.
[75] Crowley, Wars of Words p. 171.
[76] Fr. Michael, The Golden Jubilee of the Gaelic League 1893-1943 in The Capuchin Annual 1943 (Dublin, 1943), p. 475.

One thought on “‘Foundation stones do not grow into edifices’- the role of language in nation building

  1. Pingback: this day in the yesteryear: Douglas Hyde Elected First President of Ireland (1938) | euzicasa

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