The 1871 census came to the stark conclusion that ‘within relatively few years’ Irish would cease to exist. Yet, over a century later, Irish became the twenty-third officially recognized language of the European Union in 2007. To believe the census returns of recent years, Irish is in a state of rude health. But is this true when half a million people claim to speak Irish, but seldom actually speak it? In the traditional Gaeltacht areas, Irish is in peril – whilst it flourishes in Gaelscoileanna, in urban areas and in cyberspace. What do these dramatic shifts mean for the language’s future?
A New View of the Irish Language covers issues such as language and national identity; the impact of emigration and immigration; music, literature and the media; the importance of place-names; teaching and learning Irish; attitudes towards Irish; and the state of the Gaeltacht – and probes beyond the statistics and rhetoric to explore the true situation of Irish in the contemporary world. Contributors: Ruairí Ó hUiginn, Pádraig Ó Riagáin, Liam Mac Mathúna, Máirín Nic Eoin, Liam Ó Muirthile, Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, John Harris, Breandán Delap, Conchúr Ó Giollagáin & Seosamh Mac Donnacha, Caoilfhionn Nic Pháidín, Pádraig Ó Laighin, Lillis Ó Laoire, Anna Ní Ghallachair, Ciarán Mac Murchaidh, Brian Ó Conchubhair, Aidan Doyle, Aidan Punch, Suzanne Romaine, Dónall Mac Giolla Easpaig and Iarfhlaith Watson.