Irish and 1916

The newspapers have had an important role in the commemoration of the 1916 Uprising. Some newspapers, including the ‘Journal’, ran special articles.

The newspapers have had an important role in the commemoration of the 1916 Uprising. Some newspapers, including the ‘Journal’, ran special articles.

Facsimiles of contemporary newspapers have been published. There were special editions of magazines. There were supplements in some of the newspapers. All these publications show that the Press still has a central role in people’s education.

‘The Irish Times’ published a supplement completely in Irish. The articles are informative and they raise fundamental questions about the Irish language and Irish life. I would like to mention a couple of articles.

Mícheál Ó Máirtín writes about the obstacles put in the way of Irish in the North - this was a complete disgrace – and he notes the progress that has been made despite this.

Alan Titley says that the development of a literature in Irish is one of the great achievements of the revival. In his essay he give a succinct account of the great writers of the last century. I agree with him that we have some very talented writers, but they are a minority and their reading public is very small.

The supplement has a number of articles about the Gaeltacht. Anna Ní Ghallachóir is optimistic: the arts and Gaeltacht culture have blossomed and economic conditions have improved. But she admits that English is having a marked influence. Áine Ní Chiaráin also looks at development in the Gaeltacht, but she gives a wake-up call: we need a comprehensive strategy. In a study published last year it was said that Irish had only ten years left as the language of the Gaeltacht. According to the 2011 Census, only 23,175 people in the Gaeltacht speak the language on a daily basis. A few years ago it was said that all the Gaeltacht speakers could be accommodated in Croke Park. If things continue the way they are, we will soon be able to accommodate them all in the Brandywell.