GAELTACHT NOVELISTS

Prose Writers from the Gaeltacht
Sna fir1

The Gaeltacht is a term used to describe the areas where Irish is the everyday language of the people. These areas, once expansive, are, by now, linguistic pockets in the western counties of Galway and Mayo, Kerry and Cork, and Donegal, while small Irish-speaking communities may also be found in counties Waterford and Meath.

Until the nineteenth century, Irish (Gaelic) was spoken by most of the population of Ireland. The population reached over eight million by the time of the great famine of the 1840s. After the mid-nineteenth century, however, English rapidly replaced Irish as the language of the people. Today, fewer than 100,000 people speak Irish every day, and perhaps as few as 35,000 use it consistently within their communities.

Despite this decline, the twentieth century saw valiant efforts to create a modern literature in the Gaelic language. Irish remains the first official language of the Republic of Ireland (Éire). Publishing of Irish-language books and magazines is generously subsidised. However, the fact that many native-speakers of the language were, and are, semi-literate, has remained a major obstacle to the development of a modern literature.

Transcript presents Joe Steve Ó Neachtain, Micheál Ó Conghaile Pádraig Ó Cíobháin, three writers who strive to woe a readership in this environment.










© University of Wales, Aberystwyth 2002-2009       home  |  e-mail us  |  back to top
site by CHL