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Gaelic League

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Gaelic League

Conradh na Gaeilge (Irish pronunciation: [ˈkɔn̪ˠɾˠə nə ˈɡeːlʲɟə]; abbreviated CnaG and historically known by its English name, the Gaelic League) is a non-governmental organisation that promotes the Irish language in Ireland and elsewhere.

Origins

Conradh na Gaeilge was founded in Dublin on 31 July 1893 by Douglas Hyde (Irish: Dubhghlas de hÍde), the son of a Church of Ireland rector from Frenchpark, County Roscommon with the aid of Eugene O'Growney, Eoin MacNeill, Thomas O'Neill Russell and others. The organisation developed from Ulick Bourke's earlier Gaelic Union and became the leading institution promoting the Gaelic Revival, carrying on efforts like the publishing of the Gaelic Journal. The League's first newspaper was An Claidheamh Soluis (The Sword of Light) and its most noted editor was Patrick Pearse. The motto of the League was Sinn Féin, Sinn Féin amháin (Ourselves, Ourselves alone).[1]

In contrast with nationalist political organisations and literary associations the League accepted women on an equal basis from the start. They were not restricted to subordinate roles, but played an active part in leadership, although males were in the overwhelming majority. Local notables, such as Lady Gregory in Galway, Lady Esmonde in County Wexford, and Mary Spring Rice in County Limerick, founded and led branches in their communities. At the annual national convention in 1906 women were elected to seven of the forty-five positions on the Gaelic League executive. Executive members included Máire Ní Chinnéide, Úna Ní Fhaircheallaigh (who wrote pamphlets on behalf of the League), Bean an Doc Uí Choisdealbha, Máire Ní hAodáin, Máire de Buitléir, Nellie O'Brien, Eibhlín Ní Dhonnabháin and Eibhlín Nic Néill.[2][3]

Though apolitical, the organisation attracted many Irish nationalists of different persuasions, much like the Gaelic Athletic Association. It was through the League that many future political leaders and rebels first met, laying the foundation for groups such as the Irish Volunteers (1913). However, Conradh na Gaeilge did not commit itself entirely to the national movement until 1915, causing the resignation of Douglas Hyde, who felt that the culture of language should be above politics. Most of the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation were members. It still continued to attract many Irish Republicans. Sean MacStiofain, the first chief of staff of the Provisional IRA was a prominent member in his later life.

From 1922

After the foundation of the Irish Free State in 1922, the organisation had a less prominent role in public life as Irish was made a compulsory subject in state-funded schools. The organisation successfully campaigned for the enactment of the Official Languages Act, 2003 which gave greater statutory protection to Irish speakers and created the position of An Coimisinéir Teanga (The Languages Commissioner).

Conradh na Gaeilge was among the principal organisations responsible for co-ordinating the successful campaign to make Irish an official language of the European Union.[4]

Most recently, the organisation has become embroiled in a dispute with Irish political party Fine Gael over the party's policy to end the status of Irish as a compulsory subject for the Leaving Certificate. Conradh na Gaeilge have responded by asking voters in the next general election to vote only for candidates who are in favour of Irish's required position remaining.[5]

The organisation has branches in several parts of Ireland and is closely involved in the development of the Seachtain na Gaeilge promotional campaign. Conradh na Gaeilge has recently opened free legal advice centres (Ionaid Saor-Chomhairle Dlí) in Dublin and Galway in partnership with Free Legal Advice Centres.

A previous Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Éamon Ó Cuív, announced that he intended to move the organisation out of its headquarters in central Dublin and relocate it in the heart of the Ráth Cairn Gaeltacht in Meath. He cited as a reason that not many people are using the building. It remains to be seen if the present Minister will proceed with this plan.

The Gaelic League publishes a magazine called Feasta, founded in 1948. This magazine, while it promotes the aims of the League, also has an important role in promoting new writing in Irish.

See also

Foras na Gaeilge

References

External links

  • Conradh na Gaeilge official site (in Irish)
  • Government language promotion agency – Foras na Gaeilge
  • An Coimisinéir Teanga / Languages Commissioner
  • The Annual Music Festival – An tOireachtas
  • The Dancing Commission (An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha)
  • The Annual Week of Irish, in March of each year (Seachtain na Gaeilge_
  • , journal of the Gaelic League
  • Conradh na Gaeilge Shasana Nua (Gaelic League of New England)
  • Conradh na Gaeilge Craobh Bhaile Phitt (Gaelic League of Pittsburgh)

Branches in Ireland

  • Club Chonradh, BAC (Dublin)
  • Gaillimh (Galway)
  • Comharchumann Oileán Árainn Mhóir (Aran)
  • Muscraí (Co. Cork)
  • Beal Feirste (Belfast)

International Branches

  • Sasana Nua (New England)
  • Nua Eabhrac (New York)
  • Boston
  • New Jersey
  • Milwaukee
  • Detroit
  • Minnesota
  • The Gaelic League, Friendship Branch (Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas)
  • Thír na gCnoc, Austin, Texas
  • San Francisco
  • An Astráil (Australia)
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