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Ireland: Looking East

Christophe Gillissen

If Ireland’s relations with the Western world have been the object of numerous scientific publications, its links with the East have been neglected by research. The aim of this book is to redress that imbalance by proposing studies of various aspects of Ireland’s interactions with the East.
It is a multidisciplinary publication, dealing with some of the historical, political, religious, cultural, demographic and sociological connections between Ireland – both North and South – and the East.
The chapters, which offer novel perspectives for the field of Irish studies, are organised in a chronological sequence, from the mid-19 th century to the present. They focus on three main areas: the links between Ireland and the Asian continent, notably India, China and Turkey; its interactions with the Jewish people and the state of Israel; and its relations with Eastern European countries, in particular Poland and Lithuania.

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Letters from Ankara. Scriptal Change in Turkey and Ireland in 1928 51

Extract

51 Letters from Ankara Scriptal Change in Turkey and Ireland in 1928 Mathew STAUNTON and Olivier DECOTTIGNIES Université de Paris 3 – Sorbonne Nouvelle We must not give anyone reason to doubt that we stand for national progress, or reason to suspect that we are out of sympathy with anything that is good in the spirit of the age, or even that we are unnecessarily hostile to things which, if not positively admirable, are harmless and characteristic of modern trends. Our object is not to turn back the hands of the clock or to restore social customs, institutions or preferences which have been generally abandoned by other nations and which properly belong to the past. […] We do not want to make our people fundamentally different from other present- day Europeans, but only to make them as Irish as the people of France are French; the people of Italy Italian; the people of Denmark Danish; or the people of Sweden Swedish.1 Ernest Blythe’s 1949 presidential address to the Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge2 was a passionate appeal for Irish speakers to embrace modernity. Convinced that “pedantic cranks”, “irrational sticklers for the archaic”, and “archaicising faddists”3 were hindering the Irish language movement and even embarrassing the Irish nation, he argued that the Irish people could enjoy their linguistic heritage without isolating themselves from their European neighbours. The countries he mentions in the above extract have served as models at different periods of the 20th century for Irish governments keen to...

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