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Affecting Irishness

Negotiating Cultural Identity Within and Beyond the Nation


Edited By James P. Byrne, Padraig Kirwan and Michael O'Sullivan

This collection of new essays addresses a key debate in Irish studies. While it is important that new research endeavours to accommodate the new and powerful manifestations of Irishness that are evident today in our globalised economy, these considerations are often overlooked. The writers in this book seek to reconcile the established critical perspectives of Irish studies with a forward-looking critical momentum that incorporates the realities of globalisation and economic migration.
The book initiates this vital discussion by bringing together a series of provocative and thoughtful essays, from both renowned and rising international scholars, on the vicissitudes of cultural identity in a post-modern, post-colonial and post-national Ireland. By including work by leading scholars in the fields of film studies, migration and Diaspora studies, travel literature and gender studies, this collection offers a thorough twenty-first-century interrogation of Irishness and provides a timely fusion of international perspectives on Irish cultural identity.


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‘Ma Right Insane Yirwanny Us Jimmy?’: Irishness in Modern Scottish Writing Niall O’Gallagher 89


‘Ma Right Insane Yirwanny Us Jimmy?’: Irishness in Modern Scottish Writing 1 Niall O’Gallagher Thaw lived in the middle storey of a corporation tenement that was red sandstone in front and brick behind. The tenement backs enclosed a grassy area divided into greens by spiked railings, and each green had a midden. Gangs of midden-rakers from Blackhill crossed the canal to steal from the middens. He was told that Black- hill people were Catholics with beasts in their hair. One day two men came to the back greens with a machine that squirted blue flames and clouds of sparks. They cut the spikes from the railings with the flame, put them in a bag and took them away to use in the war. Mrs Gilchrist downstairs said angrily, ‘Now even the youngest of these Blackhill kids will be able to rake our middens.’ — Gray 1994, 122 I am going to begin this essay on Irishness in modern Scottish writing with quotations from two Irish writers: Colm Tóibín and the more recently arrived Irvine Welsh, Scottish by birth, but now residing in Dublin. My first extract comes from Tóibín’s book, The Sign of the Cross: Travels in Catholic Europe, in which the author relates an experience he has in Glasgow: In one of my early encounters in Glasgow I asked an innocent question. There is a new movement in Scottish writing, full of social engagement and formal energy. I could list ten or twelve Scottish writers,...

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