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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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The Leid, the Pratoe and the Buik: Northern Cultural Markers in the Works of James Orr Carol Baraniuk 103


The Leid, the Pratoe and the Buik:1 Northern Cultural Markers in the Works of James Orr Carol Baraniuk Erin! My country! preciously adorned With every beauty, and with every worth, Thy grievances through time shall not be scorned, For powerful friends to plead thy cause step forth; But more unblest, oppression, want, and dearth, Did during life, distressfully attend The poor neglected native of thy North, Whose fall I sing. — Orr, Collected Works, 260 Thus wrote the eighteenth-century Ulster-Scots poet and radical James Orr in his greatest poem, The Irish Cottier’s Death and Burial. His char- acteristically Irish exclamation combines love of country, grief and a sense of grievance. Some years after his death in 1816 an imposing monument, with an inscription honouring him as ‘Poet, Patriot and Philanthropist’ was raised over Orr’s grave in the cemetery of his native village, Ballycarry in County Antrim. The recent revival of interest in Ulster-Scots language, history and culture has brought about a renewal of interest in Orr’s work. This essay explores the nature of his patriotism and offers an answer to the question, ‘What type of Irishness was Orr affecting?’ by examining northern cultural markers, features of the late eighteenth-century northern cultural landscape, as they appear in his poetry. Orr was born in 1770 into a community of small farmers and textile workers. His education was undertaken at home by his father, whose trade 1 The language, the potato and the book. 104 Carol Baraniuk as a handloom weaver Orr...

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