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Authority and Wisdom in the New Ireland

Studies in Literature and Culture

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Edited By Carmen Zamorano Llena and Billy Gray

Since the end of the nineteenth century, Ireland has witnessed a profound reconfiguration of its cultural, political, constitutional and religious identities, resulting in an unparalleled questioning of the dominant discourses and narratives that have seemingly defined the nation. The essays in this collection examine the ways in which established Irish socio-cultural structures of authority and their constructs of collective identity have been challenged within literary and cultural discourses of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Every challenge to the purported wisdom of these authority structures adds a new facet to the complexity of Irish national identity and contributes to the continuous evolution of the ‘New Ireland’, a phrase often used to signify the momentous transformations of the country in times of change.
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Caoimhín De Barra - Protestants Playing Pagans? Irish Nationalism and the Rejection of Pan-Celticism

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CAOIMHÍN DE BARRA

Protestants Playing Pagans? Irish Nationalism and the Rejection of Pan-Celticism

In December 1923, Dr Edmund Edward Fournier D’Albe sent a letter to Lord Castletown to congratulate him on the successful publication of his memoirs. Twenty years previously, Fournier and Castletown had worked together in the Celtic Association, a body that promoted closer connections between the six Celtic ‘nations’. Both men had long since left the Celtic Association, and had not corresponded for some time. In writing his congratulations, Fournier thanked Castletown for his kind words about him and the work he did on behalf of the Celtic Association. He also lamented that the Celtic Association had not succeeded in its aim of solidifying the position of the Irish language in Ireland. He told Castletown that ‘I still think that the way we and the Celtic Association set about preserving the Irish language was the right one, – linking it up to the Welsh and Scots Gaelic and Breton. But the “wild men” would not have it, and now there is little hope for it’.1 The ‘wild men’ were Irish nationalists who rejected the pan-Celtic call to form a closer bond with their ‘racial brethren’ in Britain and France, and who opposed any union between the Celtic Association and the Gaelic League. Despite the fact that prominent Gaelic Leaguers, like Douglas Hyde, Eoin MacNeill, and Pádraig Pearse, were sympathetic to pan-Celtic sentiment, many rank and file members expressed their disdain...

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