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Views of Place, Views of Irishness

Representing the Gaeltacht in the Irish Press, 1895−1905

Davide Mazzi

This book focuses on the representation of the Gaeltacht in the Irish press. It examines texts from a key moment in the history of Irish journalism, namely the decade between the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth (1895−1905). Newspapers and periodicals have often been discussed with a view to their contents, or else they have served as supporting materials for scholars in Irish history. However, little to no interest has been taken so far in the language of the Irish press and the structure or discursive organisation of its news texts. In an attempt to contribute to filling this gap, this work is intended to carry out a corpus-based and discourse study of Irish news texts. The analysis fields the following general questions: How was the Gaeltacht represented in mainstream newspapers of the time? What aspects of Irish identity does the representation highlight, beyond the vivid description of remote places? In that regard, what are the concurring or competing voices of journalists engaging in the Irish public sphere? How do such voices actively shape news discourse in order to argue distinctive visions of Ireland?

«This is an outstanding contribution to the blossoming history of journalism in Ireland. Expertly researched, it draws the often-isolated coverage of the Gaeltacht into the historical mainstream, indicating very real connections to the emergence of the modern Irish state and the role of the representation of Ireland and its Irish-speaking heritage within that nexus. Its discursive approach, fusing qualitative and corpus linguistics, is excellently matched with its ambition to explore the shaping of attitudes towards the region, its language and its journalism.» (Martin Conboy, Professor of Journalism History, University of Sheffield, UK)