Protestants and Irish language

June 6, 1964.

June 6, 1964.

Some think that all the Protestants are against reviving the language and that to revive it may be to cause trouble between Irish people with differing religious allegiances. The facts are largely against this conclusion, however.

It is true that the majority of Protestants are only bit by bit coming to take a large part in Irish affairs generally, and with the national spirit of the importance of the language than of certain practical things like economic recovery, agricultural advance and social betterment. But the young Protestants have definitely a greater sympathy for the Irish language than the older generation had. And some people of influence amongst them are very much in favour of its revival.

The Irish Times has probably done as much to throw cold water in the past on the practical implementation of schemes to restore Irish as any public institution we have; but the most lately appointed editor, Douglas Gageby, a Protestant, ex-editor of the Evening Press and ex-army, reads books and articles coming out in Irish.

Protestants well known in public lief use Irish with complete ease and are extremely forthright advocates of its revival. The last 20 years have seen various headmasters appointed to the Protestant secondary schools who are proud to be known as good Irish speakers. Irish is the common language in Colaiste Moibhi, the Protestant preparatory college for national teachers, and ex-pupils of Colaiste Moibhi up and down the country are in many cases giving loving service to the language in the Protestant national schools.

The interdenominational Irish Protestant monthly magazine ‘Focus’ always publishes an Irish article and reviews all new books coming out in Irish. Services in Irish are held in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, twice every month, and on St Patrick’s Day Protestant services in Irish have been held in various parts of the country over the last ten years, in Cork, Limerick, Drogheda, and Dunleer.

All Protestants who know and love Irish declare the language to be a cementing influence in the relations with others not of their faith.