Cultural Memory and the Irish Language

Cultural Memory and the Irish Language
22 February 2019, 11.00am - 3.45pm
Conference / Symposium
Room 246, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

The conflict euphemistically known as ‘the Troubles’ (1968-1998) witnessed the acute ideological and physical confrontation of Irish Nationalism-Republicanism, Unionism-Loyalism, and the British State over a prolonged thirty-year period. The role of memory in this conflict has been comprehensively investigated in disciplines such as History, Political Science, Anthropology, and Sociology, yet the question of the Irish language has been a noticeable omission. Moreover, within the ‘post-conflict’ period, the issue of culture and particularly the question of language has become the main source of contestation in political negotiations (e.g. the devolved institutions in Belfast have been in abeyance since January 2017 over the very issue of an Irish Language Act). This conference will examine memory and the Irish language to see how ‘forgetting’ and ‘remembering’ have featured in the construction of oppositional group identities with a focus on language. Furthermore, it will seek to contextualise these perspectives within contemporary scholarly frameworks of memory to provide a better understanding of the nature and function of memory in communities where language is contested. 


11.00 Welcome to the Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory: Katia Pizzi (IMLR), Director of the CCM 
11.15 “Dead or Alive: Revival and the new Irish Language space”: Regina Uí Chollatáin (University College Dublin)
12.00 “Memory and the Irish Language”: Marcas Mac Coinnigh (Queen’s University Belfast)
12.30 Discussion

12:45 Lunch 

13:30 “Prison recall: fieldnotes on remembering the Irish language in Long Kesh and the Maze”: Diarmait Mac Giolla Chríost (Cardiff)

14:15 “Indigenising the Irish Language in East Belfast: Creating a Protestant-friendly Gaelic Tradition”: Gordon McCoy, TURAS at East Belfast Mission 
14:45 “Remembering our Commitments: Legislative Protection, Grassroots Campaigning and 'Resolute Action' for the Irish Language”: Pádraig Ó Tiarnaigh, Conradh na Gaeilge
15:15 Discussion and closing remarks

Supported by the AHRC Open World Research Initiative's Language Acts and Worldmaking 

All are welcome to attend this free event. Places are limited so please register in advance.


Cathy Collins
020 7862 8738