In this blog last month I lamented the lack of knowledge of Irish literature among those Irish people who are unable to read it (in many cases after 11 years of study). In that article I mentioned in passing the remarks of a former Professor of Irish in Cork University, Alan Titley.
He has written (as he does almost every week) an article in the Irish Times (Irish) praising the decision of Education Minister Joe McHugh to continue the provision of history as a subject in our schools. This was despite the strong recommendations to the contrary including from the NCAA.
There was a paragraph in his article which struck me forcefully.
Tá nach mór dochreidte gur scríobhadh stair na hÉireann tar éis turnamh na meánaoiseanna gan beann ar bith ar theanga na ndaoine a raibh an stair á scríobh fúthu..."
(There is a scholorship/docturship being offered by Oxford University for study on Irish history in the 18th century. What's unusual about that you might say. Of great interest is the fact that this study must use the resources available in Irish - thousands of them - in order to complete this work. This could be regarded as a revolution in its own right.
It is almost incredible that the history of Ireland after the collapse of the middle ages without the slightest reference to the language of the people about whom this history was been written...)
In fact this is perhaps the basis of the name I have given this blog - The Hidden Ireland. It is the name of a seminal work by another scholar of the School of Munster*, Daniel Corkery.
Of course, as Titley point out, there are historians who mine this rich resource like Vincent Morley, Néill Uí Chiosáin, Ghearóid Uí Thuathaigh, Bhreandáin Uí Bhuachalla and others but how many are blind to it's wealth. However how strange it is that the history of Ireland often is in fact the history of the English government of Ireland.
He wonders "Cad ina thaobh nár smaoinigh ollscoil éigin abhus ar bheart chomh réabhlóideach, chomh coimeádach, chomh soiléir, chomh lom, chomh nach mór meabhairphléascach sin, nárbh fholáir do staraithe na bunfhoinsí a léamh?"
(Why did no university here think of a plan so revolutionary, so conservative, so clear, so obvious, so mindbloggingly explosive as to suggest that historian read the basic sources!)
He asks is an of the Irish educational institutions ready to take up the challange.
What about it UCDUCCTCDNUIGUUQUBULUMDCU?
Translations are entirely my own and I have take a little liberty to get the message across and thus loose the author's pithy and imaginative delivery found in the original.
* Ionad Bairre Sgoil na Mumhan - Motto of UCC
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