The Irish Language and the Media
Changes in Irish language media reflect changes in the wider national project. Throughout the world language has been one of the defining characteristics of nations used by nationalists of various shades to justify their cultural, economic and political projects. The media have been an important tool in those projects. In Ireland, since the nineteenth century, the Irish language has been used to validate the Irish nation and justify an Irish nation-state. There are identifiable phases of the national project, in the context of which the landscape of Irish language media can be understood, from the more explicit national project in the early years of the State, through the liberalising and minority-rights phase in the second half of the century to the more individualistic phase of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. In the early years of the State there was little or no choice of radio stations. The amount of Irish on radio gradually increased as the reach of the broadcasts spread from the regions around Dublin and Cork across the country. The broadcasts in Irish were aimed at the whole population. In the middle of the century the national project faltered and was liberalised. The decrease in the amount of Irish on radio (and television) was opposed in the context of community minority rights (from which Raidió na Gaeltachta emerged). In recent years there have been interesting developments in terms of providing radio and television programmes for individuals rather than for the nation or minority community. This can be seen, not only in the emergence of new Irish-language radio and television stations, but also in developments on existing channels.
Type of Material
Copyright (Published Version)
2016 the Editor and the Author
Status of Item
Hickey, R. (eds.). Sociolinguistics in Ireland
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