Afficio Undergraduate Journal

Irish Language Print Culture, 1550-1870

Winner, Best Overall Undergraduate Paper, Humanities
Author: Daniel Giesbrecht

The relative weakness of Irish language print culture was a key contributing factor to what has been described as “one of the most rapid and total language shifts in modern European history.”[1] Despite its status as the oldest living written vernacular language in western Europe, with a rich corpus of extant manuscripts dating back to the seventh century, print in Irish Gaelic was notable for its low output, a situation which persists to this day and which has continued to have a negative effect on language maintenance.[2] Historically, Catholic and Protestant texts formed the bulk of printed works in the Irish language. Many of these religious texts reflected the bilingual nature of Irish society that emerged around the middle of the eighteenth century. Literacy and the printing of books became strongly associated with English, the growth in literacy going hand-in-hand with language acquisition, and ultimately, language shift, among the vast majority of the Irish population. The demographic catastrophe wrought by the Great Famine of 1846-52 disproportionately affected Irish-speakers and hastened the process of language change that was already well underway in most areas of the country. In addition to demographic factors, a dearth of Gaelic typefaces, the tenacity of the manuscript tradition, religious antagonism, and a lack of support from the Catholic Church hobbled development of a robust print culture in Irish. What follows is a survey of Irish language print culture, the factors that help explain its modest character, and a comparison with the situation in Wales, where support from institutional churches and the advent of print from an earlier date helped create a vernacular printing tradition where material in Welsh was widely disseminated, and which dwarfed output in Irish.

The printing press came quite late to Ireland. In fact, nearly a century passed between the publication of Gutenberg’s Bible and the appearance of The Boke of Common Praier, the first book to be printed in Ireland in any language. The London bookseller Humphrey Powell, who had received a grant to establish a press by an Act of the Privy Council the previous year, printed it in Dublin in 1551.[3] Initially, a royal monopoly existed, whereby printed material was restricted to religious texts and proclamations. Indeed, the first book printed in Irish in Ireland was also a Protestant text, John Kearney’s Aibidil Gaoidheilge agus Caiticiosma, which used a specially designed Gaelic font paid for by Queen Elizabeth herself.[4] Print in Ireland had an inauspicious start – just eight items printed during the sixteenth century (in any language).[5] However, this is not to suggest that there was very little print material circulating at the time. Over five hundred books were shipped to Ireland from Bristol in 1592, for example, and nearly 2,700 in 1612.[6]          

Before examining the progression of Irish print culture in the seventeenth century, we must put the political situation into context. The period between 1600 and 1700 was arguably the most tumultuous in recorded Irish history. It began with what appeared to be the final conquest of the island, in the wake of the Battle of Kinsale in 1601-2, involving a large alliance of Gaelic chieftains (with military support from Catholic Spain) against English forces under the command of the Lord Deputy of Ireland, whose authority had been largely confined to Dublin and its environs. The Treaty of Mellifont, which was signed the following year by the heads of various prominent Irish septs or kin groups, such as the Ó Néill and Ó Domhnaill (who were unaware that Elizabeth had died the previous week), represented the defeat of the ‘native’ Irish or Gaelic system. This system involved, among other things, a distinct legal code (the Brehon law), including inheritance customs based on partible inheritance rather than primogeniture.[7] These and other customs were to be renounced and pledges of loyalty given to the English crown, along with a promise to adopt the English language and cease giving patronage to the class of professional poets known as filí, the composers of praise poetry and keepers of sagas, folklore, mythology, and history who occupied a position of prestige within Gaelic society.

A number of other key events would have an impact on the linguistic environment in Ireland, and consequently, on Irish print culture. The ‘Flight of the Earls’ in 1607, where most of the leading native Irish dynasties fled, mainly to Spain and Rome, rather than continue to endure the terms of Mellifont and the feelings of uncertainty associated with the new dispensation, resulted in the figurative decapitation of the Gaelic aristocracy.[8] This collective act of self-exile gave further impetus for the organized, Crown-sponsored colonization known as the Plantation of Ulster, which involved the migration of mainly Protestant Lowland Scots and English settlers to the northern third of Ireland, beginning in 1609. English rule now extended throughout the entire island for the first time, seemingly completing a process that had begun, with various reverses and successes, in the late twelfth century.[9] Later periods of upheaval, such as the 1641 uprising against the plantation settlements, which featured sectarian slaughter on a large scale, and the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland between 1649 and 1653 (as part of the broader Wars of the Three Kingdoms), which resulted in widespread confiscations that deeply impacted Catholic landowners and was accompanied by another plantation, exacerbated tensions.[10] Lastly, the Irish theatre of war during the War of the Grand Alliance (the Williamite or Jacobite War in Ireland), between 1689 and 1691, represented the last-gasp attempt by Catholic forces to reverse the English conquest. Their utter defeat ushered in the era of the restrictive Penal Laws, which included educational, occupational, civil, and legal disabilities for Roman Catholics and Dissenters, and which led to a monopolization of power by the Protestant élite (the Protestant Ascendancy) that lasted until the early nineteenth century.[11] Some Penal Laws had been in place since 1607, but they were extended after the Williamite War: for example, Catholics were excluded from most public offices, including professions such as judge, barrister, and notary. These were all seminal events that not only impacted Irish society at all levels, but also help explain the relative paucity of Irish language printed material over the course of three centuries.

It has been argued that Irish was like most unofficial or “non-state” languages in Europe during the seventeenth century, in that printed material was primarily religious in nature, rather than addressing politics or economics.[12] However, the Catholic Church had faced obstacles to printing devotional works even before the English crown consolidated its rule. Many of the earliest Catholic texts in Irish were printed in the seventeenth century, in those parts of continental Europe where the church was able to operate more freely. The Franciscans were at the forefront of efforts to cultivate an Irish print culture in clerical colleges such as those in Louvain in the Spanish Netherlands, Salamanca in Spain, and the Irish college in Paris. The first Catholic text in Irish was written by the friar Giolla Brighde (Bonaventura) Ó hEodhasa and printed in Louvain in 1611 (some forty years after Kearney’s Anglican catechism). Ó hEodhasa and others involved in Irish seminaries on the continent often came from prominent families from the professional poet or hereditary filí class, who had enjoyed great social prestige in Gaelic society in Ireland (and western Scotland), but who had lost the patrons who had sustained them in the aftermath of the English conquest and the societal reorganization it imposed. These men were now involved in the politics of the European Counter-Reformation. In the context of Ireland, Catholic texts were printed partly as a response to the influx of Protestant works in the Irish language that were being disseminated there, such as Archbishop Uilliam Ó Domhnuill’s Irish translation of the New Testament, which appeared in 1602.[13] Ó Domhnuill, or William Daniel as he was known in Anglicized circles, was a native convert to the established Church of Ireland, and a key figure in the dissemination of Protestant works in Irish in the seventeenth century. Other works of Catholic devotion were published in Louvain in 1618 and 1645, while Theobald Stapleton’s Catechismus was printed in Brussels in 1639.[14]In Rome, the Franciscan order was able to obtain a Gaelic font, which it used to print a catechism in 1676.[15] Relatively little is known about illegal Catholic distribution networks vis–à–vis religious books originating outside Ireland, but it is clear that print material reached the island from Europe, despite a royal patent having been issued to John Franckton, giving him sole right to produce printed material in Ireland.[16]For example, a ship seized in Cork in 1617 carried Latin Bibles, Summae doctrinaie Christianae and the Rituale Romanum.

The goals of reformation and counter-reformation were to be achieved in part by providing God’s word in the language that remained the first, and indeed only, vernacular for the vast majority of Ireland’s population, mirroring the broader religious conflict that typified Ireland during this period (and beyond). For example, the preface to Aodh Mac Aingil’s Scáthán Shacramuinte na hAithridhe (‘Mirror of the Sacrament of Confession’, printed in 1618) declared:

Mar atá leabhar Aifrinn ag an Eaglais Chatoilc, do-conncas d’eiricibh na hÉirionn gné leabhair Aifrinn do bheith aca féin dá ngoirid Leabhar an Chumainn agus nírbh olc an t-ainm sin dhó, dá gcuiridís ‘fallsa’ leis. Ó nar chuireadar, ní leasainm dhó Leabhar Iffrinn Eireaceachda do thabhairt air. Do chuirsead an leabhar so agus mórán don Bhíobla a nGaoidhilg agus a lór a neimhchirti sgríobhthar iad.[17]

(As the Catholic Church has a prayer book the heretics of Ireland saw to it that they had their own kind of prayer book called the Common Book and it is not a bad name if you added the word ‘false’ to it. As this was not done, it is no misnomer to call it the Book of the Hell of Heretics. This book and a lot of the Bible were translated into Irish and they were written in the fullness of error.)

Mac Aingil was referring to the first Irish language edition of the Book of Common Prayer (Leabhar na hUrnaí Coitinne), printed in 1608 in Dublin by William Daniel, six years after Daniel’s translation of the New Testament had appeared. Despite the war for souls, printing in Irish remained sporadic over the course of the century. The Queen Elizabeth font that had been used in 1571 was eventually misplaced, so the Church of Ireland produced a new one which was used in later Protestant works, such as a new edition of the New Testament (1681) and an Irish translation of the Old Testament, which was printed in London in 1685 and had a print run of five hundred copies. In 1712, a new translation of the Book of Common Prayer was produced, although the majority of the six thousand copies remained in storage for a long time thereafter due, in part, to a lukewarm response to the idea of employing Irish as a medium of oral religious instruction (despite an initial foray the previous century) and a general shortage of Protestant ministers.[18] Indeed, the archdeacon of Armagh, William Hamilton, observed in 1711 that “It is certain that in no part of the kingdom there are sufficient numbers of Protestant ministers, and in those parts where the harvest is greatest the labourers are fewest.”[19]

According to Niall Ó Ciosáin, the period between 1571 and 1712 constitutes the ‘first phase’ in Protestant engagement with Irish language print, followed by a long period of inactivity.[20] Ó Ciosáin notes that nothing was printed in Irish by the royal press in Dublin for thirty years after the initial catechism of 1571, and nearly a century separated the Irish translations for the two parts of the Bible. Print activity during the course of the eighteenth century was sparser still. The general reluctance on the part of Protestant church officials to use Irish as a medium of instruction for the purposes of evangelization and proselytizing (both in print and orally) was due to a widespread belief that the language was backward and subversive.[21] Even if a majority of Protestant figures in Dublin castle had been in favour of using Irish to pursue religious reform, there were also practical barriers to overcome, namely that there were very few Irish-born Protestant clergy, and fewer still who could speak Irish with fluency and who could employ the terminology necessary to carry out their religious duties. Efforts on the part of the Catholic church were erratic as well. Not only was the political climate in the British Isles inimical to a strong Catholic print culture (whether in Irish or English), but the English language had long been strong in urban areas in Ireland, where the few printing presses were all located.[22] The effects of the English language were not so noticeable in the seventeenth century, but would come to the fore during the key period of 1750-1850. The Penal Laws, now decades in operation, and the continuing expansion of British administrative structures and a market economy operating through the medium English, led to changing language habits and greater rates of English acquisition, which was no longer limited to the higher levels of native society (the remnants of the largely dispossessed Gaelic order who had remained), but cut across all social classes in most regions. The printed works of the period often reflected the shifting linguistic situation "on the ground," with formatting that suggests they were directed at native Irish speakers who had acquired literacy through English and sought to attain reading ability in their first language as well.[23]

While the first wave of both Protestant and Catholic texts used the Gaelic script for Irish, over time, two differing print formats would emerge. This was partly due to availability. As noted earlier, Queen Elizabeth, via the English Privy Council, had paid for a specially designed Gaelic font in 1571 that would resemble the script used in Irish manuscripts. Four years earlier, the first book printed in Irish anywhere had appeared in Edinburgh. Foirm na n-Urrnuidheadh (‘The Form of Prayers’) was a translation of John Knox’s liturgy for the Presbyterian church in Scotland, and employed Classical Irish, which was still a uniform written standard common to both Ireland and western Scotland, despite the fact that the spoken language had diverged into Irish and Scottish Gaelic some centuries earlier. However, it was printed using the Roman alphabet, setting a precedent where some printed works in Irish would use a Gaelic script (similar in appearance to the Irish variety of insular script used in most manuscripts) and some used Roman characters.[24] Meanwhile, the font employed by Ó hEodhasa in Louvain in 1611 was a separate, but similar, font to the one first used in Dublin by Kearney in 1571. However, in addition to being less widely available within Ireland (especially for Catholics, due to the penal restrictions and royal monopoly), using a Gaelic font was costlier. There was also the element of print literacy in English among the laity, which increased substantially in the second half of the eighteenth century as the rural economy expanded. Literacy was usually acquired in English first, in the network of unofficial Catholic “hedge schools” found in much of the Irish countryside, and this was reflected in the typographical and orthographical format used.[25] For example, Roman letters were often used. Some works were even produced showing phonetic spelling based on English. This indicates they were aimed at bilingual individuals whose first language was Irish, but who had learned to read English and sought to transfer those skills to reading in their mother tongue.

It was common for Irish books to contain an English language title page, with the body of the text in Irish. One of the most popular books in Irish to follow this format was Bishop James Gallagher’s Sermons (Sixteen Irish Sermons, in an easy and familiar stile, on useful and necessary subjects, in English characters, as being the more familiar to the generality of our Irish clergy), first printed in 1732 and running to fourteen editions by 1820. The rationale for using Roman letters and English orthography instead of the traditional Gaelic font of the manuscripts was explained as follows: “One reason is that our printers have no Irish type; and another, that our mother language . . . is so far abandoned . . . that scarce one in ten is acquainted with her characters.”[26] Similarly, the most popular work in Irish during the period under consideration, Tadhg Gaelach Ó Súilleabháin’s Pious Miscellany, had an English introduction and title page. It was first printed in 1802 and contained various hymns written in the stressed metre typical of Irish language song. In the introduction to the 1858 edition, the issue of format was addressed:

Some may ask, why we have adopted Roman instead of Irish characters? Our answer is simply this, that if we did adopt the Irish, those for whom the work is intended would not be able to use it, being entirely unacquainted with that character, whereas every peasant who speaks Irish and reads English can master the work in its present form.[27]

At this point, a comparison with printing in Welsh is instructive because it demonstrates the impact that support from institutional churches can have on print culture in a non-official language, something that Irish lacked. Print in the Welsh language differed from its Celtic cousin in a number of key respects. Unlike in Ireland, the Reformation was a relative success and coincided approximately with the Act of Union of 1536, which brought Wales within the realm of England.[28] Although its effects led to an increasingly Anglicized gentry, the incorporation of Wales further within England’s sphere of influence did not preclude the printing of religious material in Welsh. The deep sectarian divisions that plagued Ireland were absent. Furthermore, there was recognition that religious works in Welsh were essential for the purposes of evangelization. A prayer book was printed in Welsh in 1546, five years before the first printing press appeared in Ireland.[29] In 1567, a Welsh version of the New Testament and prayer book were published. These were placed in churches throughout Wales, mimicking the practice in England. A full Welsh translation of the Old Testament (and another version of the New Testament) was printed in 1588. The language and idiom used was that previously employed by the Welsh bards, so stylistic and linguistic continuity with the manuscript tradition was maintained.

An octavo version of the Bible in Welsh appeared in 1630 and by the final decade of the seventeenth century, there were print runs upwards of 10,000.[30] According to Niall Ó Ciosáin, print culture in Welsh reached full development in the eighteenth century, aided in part by the loss of the print monopoly of the Stationers’ Company in London, which made printing in Wales legal, and by the notable religious fervor in the country during the second half of the century, when nonconformist sects such as the Methodists gained large numbers of adherents. Within a century, non-conformists outnumbered followers of the established church in Wales, aided by the exhortations of traveling preachers who used Welsh and distributed a variety of devotional publications in the language. This religious revival stimulated greater printed production. Indeed, about 2,500 Welsh books were published during the eighteenth century, a disproportionately higher output compared with Irish, since it has been estimated that there were about four times as many Irish speakers as Welsh at the time.[31]

Irish print production declined after the mid-nineteenth century from an already modest base, whereas print output in Welsh (as well as Scottish Gaelic and Breton) increased between 1850 and 1930.[32] Certainly, the Great Famine had a negative impact on Irish, but the accelerated language shift that followed in its wake cannot solely explain the weakness of Irish print culture. The majority of the population subscribed to the Catholic denomination, but the Church in the post-Penal era (beginning after the passage of the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1791 and most commonly associated with the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829)[33] did not make any concerted effort to link vernacular printing with religious instruction. While the Protestant Reformation had made little impact in terms of conversions, there was a dramatic transformation in the sphere of language use. This is partly explained by the Anglicization of the Catholic Church in Ireland, especially after 1750, which lessened the impact of the poor state of Irish print production on a reading public that was mainly literate in English. Arguably, this could have been exploited by the established church had it pursued a more vigorous campaign to produce religious materials in Irish, thereby cultivating literacy in the language and increasing the chances of successful conversions. Since the increasing use of English by the Catholic Church was in step with the increasing ability to speak English among the general populace, linguistic barriers lessened and the church was in a better position to retain individuals within the fold, doing so without having to resort to Irish language print material in many instances.

The efforts of evangelical Protestant bodies, such as the Irish Society (formally the Society for Promoting the Education of the Native Irish through the Medium of Their Own Language) and the Hibernian Bible Society, particularly after 1820, caused some Catholic clergy to actively discourage reading in Irish, as it was associated with Protestant proselytism.[34] Furthermore, the 1795 establishment of St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, as the national seminary for Ireland came at a time when the penal laws were being relaxed. Priests who had been educated in continental Europe over the previous century and a half, due to the discriminatory legislation, could now openly receive clerical training in Ireland, albeit through the medium of English.

The decline in print output in Irish during the eighteenth century meant that the prestige of the language was further reduced at a time when the acquisition of English and literacy in English was increasing. Irish had never established a strong foothold in urban areas, where all printing presses were located, and there were no printers who produced the majority of their works in the Irish language, unlike the situation in Wales and Brittany. By comparison, printing in Welsh appears to have had the active support of clergy, and some printers were deacons or preachers themselves.[35] In fact, the upsurge in demand for Welsh books in north Wales caused some Dublin presses to print books in Welsh to ship across the Irish Sea: during the 1740s, books in Welsh printed in Dublin actually outnumbered books printed in Irish.[36] For the entire eighteenth century, just over thirty books in Irish were printed in Ireland, and eight of these were Bibles.

However, it was in the nineteenth century that the disparity between printed material in Welsh and Irish became truly striking, not only in terms of sheer volume, but also in the range of works published. Approximately 10,000 distinct titles were printed in Welsh during the century, compared with about one hundred and fifty in Irish. Religious material continued to predominate, but Welsh language almanacs, political cartoons, broadsheet ballads, and an encyclopedia were all produced. There were print runs of 70,000 for some of the almanacs.[37] In addition, while there were only two Irish language newspapers in existence in the nineteenth century (Fáinne an Lae [1898] and An Claidheamh Soluis [1899], which merged in 1900), more than one hundred Welsh newspapers began publishing between 1800 and 1909.[38]

One cannot make sense of the history of language politics in Ireland without considering the role of literacy and print as determinants of language shift. When the first Irish language revival organizations began to emerge in the 1870s, Irish was arguably at its lowest ebb. Emigration, death, and declining rates of intergenerational language transmission had all taken their toll, reducing a total of more than three million Irish speakers in 1800 to barely 800,000 seventy years later.[39] That popular literacy in Irish had not been achieved was partly a legacy of the Penal era, when the Protestant Ascendancy monopolized power, and where conditions were not well suited to commercial Catholic printing. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the acquisition of English had become a prerequisite for all who sought material advancement for themselves and their children. With such an imbalance between print culture in English and Irish, and Irish being limited to a few narrow domains, the road to literacy was through the English language. The widespread bilingualism that prevailed in Ireland between the mid-eighteenth and mid-nineteenth century hastened the decline of Irish, since native speakers were more likely to achieve the ability to read through the medium of English, with all the economic and social benefits that entailed. When revivalists set out to arrest the long decline of Irish, they were conscious of the language’s long, noble history. They were also aware that they faced the daunting task of cultivating a lay reading public which lacked newspapers, a modern literature, and social esteem.




[1] Niall Ó Ciosáin, Print and Popular Culture in Ireland, 1750-1850(Dublin: The Lilliput Press, 2010), 7.

[2] Christopher Morash, A History of the Media in Ireland (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 8.

[3] Morash, A History of the Media in Ireland, 5.

[4] Ibid., 6.

[5] Morash, A History of the Media in Ireland, 10.

[6] Raymond Gillespie, “The Book Trade in Southern Ireland, 1590-1640,” in Books Beyond the Pale: Aspects of the Provincial Book Trade in Ireland Before 1850, ed., Gerard Long (Dublin: Rare Books Group of the Library Association of Ireland, 1996), 1-17 as cited in Morash, A History of the Media in Ireland, 11.

[7] Nicholas Canny, Making Ireland British, 1580–1650 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).

[8] Tony Crowley, Wars of Words: The Politics of Language in Ireland, 1537-2004 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 36.

[9] Nicholas Canny, Making Ireland British, 1580–1650 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).

[10] Micheál Ó Siochrú, God's Executioner: Oliver Cromwell and the Conquest of Ireland (London: Faber & Faber, 2008).

[11] James Kelly, “Irish Protestants and the Irish Language,” in Irish and English: Essays on the Irish Linguistic and Cultural Frontier, 1600-1900, eds., James Kelly and Ciarán Mac Murchaidh (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2012), 192-3.

[12] Niall Ó Ciosáin, “Print and Irish, 1570-1900: An Exception Among the Celtic Languages?” Radharc: A Journal of Irish and Irish-American Studies 5:7 (2004-6): 76.

[13] Marc Caball, “ ‘Solid Divine and Worthy Scholar’: William Bedell, Venice and Gaelic Culture,” in Irish and English: Essays on the Irish Linguistic and Cultural Frontier, 1600-1900, eds., James Kelly and Ciarán Mac Murchaidh (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2012), 45.

[14] Crowley, Wars of Words, 56.

[15] Crowley, Wars of Words, 48; Ó Ciosáin, “Print and Irish”, 79.

[16] Gillespie, “The Book Trade in Southern Ireland, 1590-1640”, 1-17 as cited in Morash, A History of the Media in Ireland, 11.

[17] Michael Cronin, Translating Ireland: Translation, Languages, Cultures (Cork: Cork University Press, 1996), 61, 86 as cited in Crowley, Wars of Words, 48-9. Translation by Michael Cronin.

[18] James Kelly, “Irish Protestants and the Irish Language”, 197, 201.

[19] William Hamilton to James Bonnell, 15 March 1711, National Library of Ireland, Smythe of Barbavilla papers, MS 41580/9 as cited in Kelly, “Irish Protestants and the Irish Language”, 200.

[20] Ó Ciosáin, “Print and Irish”, 76-8.

[21] Ó Ciosáin, “Print and Irish”, 78.

[22] L.M. Cullen, “Patrons, Teachers and Literacy in Irish: 1700-1850,” in Mary E. Daly and David Dickson, eds., The Origins of Popular Literacy in Ireland: Language Change and Educational Development, 1700-1920 (Dublin: Department of Modern History, Trinity College Dublin and Department of Modern Irish History, University College Dublin, 1990), 39-40.

[23] Niall Ó Ciosáin, “Pious Miscellanies and Spiritual Songs: Devotional Publishing and Reading in Irish and Scottish Gaelic, 1760-1900,” in Irish and English: Essays on the Irish Linguistic and Cultural Frontier, 1600-1900, eds., James Kelly and Ciarán Mac Murchaidh (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2012), 274.

[24] Nicholas Williams, “Gaelic Texts and English Script,” in Marc Caball and Andrew Carpenter, eds., Oral and Print Cultures in Ireland, 1600-1900 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2010), 85.

[25] Ó Ciosáin, “Print and Irish”, 83.

[26] Ó Ciosáin, Print and Popular Culture in Ireland, 184.

[27] John O’Daly, ed., Timothy O'Sullivan's – Commonly Called Tadhg Gaelach - Pious Miscellany, 1858 edition (Dublin: 1858), introduction, as cited in Ó Ciosáin, Print and Popular Culture in Ireland, 184.

[28] Ó Ciosáin, “Print and Irish”, 91.

[29] Ó Ciosáin, Print and Popular Culture in Ireland, 188.

[30] Ó Ciosáin, “Print and Irish”, 92.

[31] Geraint H. Jenkins, “The Cultural Uses of the Welsh Language, 1660-1800,” in The Welsh Language before the Industrial Revolution (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1997), 371 as cited in Ó Ciosáin, “Print and Irish”, 92.

[32] Ó Ciosáin, “Print and Irish”, 102.

[33] Fergus O’Ferrall, Catholic Emancipation: Daniel O’Connell and the Birth of Irish Democracy, 1820-30(Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1985),

[34] Ó Ciosáin, “Print and Irish”, 85, 87.

[35] Philip H. Jones, “A Golden Age Reappraised: Welsh-Language Publishing in the Nineteenth Century,” in Images and Texts: Their Production and Distribution in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, eds., Peter Isaac and Barry McKay (Winchester, Hampshire: St. Paul’s Bibliographies, 1997), 126-7 as cited in Ó Ciosáin, “Print and Irish”, 102-3.

[36] Eiluned Rees, Libri Walliae: A National Catalogue of Welsh Books and Books Printed in Wales, 1546-1820 (Aberystwyth: National Library of Wales, 1987); Edwards Evans, Historical and Bibliographical Account of Almanacks, Directories, etc., etc., published in Ireland from the Sixteenth Century (Dublin: The Irish Builder, 1897), 110 as cited in Ó Ciosáin, “Print and Irish”, 104.

[37] Brinley Thomas, “A Cauldron of Rebirth: Population and the Welsh Language in the Nineteenth Century,” Welsh History Review 13 (1987): 418-437 as cited in Ó Ciosáin, “Print and Irish”, 93.

[38] Aled Jones, “The Welsh Language and Journalism,” in The Welsh Language and Its Social Domains, 1801-1911, ed., Geraint H. Jenkins (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2000), 380 as cited in Ó Ciosáin, “Print and Irish”, 95 (Figure 17). The graph is reproduced from Jones’s work by Ó Ciosáin.

[39] Ó Ciosáin, “Print and Irish”, 105.



Caball, Marc and Andrew Carpenter, eds. Oral and Print Cultures in Ireland, 1600-1900. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2010.

Caball, Marc. “‘Solid Divine and Worthy Scholar’: William Bedell, Venice and Gaelic Culture.” In Irish and English: Essays on the Irish Linguistic and Cultural Frontier, 1600-1900, edited by James Kelly and Ciarán Mac Murchaidh, 43-57. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2012.

Crowley, Tony. The Politics of Language in Ireland, 1366-1922: A Sourcebook. London: Routledge, 2000.

____________ Wars of Words: The Politics of Language in Ireland, 1537-2004. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Kelly, James. “Irish Protestants and the Irish language in the Eighteenth Century.” In Irish and English: Essays on the Irish Linguistic and Cultural Frontier, 1600-1900, edited by James Kelly and Ciarán Mac Murchaidh, 189-217. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2012.

Mac Murchaidh, Ciarán. “The Catholic Church, the Irish Mission and the Irish language in the Eighteenth Century.” In Irish and English: Essays on the Irish Linguistic and Cultural Frontier, 1600-1900, edited by James Kelly and Ciarán Mac Murchaidh, 162-188. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2012.

Morash, Christopher. A History of the Media in Ireland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Ní Mhunghaile, Lesa. “Bilingualism, Print Culture in Irish and the Public Sphere, 1700-c. 1830.” In Irish and English: Essays on the Irish Linguistic and Cultural Frontier, 1600-1900, edited by James Kelly and Ciarán Mac Murchaidh, 218-242. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2012.

Ó Ciosáin, Niall. “Print and Irish, 1570-1900: An Exception Among the Celtic Languages?” Radharc: A Journal of Irish and Irish-American Studies 5:7 (2004-6): 73-106. .

_____________ Print and Popular Culture in Ireland, 1750-1850. Dublin: The Lilliput Press, 2010.

_____________ “Pious Miscellanies and Spiritual Songs: Devotional Publishing and Reading in Irish and Scottish Gaelic, 1760-1900.” In Irish and English: Essays on the Irish Linguistic and Cultural Frontier, 1600-1900, edited by James Kelly and Ciarán Mac Murchaidh, 267-282. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2012.