Research topic: Ireland

Ireland has two cultures. We can see this from the fact that the country has two names: Éire and Ireland. The former is Irish, the latter is English.

There are two languages in Ireland: Irish and English. Irish is also known as Irish Gaelic and is a Celtic language. English was introduced into Ireland through the country's colonisation by the English, which began in the 13th century.

From the 17th century Irish lost prestige, as English became the spoken and written language of the ruling elite. Nonetheless written Irish was preserved by a small group of scholars and the language continued to be spoken by the general population until the 19th century.

Today there are several tens of thousands of people who speak Irish as their mother tongue. In urban areas, and particularly in Dublin, a bilingual generation has grown up speaking a variant of Irish known as 'Urban Irish'. The pronunciation of this type of Irish is strongly influenced by English. Members of this generation were taught at school in Irish, but live in English-speaking environments.

The Irish language has one of the very oldest written traditions in Europe. The earliest examples of written Irish date from the early 7th century.

Ireland's rich mediaeval literature, history and the Irish language – in both its historical and modern forms – are major research fields in universities worldwide. The same is true not least of more recent literature, both Irish-language literature and the more familiar works written in English, such as those by James Joyce.

In Norway there is considerable research interest in contacts between Ireland and the Vikings.

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Published Feb. 8, 2013 11:36 AM - Last modified June 23, 2014 2:03 PM