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A New History of IrelandEarly Modern Ireland 1534-1691$
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T. W. Moody, F. X. Martin, and F. J. Byrne

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199562527

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199562527.001.0001

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The Irish Language in the Early Modern Period

The Irish Language in the Early Modern Period

(p.509) Chapter XX The Irish Language in the Early Modern Period
A New History of Ireland

Brian Ó Cuív

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the change in policy on the use of language in Ireland. The policy of the crown in promoting the reformed religion involved, in the second half of the 16th century, a change of policy towards the Irish language, resulting in the encouragement by Queen Elizabeth and her officials of the use of that language even in the heart of the Pale. Although at the beginning, of the 17th century Irish had not lost its dominant position, there is no doubt that the confiscations and plantations that accompanied and followed the Elizabethan conquest left the way open for the spread of English. Before long many of the lords had fled abroad, and those who remained were not in a position to withstand the pressure of English rule. It was the upheaval among the landholders rather than any official measures against the Irish language that gained for English a foothold in the Irish countryside. Thus began the era when English would be learned for utilitarian reasons.

Keywords:   Irish language, Queen Elizabeth, Elizabethan conquest, English, reformed religion

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