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Scholars to explore role of Irish language in academe

Author: Arts and Letters


What is the role of Irish in academia and its contribution to the humanities? What is the function of Irish in international scholarly research? What is the current state of Irish language scholarship?

These are among the questions to be addressed by a panel of international scholars at “Why Irish?,” a conference Sept. 30 (Friday) in the Hesburgh Center auditorium at the University of Notre Dame.

amon Cuv, the Irish government’s Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, will deliver the keynote address at 9 a.m.

Sponsored by the Department of Irish Language and Literature, “Why Irish?” will bring together internationally renowned scholars from the fields of comparative literature, medieval studies, linguistics, contemporary literature, cultural studies, and Indo-European poetics, and whose research and scholarship draw on the Irish language. They will discuss the contributions of Irish to their research and examine the role it plays in their discipline.

Guest speakers for the “Why Irish?” conference include:

  • Toms Cathasaigh, Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Irish Studies, Harvard Universityp.
  • Clare Carroll, chair of the Comparative Literature Department and director of Irish Studies, Queens College, City University of New York
  • Calvert Watkins, professor-in-residence, Department of Classics and Program in Indo-European Studies, UCLA
  • Breandn Buachalla, Thomas J. and Kathleen O’Donnell Chair in Irish Language and Literature, University of Notre Dame;
  • James McCloskey, professor of linguistics, University of California, Santa Cruz;
  • Philip O’Leary, associate professor of Irish Studies, Boston College;

The Irish language is the national language of Ireland and, with English, one of the two official languages of the country. Spoken in Ireland for more than 2,500 years, it is the language from which most Irish family and place names are derived. A drastic drop in the number of Irish language speakers occurred in the 19 th century, but its designation as an official language of Ireland in 1922 helped revive it.

Contact: Breen O’Conchubhair, 574-631-0499 or

Originally published by Susan Guibert at on September 16, 2005.