One of the main issues considered by Celtic Studies is the meaning of the term “Celtic” itself. From a scientific point of view, the word “Celtic” is primarily a linguistic term, and it refers to a group of Indoeuropean languages which developped in the European Continent some 5,000 years ago. Science does not consider, up to now, that the term “Celtic” has something to do with a distinctive culture, a particular ethnic group, a religion or a kind of music.
We do not know wether the Celts invaded Western
Europe or wether they just exported their languages
The origins of the Celts are traditionally situated in a
region between Switzerland, the South of Germany
and the North of Italy.
The Celts disappeared under the pressure of the
Germans (from the North of Europe) and the Latins
(from the South).
There are two different groups of Celtic languages:
a) Continental Celtic (mainly in Northern Spain,
France and Germany)
b) Insular Celtic (in Britain and Ireland)
Continental Celtic totally disappeared, and the only
Celtic Languages that remain are Insular, including
Celtic migrations to Armorica and Northern Galicia.
The Celtic Languages today are the following:
Cornish and Manx disappeared in the 17 th Century
a nd in the beginning of the 20 th Century respectively.
They are now dead languages, although several attempts
t o revive them have been made.
2. Some notes about The english language In ireland
The first time that the Anglo-Normans landed in
Ireland was in 1169, on the request of a local lord.
It was in the area around the city of Dublin, known
as the Pale , where Anglo-Norman was spoken for
the first time in Ireland.
The first English settlers where quickly assimilated
by the Irish population and during the 14 th and 15 th
Centuries, English was not widely spoken in Ireland.
The Battle of Kinsale (Cork, 1601), which forced
the so-called “Flight of the Earls” in 1607, was a
turning point in the history of the Irish language.
During the 16 th century the first plantations took
place in Ireland, and the first people who moved
there were soon assimilated by the native population.
In the Ulster, the plantations were very different,
since it was common people who moved there, and
they did consequently not govern, but rather displace
the native Irish population.
The plantations later included two forms:
transplantation and transportation , which were quite
different from each other and which had very different consequences on the local population.
During the 18 th and 19 th century, the native
Irish population was deprived of education. Only
the hedge schools provided a means of gaining
access to education.
The Ascendancy , who used to live in
Big houses did have a right to be educated.
In 1840 the Great Famine took place, what
constituted a turning point for the Irish language.
3. Nationalism, Language And identity
Man is a social being. Human societies are founded
on the principle of identity.
Identity may be based on ethnic group, religion,
language, gender, etc. and it implies both a personal
choice and an external acceptance.
Identity as a multidimensional reality vs. power
The denial of one’s identity.
The problem of identity in nations without a State
in modern Europe: frustrated national projects,
identities and the concept of “Nation-State”.
Nationalism and identity are usually related to power
relations within a given society: Catalan, Basque and
Galician nationalisms and identities. The bourgeoisie:
economical and political power.
Power relations in Ireland. Religion and language.
Identity as a historical construction. Identity and myth:
The foundation of a nation and the need for myths.
Galicia as a Celtic country: discovery or invention?
Other national myths: Spain and the “Reconquista”.
The American Dream. The French Revolution.
National identities founded in contrast to European
State identities: The Catalan and Basque orthography.