General Historical Information prior to 1900

      An organization devoted to the preservation, cultivation, and
extension of the Gaelic language, particularly in Ireland. From the time of
the Statute of Kilkenny in 1367, when laws were enacted forbidding the use
of the Irish language, dress, or surnames within the limits of the Pale, on
penalty of death or confiscation, every effort had been made by the English
Government to crush out or discourage the native language; and on the
establishment of the so-called National Schools in 1833, the instruction in
which was in the English language, the Gaelic language, even then spoken by
a majority of the Irish peasantry, received its most decisive blow. Through
the efforts of the "Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language,"
about twenty-five years ago, some partial concessions were obtained for the
language in the schools, but with little practical result, owing to the
indifference of the local authorities. Matters were apparently  at their
lowest mark in all things national when, in 1893, the Gaelic League was
organized, chiefly through the effort of Douglas Hyde and Father O'Growney,
the two most accomplished Gaelic scholars in Ireland. An active educational
campaign was at once begun throughout the country, resulting in the
establishment of branches of the League in every important centre. In 1898
the movement  spread to America. Gaelic is now taught in a large number of
National schools, and in nearly all the Catholic Church parish schools in
Ireland, the last report showing about 3500 students of Gaelic in Dublin
alone. Trinity College, Dublin, and the Roman Catholic Seminary of Maynooth,
maintain Gaelic chairs, and a revival in Gaelic literature has since
developed, including a revival of Gaelic music and the drama. In the United
States and Canada there were in 1902 about forty branches of the League,
each of which conducted classes for the study of the language, besides
rendering efficient help to the Irish organization. Gaelic or Celtic chairs
are also established at Harvard University, the Catholic University of
America, Washington, and at Notre Dame University, Indiana. Substantial aid
has been rendered by the Hibernian Order, which endowed the Washington
chair, and has  regularly contributed to the work in Ireland.

Source:   The New International Encyclopaedia
Publisher:  Dodd, Mead and Company-New York
Copyright:  1902-1905      Total of 21 Volumes
Transcribed by Miriam Medina