"We have finally a much needed and most illuminating account of a movement that was paradoxically so successful in the short run and eventually failed in the long run. . . . Professor McMahon has placed us all in his scholarly debt by rescuing us from the pious generalizations and facile impressions of the mythologizers."—Emmet Larkin, University of Chicago
"Grand Opportunity provides a richer and more nuanced scholarly assessment of the Gaelic League from its foundation through the first decade of the twentieth century than any other work with which I am familiar."—Frank Biletz, Loyola University Chicago
In this groundbreaking work, Timothy McMahon reexamines the significance of the Gaelic revival in forming Ireland’s national identity. In their determination to preserve and extend the use of Irish as a spoken language and artistic medium, members of the Gaelic League profoundly influenced Irish culture and literature in the twentieth century. McMahon explores that influence by scrutinizing the ways in which society absorbed their messages, tracing the interaction between the ideas propagated by the League and the variety of meanings ordinary people attached to Ireland and to being Irish.
Comparing press and police reports with census data and local directories, the author establishes the first comprehensive profile of League membership. McMahon’s ability to access both English- and Irish-language sources offers readers a rare and richly detailed analysis of primary materials. Grand Opportunity addresses questions that are central to understanding modern Irish identity and makes an indispensable contribution to the wider study of national identity formation.
Timothy G. McMahon is associate professor of history at Marquette University. He is the editor of Pádraig Ó Fathaigh’s War of Independence: Recollections of a Galway Gaelic Leaguer. His articles have appeared in History Compass, Éire-Ireland, and Joyce Studies Annual.
Series: Irish Studies
6 x 9, 356 pages