Iarfhlaith Watson
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Irish language, Irish nation
in Are the Irish different?
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This chapter explores the relationship between the Irish language and Irish nation by unravelling the concept of nation and discussing the emergence of the Irish nation. It considers the benefits of that relationship for the speakers of the language and for its continued use. The resources of history were garnered and used to create an Irish nation during the long nineteenth century, which was the peak period of the initial emergence of nations and nationalism in Europe. The uniqueness of the Irish is a central aspect of the nation. This uniqueness became part of the school curriculum and has been taught to school children for generations. The uniqueness of the Irish in terms of the Irish language and Catholicism appears to be connected to the nation in terms of their symbolic value rather than the actual practice of the language or religion.

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