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native and fluent Irish speakers ( Gaeilgeoirí ) has been estimated at 3.5 million. Its decline has been attributed to a series of factors such as the rejection of Irish by the Catholic Church, the English-language national schools (established in 1830), and the growing importance of English as a language tool for emigration (Miller 1988 : 70; O’Néill 2005 : 285). These figures testify to the decline of Irish as a written and spoken language. However, an 1812 source noted the difficulties in travelling through rural Ireland due to the dominance of Irish in the

in An archaeology of lunacy