Irish School Education

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This essay will examine the attitudes of Irish writers towards the national school system that was introduced in 1831 by Britain. This system forced Irish children to receive their education through English. This turning point in Irish history profoundly affected the future of Ireland. We lost our national language and inherited a “medium of modern communication” according to Daniel O’Connell. It is unsurprising that Irish writers throughout the last century have commented on and criticized the loss of our language. Irish poets including Moya Cannon, John Montague and Richard Murphy all write about the struggle Irish people went through during the introduction of a new language. They are comparable in that they all emphasise on
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This system banned Irish from the classroom and forced all children to be educated through English. This created a lot of tension between Ireland and Britain as they expelled the national language from schools. These schools were also originally multi-denominational, having members from many religions in charge. However by the end of the nineteenth century, the system had become increasingly denominational. Individuals began to choose which school to attend in order to cater for their own religion (Walsh, 2011).
As the Irish language started to decrease rapidly, many Irish leaders started to announce their disgust and sadness. For example Douglas Hyde, expressed his outrage and disappointment at the loss of the Irish language (Cahill, 2007). He believed that Irish was a part of Ireland’s national identity. He also thought that by losing the Irish language, the beliefs and customs of Ireland were lost as well. He expressed great anger and scolded the Irish people for abandoning the national language. He believed that was a sign that the Irish people were content under the British Rule (Cahill,
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Murphy was born in Galway but spent his early childhood in Ceylon, Sri Lanka where is father served with the British colonial service (Siddall, 2001). He was very interested in the exploration into his dual Anglo-Irish and Irish identity. Murphy’s poem “Carlow Village Schoolhouse” highlights the struggle and hardship faced by Irish people in the nineteenth century. This poem pays special tribute to this schoolmaster who struggled through repression and famine to educate himself and his pupils. The speaker in this poem is the schoolhouse, and is addressing the poet about the past. He is informing the poet about the hardship his grandfather went through during the nineteenth century (Siddall, 2001). The schoolhouse explains how he freed the children from “bog-dens and sod-huts” (Murphy,

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