[World War One letters in Irish by Father Pádraig Mac Giolla Cheara] This article comprises an introduction and edited text of letters written by a Donegal chaplain of the First World War, an tAthair Pádraig Mac Giolla Cheara. The letters first appeared in three isues of a short-lived Donegal periodical, An Crann, of which very few copies have survived. The purpose of the article was to bring to the attention of scholars, and others with an interest in Irish writing, the text and context of the only known Irish-language record of events at the front. The public interest in the story of Irish soldiers in the First World War has increased considerably in recent years, due in part to the influence of Frank McGuinness’ play, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme from the late 1980s onwards. In 2004 a landmark RTÉ television documentary dealt specifically with the subject of Donegal soldiers of the war whose memory was almost entirely eclipsed by the 1916 Easter Rising and War of Independence (1919-21). The introduction to the Mac Giolla Cheara’s letters provides a summary of biographical information on the author as well as essential contextual explanation of some of the letters’ themes. These include Mac Giolla Chearas’s criticism of the anti-clericalist tradition in France and the eventual separation of church and state which issued from this in 1905. The text of the letters was reproduced in standardised form in this article, following the method of Mac Giolla Domhnaigh and Stockman in Athchló Uladh (Belfast 1991), in order to increase their accessibility to students and general readers alike.
|Journal||Taighde agus Teagasc|
|Publication status||Published - 30 Sep 2004|