Here is part of a recent interesting article featured in ‘Breac- Digital Journal of Irish Studies’ it gives an interesting insight to Sir Roger Casement, his involvement in the Gaelic League and his visit to the Inishowen Peninsula to learn Irish in the Urris Gaeltacht area.
Casement’s visit was reported in the Derry Journal as a recollection by a local schoolmaster Mr. Boyle who taught at Sleandran near Buncrana in Inishowen.
The article gives an interesting insight into the Irish language in the area as well as the historical link between the important historical figure of Roger Casement and Inishowen.
The loss of the Irish language in Ireland has been something that has been documented in detail but this article shines a light on the loss of the language in our own Inishowen in Urris which in the not too distant past was a local Gaeltacht area of native Irish speakers with a distinct dialect.
This article is part of the Digital Journal of Irish Studies of Notre Dame University USA and other interesting articles on Irish History and Cultural Heritage can be found on their website breac.nd.edu
Recent articles of Inishowen interest have included looking at some of the work of Brian Friel and Frank McGuinness.
ROGER CASEMENT AND THE IRISH LANGUAGE IN INISHOWEN (ARTICLE IN ‘BREAC – DIGITAL JOURNAL OF IRISH STUDIES)
All of the foregoing is ‘ad rem’ when we first formally encounter Casement in the Gaelic arena in 1904 when he first made his presence felt in those circles. From then on he is a central and important contributor to the Movement not only ideologically, practically, and in terms of generating publicity, but in bankrolling actual Gaelic-related causes. As for his knowledge of Irish prior to that year, very little is known for certain. It is stated that his friend, Robert Lynd, a Gaelic activist and teacher of Irish in the Gaelic League, St. Andrew’s Hall (Oxford Street, London), taught Irish to Roger Casement from 1902 to 1903. We also have the following account of a prolonged immersion in Irish in the Donegal Gaeltacht but no dates are recorded:
Casement too was a lover of the Irish language, which brought him more than once to Donegal, the nearest large Gaeltacht to his Antrim home. A member of our society, Mr. Cecil A. King, when staff reporter some years ago with The Derry Journal, took down the following story from a Master Boyle, who taught at Sleandran, near Buncrana: In Inishowen: When Roger Casement resolved to go to the Gaeltacht to learn Irish, the place he selected was Urris in Inishowen. He walked the whole way from Ballymoney in Co. Antrim, to Lishally, crossed the ferry to Culmore, proceeded over the Scalp, along the old road to Buncrana, and thence through the Gap of Mamore to Urris. Here he spent six months, living the life of the people, hearing and speaking nothing but Irish, and leaving for his home in Antrim with a good working knowledge of the vernacular. He is said to have lodged in the townland of Tiernasligo. He usually wore a “well-ye-coat” (a sleeved waistcoat) made of homespun. In those six months he learned to love the place and the people, laying the foundations of an affection that he retained to the last.