Portal:Celtic Studies

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Celtic Studies

edit Celtic Studies is the academic discipline occupied with the study of any sort of cultural output relating to a Celtic people. This ranges from archaeology to history, the focus lying on the study of the various Celtic languages, living and extinct. The primary areas of focus are the six Celtic languages which still survive, or have only recently become extinct: Irish, Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Manx, Cornish and on the continent, Breton. Many consider the Celtic languages to be the least studied surviving branch of the Indo-European language family. The field has at this time barely been surveyed; this is due to the small number of trained experts.[citation needed] Thus it is possible for relatively inexperienced scholars to make a significant contribution.

As a university subject, it is taught at a number of universities worldwide, most of them, obviously, in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England and Brittany. Some universities in the US, Canada, Germany, Poland, Austria and the Netherlands offer courses as well.


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edit The Irish people (Irish: Muintir na hÉireann, na hÉireannaigh, na Gaeil) are a Western European ethnic group who originate in Ireland, in north western Europe. Ireland has been populated for 9,000 years, with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolgs, Tuatha Dé Danann and the Milesians — the last group supposedly representing the "pure" Gaelic ancestry, and still serving as a term for the Irish race today. The main groups that interacted with the Irish in the Middle Ages include the Scottish people and the Vikings, with the Icelanders especially having some Irish descent. The Anglo-Norman invasion of the High Middle Ages, the English plantations and the subsequent English rule of the country introduced the Normans, Welsh, Flemish, Anglo-Saxons, and Bretons into Ireland.

Finnian of Clonard imparting his blessing to the "Twelve Apostles of Ireland"

There have been many notable Irish people throughout history. The 6th century Irish monk and missionary Columbanus is regarded as one of the "fathers of Europe". The Anglo-Irish scientist Robert Boyle is considered the "father of chemistry". Famous Irish explorers include Brendan the Navigator, Ernest Shackleton, and Tom Crean. The first European child born in North America had Irish descent on both sides. An Irishman was also the first to set foot on American soil in Columbus' expedition of 1492.

The Irish people are most famous for their writers. Until the end of the early modern period, the Irish were proficient at both speaking and writing in Latin and Greek. Notable Irish writers in the English language include Jonathan Swift, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats and Seamus Heaney. Some of the 20th century writers in the Irish language include Brian O'Nolan, Peig Sayers, James Joyce, Muiris Ó Súilleabháin and Máirtín Ó Direáin.

People of Irish ethnicity outside of Ireland are common in many western countries, particularly in English-speaking countries. Historically, emigration has been caused by politics, religious oppression and economic issues. Over 80 million people make up the Irish diaspora today, which includes Great Britain, Australia, Canada, Argentina, New Zealand, Mexico, France and Germany. The largest number of people of Irish descent live in the United States — about ten times more than in Ireland itself.

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Muiredach's High Cross, Ireland, early 10th century
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