Cause for Action
Imagine a country where a person’s belongings could be taken at any moment and then given to someone else for no apparent reason. Likewise, that same person’s culture, their way of life, would be disregarded, and they would be forced to use a new language and adapt to a different culture. After the culture is done away with, those who remember it die off rapidly. Even with the declining culture, religious persecution becomes apparent along with the long political conflicts. This very incident occurred at the end of the 19th century. It happened in Ireland to the Gaelic culture, but a man by the name of Douglas Hyde wasn’t about to let his culture disappear. Thus the Gaelic League was created.
Many problems had to pave the way for this unique and distinctive league to form in 1893. It took a previous group, the Gaelic Athletic Association, to motivate the strong opposition of eliminating the Irish heritage. Also the Home Rule Act, set in place by England, added yet another harsh tone to Ireland. Furthermore the Irish education was showing a bleak outlook for the future. This created a need for Irish independence therefore making the Gaelic League possible.
The Irish population dropped rapidly during the Great Potato Famine causing much of what was left of the Irish speaking people to be no more. The potato was a major crop in Ireland at the time and yet today; in the mid 1800’s it was their only crop because of the amount of nutrients supplied in one potato and the number of potatoes yielded in each acre. The Irish farmers were too poor and had very little money to invest in any other crop except potato. Consequently when a virus went through the land killing most of the potato crops, many people were killed along with them; most dying of starvation, and some diseases that couldn’t be fought in their malnourished bodies.
Many Irish then tried to immigrate to America. What used to be a small amount of immigrants, turned into a flood of Irish wanting to leave Ireland. Because of the high demand of people wanting to leave quickly, the normal route of stopping in Liverpool turned into a straight shot to America. Most immigrants died en route from diseases, and many died when ships frequently would sink, due to holding more than their maximum capacity. This was one reason for a tremendous drop in the Irish population.
By 1891, 14.5% of the Irish nation claimed to speak the language.
The Gaelic Athletic Association was a vital precursor to the formation of the Gaelic League. It was established on November 1st, 1884. One of the Gaelic Athletic Association’s goals was to construct games promoting the Gaelic culture, and provide rules and encouragement to the people of Ireland to participate in Irish recreation and sports. It first concerned itself with the athletics. The association set up competitions at local parishes and other places...