Current Affairs Politics The Irish Language - An Ghaeilge

Celtic Nationalism: Six Nations, One Soul

Some good news for all Celtic Nationalists. Carn, the regular news, current affairs and culture magazine of the Celtic League is now online, with all editions of the publication from 1973 to 2010 available to download for free from the League’s website. This new initiative is to mark the 50th anniversary of the Celtic League’s foundation in 1961 as an organisation to promote the freedom and unity of the surviving Celtic nations of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, Cornwall and Brittany, a role which has led to it being officially recognised by the United Nations.

Carn itself is a treasure trove of information on the Celtic Nations, their languages, cultures, histories and politics, and it noted for the very many insightful articles on current issues effecting the Celtic countries. I highly recommend a look through the archives. You might be surprised by what you find there.

For those wanting to know more about the Celtic League and the excellent work they do to promote the spirit of solidarity and community amongst the Celtic peoples then check out their website here. There is a much-praised and regular up-to-date mailing list with the latest news from both the League itself and across the Celtic world in general, that is highly recommended if you are looking for an introduction to the growing politics of Celtic Nationalism. Details about joining the Celtic League, which is open to everyone with an interest (or passion), is available here.

The League is close to a similar Pan-Celtic organisation, An Chomhdháil Cheilteach or the Celtic Congress, founded in 1902 as a cultural rather than political organisation it promotes the native languages and cultures of the Celtic Nations. The Congress is partly funded by the Government of Ireland and has members in all the Celtic countries, though unlike the League it is markedly more low-profile and is rarely active outside of the academic fields. Most of its work involves bringing together people in the areas of Celtic research, scholarship and education and in recent decades it has, sadly, played little role in promoting the Celtic languages and cultures to the general public. Perhaps increased funding and focus from the Irish state could change that but at the moment it is largely a scholarly enterprise, though a praiseworthy one.

The Celtic Congress is very regrettably not open to a general membership though the representatives in the various Celtic nations can be contacted here.

Another great organisation, though Pan-Gaelic rather than Pan-Celtic, is the Iomairt Cholm Cille or Columba Project, jointly set up and funded by the governments of Ireland and Scotland in 1997. The Project promotes the shared Gaelic languages and cultures of the Irish and Scots, and is probably the most active of the state-supported groups, with numerous programs running in the areas of education, heritage, sports, music, literature and media. It is noteworthy for having brought together politicians and civil servants from Ireland and Scotland in promoting and overseeing these programs and is at the forefront of encouraging a sense of common identity amongst these two Gaelic nations.

Those seeking funding can apply here or contact the Project directly via here.

Though absent from its initial foundation it is hoped that the third Gaelic nation, the Isle of Man, will in time join the Project, though the Mann’s recent governments have shown little enthusiasm in co-operating with their fellow Gaels, particularly in the areas of funding and language rights. The Isle of Man has a particularly poor record for respecting the rights of those expressing a native Gaelic identity and most initiatives there have been community-based with minimal or no state input.

Another important organisation is the Féile Pan Cheilteach or the Pan Celtic Festival, a body that stages an annual festival on a consecutive basis throughout the Celtic nations, as well as promoting and coordinating individual celebrations in Brittany, Cornwall, Wales and the Isle of Man. The individual national committees can be contacted here.

Finally to the famous Agence Bretagne Presse or ABP. Founded in 2003 as a voice for the indigenous Celtic people of Breizh or Brittany, who still face the active hostility of the French state towards their language and culture, it has become something of a beacon amongst Celtic Nationalists, since it carries stories on all the Celtic nations, with regular articles on the Celtic League and other Pan-Celtic organisations. Recently re-launched it is a shining example of what a group of committed Celtic activists are capable of in this web 2.0 age (or are we now entering 3.0?). Available in Breton, French and English the site is in constant need of contributors from the Celtic Nations so if you feel you have what it takes please contact them.

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