This is the first attempt to analyze Gaelscoil (Irish-medium school) activists using the lens of Gramscian subalternity. The activists who founded Irish-medium schools in the early 1970s are situated as part of the subaltern that exists in postcolonial countries. Drawing on later work on subalternity by Indian scholars, this article considers Gaelscoil activists within the context of colonial social production. Heeding Gramsci’s call to study the changing modes of production that give rise to new subaltern groups, it then examines the emergence of the Gaelscoil founding groups formed by these activists within the context of the rapidly globalizing capitalist economy of the Southern Irish state. Though the Gaelscoil activists drew on nineteenth-century ideologies of revitalization, during the early 1970s they managed to accommodate the Irish language to the Anglophone-dominated modern world. In the process, they birthed a decolonial movement that has impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of Gaelscoil students over the last fifty years.

You do not currently have access to this content.