Hidden Ulster: Protestants and the Irish Language

Padraig O'Snodaigh

About the book…

A seminal exploration of the roots of northern Irish Protestant culture, and now in a greatly expanded and revised third edition, this historic work has the power to shock and surprise a new readership, O Snodaigh relentlessly pursues, through obscure archives and the diligent researches of local historians north and south, the ghosts of Protestant Gaeldom over four centuries. 

Investigating northern Protestant engagement with the Irish language, O Snodaigh, in subverting the easy certainties of hand-me-down history, with its pre-conceived notions of planter and native ethnic distinction, demonstrates that not only was a substantial number of the early planters Gaelic-speakers, but that many of them embraced as their own several key aspects of Irish custom and culture: moreover, that it was Protestants of the north who were primarily responsible for the attempts to revive the language in the midst of its history of decline. 

This work has made an indispensable contribution to the repertoire of northern Irish cultural ideas. It continues to do so.

Photo of the author, Padraig O'Snodaigh

About the author…

Pádraig Ó Snodaigh was born in Carlow in 1935. An activist for the Irish Language, he is a poet, writer and publisher.

He was assistant keeper of the National Museum from 1963-88, and President of the Gaelic League from 1974-78.

He has published scholarly works such as Two Godfathers of Revisionism (1991), Hidden Ulster: Protestants & the Irish Language (1998); and The Irish Volunteers, 1715-1793 (1995); a novel, Ó Pharnell go Queenie (1991); and poetry collections, including Cumba agus Cumann (1985); and Cúl le Cúl (1988).

He is founder and editor of Coscéim, which has been a seminal influence in Irish language publishing since the 1980s.

He lives in Dublin.