TO THE READERS
The Gaelic Journal.
The heavy burden of establishing and conducting a periodical exclusively devoted to the interests of the Irish Language has rightly fallen to the Council of the Gaelic Union.
Their wisdom and patriotism have been proved by their work, and by no portion of their work more than by the lines which they have laid down for the conduct of this periodical. Their provisional circular, widely distributed, and which has met with all but universal approbation, indicates clearly the course of action.
It is well known that they have for some years conducted in several important weekly journals “Gaelic Departments,” which have prepared the way for their Gaelic Journal, and have, in fact, rendered the establishment of such a journal a matter of necessity.
Since they first commenced their work, now more than six years ago, the feeling in favour of the preservation of our ancient language in those districts, where it still keeps its ground has been steadily increasing. The progress towards the end in view may have been slow, but it has been sure; and now, at length, what there can be no hesitation in considering the most important step yet decided on, and likely to be the most useful and most productive of good results, is about to be taken.
The Council having unanimously decided on appointing me Editor of their journal, it is necessary that I should say a few words as to the hope I have of being able to do some service in that position.
I have too high a sense of the honour they have thus done me, and too keen an appreciation of the spirit which prompted the proposal, to attempt to decline it, or to hesitate about undertaking a work of labour and responsibility.
Were it not that I know very well on whom I can depend for willing help in this work, I should be the very reverse of confident. The early numbers will show that those who have all along provided the varied literary contributions in prose and poetry for the “Gaelic Departments” of which I had charge, are still working in such a way as will probably, in a very short time, render my office, as before, almost a sinecure. The difficulty I have hitherto experienced was, not the want of readable original matter, but the want of space in the scanty column or so allowed me in newspapers, and which very often caused great disappointment to able contributors who were only anxious to work for the production of a modern Gaelic literature, if permitted.
It will be strange, indeed, if this journal, founded as it is on an independent basis, going neither to the right nor to the left, but keeping its object steadily in view, should be allowed to languish and die. Established, not as a commercial, but as a purely patriotic undertaking, and by those who have already given such good earnest of their zeal and energy, I cannot believe that Irishmen will fail in their clear duty of sustaining the Gaelic Union, which in this effort needs the aid of all.
Many things are yet necessary to complete_our country’s regeneration and secure her happiness, but I am unwilling to believe that in the struggle she would suffer her language to be lost; and I think that if the case were fairly put before the people, they would not purchase a (perhaps) very temporary material advantage by the loss of the one grand link which binds them to the past—the one indelible, undying and unmistakable mark of Irishmen.
The Late Archbishop MacHale.
On the 7th November, 1881, the great defender and supporter of the Irish language departed this life. It is now exactly a year since the elegy we print in this number was written by the youthful Gaelic poet, so well known under the nom-de-plume of “An Chraoibhin Aoibhinn.” We content ourselves on the anniversary of the sad event