Most place names in Ireland today are the anglicization of pre-existing Gaelic toponyms that were “translated” into English during the nineteenth century and reverted to their Irish form after independence. The process, however, was not a simple return to the past because only the names that bore overt evidence of the Empire were scratched off the map and replaced, whereas the majority of Irish toponyms were turned into bilingual names in which Gaelic and English coexisted in gazet-teers and street signs. Since the creation of the Free State in 1922, post-colonial Ireland has struggled to redefine its own national and cultural identity and has tried to come to terms with the manifold legacy of Brit-ish colonization. The concept of hybridity theorized in postcolonial studies applies to Irish place names as well, both on a linguistic and a cultural level. The story of toponyms like Cove/Queenstown/an Cóbh/Cóbh perfectly embodies the complexities of the linguistic and cultural stratifications of contemporary Ireland. Moreover, it requires a diachronic and multi-layered analysis of how colonialism and post-colonialism are intertwined in the representations of national identity and in the discursive construction of Ireland’s historical and cultural heritage.

From Queenstown to An Cóbh/Cóbh: Naming and renaming in (post)colonial Ireland

Mirko Casagranda
2018

Abstract

Most place names in Ireland today are the anglicization of pre-existing Gaelic toponyms that were “translated” into English during the nineteenth century and reverted to their Irish form after independence. The process, however, was not a simple return to the past because only the names that bore overt evidence of the Empire were scratched off the map and replaced, whereas the majority of Irish toponyms were turned into bilingual names in which Gaelic and English coexisted in gazet-teers and street signs. Since the creation of the Free State in 1922, post-colonial Ireland has struggled to redefine its own national and cultural identity and has tried to come to terms with the manifold legacy of Brit-ish colonization. The concept of hybridity theorized in postcolonial studies applies to Irish place names as well, both on a linguistic and a cultural level. The story of toponyms like Cove/Queenstown/an Cóbh/Cóbh perfectly embodies the complexities of the linguistic and cultural stratifications of contemporary Ireland. Moreover, it requires a diachronic and multi-layered analysis of how colonialism and post-colonialism are intertwined in the representations of national identity and in the discursive construction of Ireland’s historical and cultural heritage.
978-88-6458-191-0
Postcolonial names, critical toponymy, Queenstown, Postcolonial Ireland
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/292038
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