Book-Hidden Ireland in Victoria

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Hidden Ireland in Victoria

Val Noone ISBN 978 1 876478 83 4

There is more evidence of a hidden Ireland in Victoria than most previous writers have reported. By hidden Ireland is meant the songs, stories, poems, prayers, conversations, gestures and accents of the Irish language and its associated events, monuments, sports and so on. The Irish who migrated to Victoria, though they lived and spoke in an English-speaking society, were influenced by that hidden Ireland; and from the beginning some of them used Irish as a living language.

Thus, one can find in Australian family histories remarks such as, “Grandfather spoke Gaelic". In this book Irish language and Gaelic are used interchangeably with the exception of cases where Gaelic culture has a wider meaning that includes Scots Gaelic as well.

The people under discussion in Hidden Ireland are the 200,000-300,000 who came to Victoria from Ireland (either directly or via other places) since the founding of the British colony of Port Phillip on Kulin lands in 1834 – it became the Colony of Victoria in 1851 – to the present, and their descendants. The biggest numbers came in the four decades of 1850-1890, following the Great Famine in Ireland and the gold rush in Victoria.