This is the story of republican prisoners who learned the Irish language during the 1970s in Crumlin Road Jail, the Cages of Long Kesh, the H-Blocks and Armagh Women’s Prison. Republican prisoners had political status in the early part of the 1970s and were able to avail of teachers and textbooks, as well as the experience of older fellow prisoners. However in the 1976 the policy of criminalisation was introduced and political status was removed from republican prisoners. Prisoners who refused to accept this policy began the blanket protest.

Having no access to writing material or books, beyond a Bible in each cell, the prisoners found new ways to learn and to teach the Irish language to each other in the most difficult of circumstances.

With Diarmaid Mac an tSionnaigh, Eibhlín Uí Choileáin, Jake Mac Siacais, Laurence McKeown and Pilib Ó Ruanaí.


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