• Money Matters: Encounter and Economic Disparity in Irish-language Travel Narratives

    Eimear Kennedy
    Rita Singer (see profile)
    Cultural Studies, Global & Transnational Studies, Imperialism & Exploration
    Travel, Travel writing, Minorities, Linguistic minorities, Irish language, Developing countries
    Item Type:
    travel writing, Irish language, White Privilege, Media images of Global South, Cultural tourism, british empire
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    Travel has always been an extremely important theme in Irish-language literature, but often this travel was motivated by financial hardship and, up until the late twentieth century, Irish-language accounts of travel largely documented the emigrant experience. In more recent years, however, Irish-language literature has witnessed a transition from emigration literature to travel literature, with Irish-language writers now recounting journeys undertaken for leisure purposes to destinations all over the world. The evolution of travel literature in the Irish language is, therefore, rather different to the evolution of the genre in major world languages, such as English or French, and the growth of Irish-language travel literature in recent years has highlighted that Irish-language travel writers have a unique background and perspective. Writing in a minoritized language, Irish-language travel writers themselves occupy a somewhat marginal position and, coming from a country that has first-hand experience of colonization, they often criticize Western hegemony and express solidarity with peoples who have lost elements of their language or culture as a result of their encounter with dominant world powers. On the other hand, they are also relatively wealthy travellers from an economically developed country in Western Europe. This unstable positioning can result in encounters that are fraught with ethical dilemmas for Irish-language writers when they travel. By looking at the travel writing of four Irish-language writers [...] this article explores the encounters between Irish-language travel writers and foreign peoples and cultures. It investigates the attempts made by these writers to distance themselves from cultural, political and economic hegemony of Western powers but also highlights the often ambivalent positioning of Irish-language travel writers and demonstrates the barriers to encounter and the asymmetrical power structures that economic inequality can create.
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Last Updated:
    8 months ago


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