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9. Celt in the City: Forgotten Identity

Mother of Gerald Keogh

Mary, mother of Gerald Keogh (family archives)

A Long Established Social Identity

James Joyce’s retreat scene in Grace in Dubliners is a statement about the strength of the middle-class Catholics in the city at the beginning of the 20th century (article #8 GKIS). They were a long-established social group and must have taken time to grow and develop into the positions they held in the early 1900s.

The class was divided into two: Catholics of a Gaelic origin and those with Old English roots. Unfortunately, most historians tend to lump both groups together and, in so doing, mask the unique evolution of each separate entity.

As a result, when writing Shelter and Shadows, author Raymond Keogh realised that he would have to undertake his own research into the origins and growth of his father’s people—the Gaelic middle-class of Dublin—if he was to understand their identity fully.[3]

Recent Publication


Spotting the Gaelic Merchants & Traders of Dublin

The outcome of this research is an article entitled: The Emergence and Growth of Gaelic Merchants and Traders in Dublin 1660-1911 which has been published recently by The Dublin Historical Record.[1]

The article helps us to understand a society that has been given scant attention in academic circles. At the same time it underlines the fact that the nation chose to ignore the indigenous urban reality.

Gearóid Ó Crualaoich states: Folklore … was a main ground for the ideological bias that disregarded contemporary and urban popular culture in the official reckoning and promotion of cultural self-perception and in its official representation.[2]

This bias is responsible for a distorted view of constitutional evolution in pre-independence Ireland. The conclusion serves, once more, to question just how much the Irish really know of themselves and their identity.

Illustrated e-Booklet

We are happy to provide you with a free illustrated ebooklet called Celt in the City which is based on the new article and Shelter and Shadows.[1 & 2] The booklet is presented in the form of an interactive flipbook—the first of The Gerald Keogh Identity Series—next:

Alternative view of CELT IN THE CITY: here


[1] Keogh, R. M. 2015. The Emergence and Growth of Gaelic Merchants and Traders in Dublin 1660-1911. The Dublin Historical Record. Vol. 68 (2): 149-162.

[2] Ó Crualaoich, G. 2003. De Valera’s other Ireland. In: Doherty,G. and Keogh, D. De Valera’s Irelands. Mercier Press; p. 155.

[3] Shelter and Shadows (to be published in September 2016 as part of The Gerald Keogh Identity Series) here

GKIS Gerald Keogh Identity Series

Coming Next

Gaelic Roots of an Urban Identity here