Irish on the walls: the branding of a language

By: Gabriella Rava


Volume: 06
Issue: 02:2020
ISSN: 2459-2943
DOI: 10.18680/hss.2020.0028
Pages: 189-205
Lic.: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0



By the time the Belfast City Council launched a new logo in 2007, rebranding Belfast had become a central issue. The symbolic center of Belfast, the City Council building, presents itself as a post-modern and fully globalized space, neutralizing the memory of an area stigmatized by decades-long violence known as The Troubles. Like other cities with a traumatic past, such as Berlin, Belfast tries to promote itself as a modern and lively place, well aware of the importance of exploiting memory as a tourist attraction. The article examines the Irish language’s resemantization in Belfast, particularly in the Gaeltacht quarter area, during and after The Troubles. Based on a paper by Siun Carden (2017), the article tries to connect the core of the author’s observations to language’s phatic function. The idea is that the contemporary branding of Irishness through the use of the Irish language on Belfast’s murals works as an effective mythomoteur, a concept comparable to the mythe projectif elaborated by Bertrand (2019) in the case of Paris’s rebranding.


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