Georgia Southern University

Irish Series opens Aug. 29 with an update on political structures in the Celtic nations

In its fall 2006 events series, the Center for Irish Studies at Georgia Southern University will focus on the seven Celtic nations and the larger topic of regionalism among those nations. The series opens Tuesday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. with ‘New Political Structures for Celtic Peoples: Devolution and Beyond,” a lecture and discussion by Steven Engel, associate professor of political science and director of the University’s Honors Program. His talk will take place in Room 1004 of the College of Information Technology Building, and it is free and open to the public.

In his lecture, Engel explores how and why certain lands along Western Europe’s “Celtic Fringe” have gained greater political autonomy in recent years. These lands include Galicia, Brittany, Cornwall, Wales, the Isle of Man, Scotland, and Ireland.

Over the centuries, these nations have experienced cultural and political revivals, often to assert difference from the dominant regional powers: Spain, France, and England.

In 1998, Tony Blair’s New Labor government shepherded into existence legislatures for Scotland and Wales, two self-identified Celtic countries long ruled from London. This change, called devolution, constitutes a major re-imagining of the United Kingdom.

In that same year Northern Ireland, the UK’s most troubled region, received a new home-rule legislature. The unicameral Northern Ireland Assembly emerged as part of the landmark Anglo-Irish Good Friday Agreement. With members elected via proportional representation, the plan was designed to facilitate power-sharing among historically divided Nationalist (Irish Republican) and Loyalist (British Unionist) populations.

The next event in the series will be a screening of John Crowley’s movie, ‘Intermission,”starring Colin Farrell and Cillian Murphy on Monday, September 11 at 7:15 p.m. To learn more about the Center for Irish Studies, go to

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