Dr Ben O Ceallaigh BA, MA, PhD

Dr Ben O Ceallaigh

Lecturer in Celtic Studies

Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies

Contact Details


I grew up in the west of Ireland and did my undergraduate degree in Politics, Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Galway. After spending several years living in an Irish-speaking ("Gaeltacht") community I did an MA in language revitalisation in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, the division of the University of Galway which teaches through the medium of Irish. Following this, I received a scholarship to do a PhD in the University of Edinburgh's Department of Celtic Studies. In 2021 I received the Joshua A. Fishman Award for my thesis, a triennial accolade which recognises "an outstanding dissertation that pushes intellectual boundaries and offers innovative, forward-looking perspectives in the sociology of language". A monograph based on this PhD was published in 2022. 

In addition to my work within academia I also have a wide range of other experience both as a language activist and professional practitioner in the field of language revitalisation in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. 

Hapus i siarad Cymraeg / Gaeilge agus fáilte / Fàilte air cho-fhreagartas sa Ghàidhlig / Looayr Gaelg rhoom / Ankaŭ mi ĝojegas praktiki Esperanton!


Module Coordinator


My research interests primarily focus on the relationships between political economy and language vitality - looking specifically at the ways in which capitalism negatively affects minoritised languages. To this end I have conducted extensive research on the effects of post-2008 economic developments on Irish-speaking communities and Irish-language policy, exploring how austerity and neoliberalism are in direct opposition to the sort of supports minoritised languages typically need. I have also conducted some research on how the macro-economic developments of the last 15 years have impacted Scottish Gaelic, Manx and Welsh.

Additionally, I have a deep interest in how language revitalisation policy can fruitfully align with environmental policy in a time of rapidly exacerbating ecological crisis. In coming years I hope to expand my focus to examine in more detail how heterodox political ideologies such as democratic confederalism can be more conducive to minority language rights than those models based on the state and capitalism which are currently hegemonic.


O Ceallaigh, B 2022, 'Economic Disruption and Language Shift: Some Ethnographic Data from Ireland After the 2008 Crash', Studia Celtica Posnaniensia, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 17-45. 10.2478/scp-2021-0002
O Ceallaigh, B 2022, Interests, power, and austerity in Irish- language policy 2008– 2018. in M Nekula, T Sherman & H Zawiszová (eds), Interests and Power in Language Management. Prague Papers on Language, Society and Interaction / Prager Arbeiten zur Sprache, Gesellschaft und Interaktion, vol. 6, Peter Lang, pp. 149-176. <https://library.oapen.org/handle/20.500.12657/53919>
Ó Ceallaigh, B 2022, Neoliberalism and language shift: Lessons from the Republic of Ireland Post-2008. De Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110768909
O Ceallaigh, B (ed.), y Lewin, C, Spalding-Jenkin, T, ap Glyn, I, Paterson, SA, Huddleson, R, Bleiman, D, Jennings, G, Karbowska, A, Wallner, L & Mac an Tuairneir, M 2022, Polaris. Leamington Books.
O Ceallaigh, B 2021, 'Breithiúnas an Bhoird Snip Nua agus Toil an Troika: Polasaí Gaeilge i bPoblacht na hÉireann, 2008–2018', ComharTAIGHDE, vol. 2021, no. 7. 10.18669/ct.2021.05
More publications on the Research Portal