This book investigates the origins, development and key features ofIrish English, a variety of English spoken and used in Ireland. Theaim of the book is to offer a critical reading of the multiple effects ofthe protracted English colonization on Irish society, and to illustratethe importance of contact and retention in explaining features of IrishEnglish. The main issues at stake are the inclusion of Ireland in thecritical framework of postcolonial studies and the analysis of IrishEnglish as one of the first varieties of world Englishes.Throughout the book, different types of texts in the Hallidayantradition of units of meaning, appear as Insets, and exemplify how issuesrelating to representation and language go hand in hand and cannot beseparated when discussing Irish English. The Insets include differentgenres and text types (letters, poems, pamphlets, portraits etc.) andmay either be read side by side while reading the volume or, separately,as exempla. They also illustrate how Ireland can be considered,linguistically and culturally, as a colonial laboratory where the Englishapplied, and experimented with, colonial strategies which contributedto the creation of the British Empire.