The Gaelic League was founded in 1893 with the aim of reviving the Irish language, as well as promoting home-grown industries and social reform. By the turn of the century, it had become one of the most important cultural organisations in Ireland. This article studies a central element of the league's ideology and praxis, albeit one that has thus far received little attention: its promotion of a specifically nationalist understanding of Irish space. ‘Space’ was a key trope for the Gaelic League and was linked to a number of other dominant nationalist concerns: state sovereignty, race, gender and modernity. Moreover, this article argues that a focus on ‘space’ allows for a better comparative understanding of Irish nationalism, since similar spatial logics were at play in other late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century national movements both in Europe and in the (post)colonial world.