Language - Irish

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The Irish language has a long and very rich history and boasts the oldest vernacular literature of any in Western Europe. Irish Gaelic was also exported to Scotland and the Isle of Man, whose languages grew up as a variant of Gaelige. While English made significant inroads from the 18th century onwards, Irish was the majority language of the island until the 19th century.

The Gaelic revival began in the early 20th century, spurred on by the foundation of the Irish Free State in 1922. Today, Irish has a unique status among Celtic languages in being the national and first official language of a country - the Republic of Ireland. It is also one of the official languages of the European Union.

There are estimated to be around 60-80,000 native speakers – around 10% of the population of the Republic - concentrated in western and northern counties. However, some 40% of the population claimed some ability to speak the language in the latest census. Irish is a compulsory subject in all schools that receive public funding and there is a popular Irish language television station.

Some words to get you started:

Irish language Gaeilge
Hello Dia duit
How are you? Conas ata tu?
Goodbye Slan
Welcome Failte
Please Le do thoil
Thank you Go raibh maith agat
Cheers Slainte


Irish Language Board
Easy Irish