The Irish Language

21 Dec

Something that really interested me throughout this semester is the Irish language. I found it fascinating to hear it spoken in day-to-day life in the Aran Islands, and I found our visit to Conradh na Gaeilge especially interesting as well. It shocks me that I was unaware of the language prior to coming to Ireland (or at least I didn’t know it was called “Irish” as apposed to just “Gaelic”), and already I bring up the Irish language when talking to friends and family at home when they ask about Ireland. I was inspired by Conradh na Gaeilge’s dedication to preserving the Irish language. I think it is really valuable to have the club downstairs where everyone can speak Irish to each other.


After visiting Conradh na Gaeilge, I became interested in the prevalence of the Irish language in Ireland. According to the census report released in 2011, the number of Irish speakers in Ireland has increased by 7.1% since 2006. The number of people outside of the education system who speak Irish has increased by 5,037 people. In addition, those who speak Irish on a weekly basis have increased by 7,781 and there are now 27,239 more people who sometimes speak  Irish (not all the time, but they are able to). In Gaeltacht areas, 35% of the people there speak Irish on a day-to-day basis. According to the Irish Times, the Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Dinny McGinley said that there is a 20-year strategy to develop and preserve the Irish language. The goal is to achieve a 25% increase in Irish speakers in this area, and thus the statistics released are a positive sign. Through my research, I have also learned that Irish is the third most spoken language in Ireland. The other two languages are English and Polish, which I found particularly interesting and surprising.


I’m glad to see the number of Irish speakers in Ireland increasing and to see organizations like Conradh na Gaeilge work to preserve the language. Irish is so important to Irish culture.  It is unique to Ireland and should be more prominent in the country.


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