Irish Gaelic


January 23, 2022

Irish Gaelic or Irish Gaelic, or simply Irish or Irish (Gaeilge, pronounced [ˈɡeːlʲɟə]), is a language spoken as a native language on the island of Ireland by about 85,000 people, predominantly in the rural western parts of Ireland. 'island. Irish was the language of Ireland before the English conquered the island during the Middle Ages. Irish, along with Scottish Gaelic and Manx, belongs to the Goidelian branch of the Celtic languages, and is usually considered the language with the third oldest literature in Europe, after Greek and Latin. Irish independence (originally called the Irish Free State), Irish has been its co-official language, along with English. Since 1998 with the Good Friday Agreement, Irish is also a co-official language in Northern Ireland, under the United Kingdom. Currently, Irish is the mother tongue of just over 2% of the population in the republic (about 70,000 people) and about 30,000 more in Northern Ireland. Irish-speaking communities and areas are called Gaeltachtaí (singular, Gaeltacht). The Gaeltacht with the largest population is Conamara in County Galway and includes the Aran Islands. Since the government of the republic requires residents to study Irish in public schools, many people know how to speak it as a second language. Most people have at least a general understanding of the language. Although the main language of Ireland remains English, there are newspapers, magazines and radio stations available in Irish throughout the island (and especially in the Gaeltachtaí). Also, since 1996, there is a television channel in Irish called Teilifís na Gaeilge or TG4.


The three main Irish dialects are: Ulaidh or Dhún na nGall, spoken in the North, in the county of Donegal. Connachta, in the center, in Mayo and Galway counties, in Tourmakeady (Tuar Mhic Éadaigh) and Joyce Country (Dúthaigh Sheoige). An Mhumhain, in the Gaeltachtaí of Kerry (Ciarraí), Coolea (Cúil Aodha) in the west of the county of Cork (Contae Chorcaí), and small nuclei in Dungarvan (Dún Garbháin) in Waterford.

Evolution of the language situation

Until 1600, those who spoke English on the island were a minority. In 1830 there were one million monolingual Gaelic speakers in all of Ireland and three and a half million more bilinguals. In 1841 there were about four million speakers, but after the potato famine and the great emigrations, by 1851 there had been a reduction of 1.7 million speakers. In 1881 there were only 64,167 people whose only language was Gaelic, which was later reduced to 38,193 in 1891 and 20,953 in 1901, of whom 12,000 were in Connacht. The total number of speakers of Gaelic fell from four million in 1841 to 1.7 million in 1851, from 641,142 in 1901 to 527,000 in 1911. In 1911 it was said that 18% of Irish people were bilingual, but it is a unreliable data. In 1925, however, 12% of Irish people claimed to be able to speak and read Gaelic. The speakers in 1926 were 543,511 people, or 18.3% of the population of Southern Ireland. In 1936 there were about 666,601 speakers. By 1956, the Gaeltacht system or language reserves were established where Gaelic was still spoken naturally. In addition, there are about 25,000 Irish-speaking Roma, a slang based on Irish, which is also spoken by 15,000 individuals in Britain and 10,000 more in the United States. It is estimated that in 1981 30% of Irish people could speak Gaelic, but Ó Réagáin and Ó Gliasáin stated in 1984 that only 5% could do so easily (60,000 speakers, of whom 10,000 were everyday speakers).

Language organizations

There are many language promotion organizations in Ireland. In 1943, the Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge (National Gaelic Conference) was founded, which federated 17 as

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