The Irish Language is the official language of Ireland even though English is the most commonly spoken language throughout the country. In some special areas, mostly along the west coast of Ireland, Irish is still the vernacular and is the medium through which children are taught in the local schools, business is carried out and people converse and socialise. These are the Gaelteacht areas of Ireland and are made extra special in global terms as we are living through such a period of homogenisation.Gaeltacht Areas – The Kerry Gaeltachts (Irish speaking regions) cover areas in both Dingle and Iveragh Peninsulas. These are areas rich in traditional ways, folklore, writing, music, historical and archeolgical sites, and most importantly, are areas where the Irish Language is spoken as the first language.
Many not familiar with the Irish language do not realise that the Irish language is an entirely different language to English, different vocab, different grammar, different mode of expression with a seperate history of development. Irish is one of the oldest written languages in Europe with a strong and rich literary tradition. Irish as spoken today is the continuation of a linguistic tradition that stretches back to at least the 9th Century BC. The oral tradition has played an extremely important role in the continuation of Irish as a living language. Poetry, song and narrative prose carried the exploits of heroes, villains, kings, queens, chieftains and mythical figures across generations.
Why not try to speak cúpla focal (couple of words) of the Irish language when you spend time here among the people of the Kerry Gaeltachts.
IRISH LANGUAGE LINKS FOR YOUR WALKING TOUR
Bilingual site offering information on the Irish Language as well as a host of Irish language multmedia for purchase.
Daltaí na Gaeilge: non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and teaching the Irish language.
The Irish Times – An Teanga Bheo: The weekly Irish language section of The Irish Times on the Web.