Is the education system really to blame for our poor level of Irish?

Every discussion of the Irish language follows the same weary, repetitive track. No matter how the conversation begins, sooner or later, the education system gets blamed. That is why we don’t speak Irish – because it wasn’t taught right to us. The teachers failed to show the beauty of Gaeilge and cultivate a love of the language in their students. If only we could find the right way of teaching Irish, then we’d all be fluent.

But I’ve always been sceptical of this excuse. Continue reading “Is the education system really to blame for our poor level of Irish?”

What Does It Mean To Be Irish?

Since I’ve moved abroad, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be Irish. In Ireland this isn’t too relevant of a question because almost everyone is Irish, but I’m currently living in a town where I am the only Irish person. I’ve always been proud to call myself Irish, but lately I’ve been wondering what does this mean? What makes Irish people different from others, such as the English and Americans? What is special about being Irish? Continue reading “What Does It Mean To Be Irish?”

Why Don’t The Irish Speak Irish?

The Danes have Danish, the French speak French, the Slovakians talk in Slovak yet the Irish don’t speak Irish, but rather English. Almost all nations and people have their own language yet the Irish are one of the few nations who have a language that very few of its people can speak. Ireland is one of the only countries in Europe whose primary language is that of a foreign country. In fact, more people in Ireland speak Polish on a daily basis than Irish (and French is close behind). When I’m abroad I’m often asked if there even is an Irish language or if anyone still speaks it. Someone who only spoke Irish would have a very difficult time getting around in Ireland. But why is this the case? Continue reading “Why Don’t The Irish Speak Irish?”

The Irish Language – It’s Dying

We Irish have a love-hate relationship with our language. We can’t decide if it’s a large part of our identity or a useless waste of time. One thing everyone agrees on is that it is dying. Only 2% speak Irish day-to-day and that number is continually shrinking. It is not spoken outside of remote pockets on the West coast. Young people show little interest in learning it and it seems to doomed to slowly die out.

Continue reading “The Irish Language – It’s Dying”