Category Archives: Learn

What can I learn after Pimsleur Irish?

We’ve had a couple of queries from people interested in learning a bit more Irish Gaelic, after already trying Pimsleur Irish. First, here’s what they said:

I just found your Web site and saw your product, “Teach Me Irish Gaelic” and it sounds intriguing. I definitely am interested in ordering it, but I want to get a little bit more infor first. I got a 10-lesson version of Pimsleur Irish a couple of weeks ago and have just finished that. I realize that it just begins to scratch the surface of learning the language, but it was enjoyable and has left me feeling that I do, indeed, speak and understand a little bit of Irish. A very little bit, admittedly, but when I consider that two weeks ago I didn’t know a single Irish sentence, or even a word, the limited vocabulary I have now is at least a start. It seems as though your course would be a logical next step for me, but my question is, will your course take me much beyond those basics? Again, it sounds to me as if your course is more in-depth, but I guess I’m just looking for some reassurance of that before I order. Thanks for taking the time to read my comment. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.


And, more recently, Brian wrote:

I have essentially completed the Pimsleur eight lesson set and I was pleased with the introduction to the sound of the language. I am looking for programs that will take me into the grammar and the written word. Is the $48 item what I’m looking for?

If you have already gotten your toes with with learning Irish Gaelic, you have two options with us:

  • If you like to install an interactive program on your Windows PC, TeachMe! Irish Gaelic will give you many vocabulary and grammar lessons.
  • If you prefer to learn online from any computer online, learn with Bitesize Irish language course. It breaks the language down into bitesize chunks, but doesn’t shy away from giving you the fundamentals of the Irish language.

Whichever option you choose, I’m sure you’ll enjoy learning the language.

Immersion day – Fairfield, CT, USA (Oct 2010)

Greenfield Hill, Fairfield, CT. - fall colors

Fairfield, Connecticut. By shaferlens on Flickr.

The Fairfield Gaelic-American Club in CT, USA is holding a day of immersion in the Irish language.

It’s taking place on on Saturday, October 23, 2010.

All levels will be taught. There’s even a class for those with no knowledge of the language.

If you have any questions, please contact:

The Fairfield County Gaelic American Club (203)254-0673

Learn Irish Gaelic online

Bitesize Irish, our newest service, is now open to learners!

If you’re considering to learn the Irish language, we’ve got good news for you.

Learning Irish doesn’t have to be a bewildering process! We have launched a series of lessons in bite-sized chunks. It’s better to break up your learning into small parts. That’s how Bitesize Irish online learning program helps you.

These lessons are online, allowing you to instantly access any of them. Pricing is available on the site.

Language is fundamentally about expressing yourself through sound. That’s why each lesson is jam-packed with audio for each Irish language example. You learn at your own place, listen as many times as you like. You’ll also track your learning progress automatically without needing to install any software.

Bitesize Irish is now available. Be one of the first to join now.

March is the month for Seachtain na Gaelige and St. Patrick’s Day

If you’re travelling to Ireland in March or living here, there are events that you just can’t miss.

Starting on 5th March is the annual Seachtain na Gaelige, a two week festival celebrating Irish music, literature, film and culture in general. it’s the largest celebration of irish language and culture and includes events all over the country, including céilís, theatre, reading, conversation and on and on it goes. Check their website for activities in your area! If you’re into popular music, you’d maybe like to buy a CD with Irish pop songs, that were originally recorded in English, but were translated and rerecorded in Irish – it’s called Ceol 2010.

Seachtain na Gaelige finishes on 17th March, the most celebrated day in Ireland – St. Patrick’s Day. The celebrations for St. Patrick’s day start well before the actual day.

In Dublin they’ll be starting of on Friday 12th March with activities for children and adults alike. among those are funfairs, treasure hunts, comedy and muic gigs, film screenings and more. The parade starts at Parnell Square at 12 noon on Wednesday.

In Limerick the second biggest parade will start at the same time, 12 noon, and will go down the O’Connell Streeet. On Sunday 14th march, Limerick will be the place to go to for the International Band Competition, starting at 12 noon, going down O’Connell Street.

Band Parade 2007

Band Parade in Limerick 2007

Band parade 2007

Band parade in Limerick 2007

Band Parade in Limerick 2007

Band Parade in Limerick 2007

Taking part. Limerick 2009.

Taking part. St. Patrick’s Day parade in Limerick 2009.

Waiting for the parade. St. Patrick's Day parade in Limerick 2009.

Waiting for the parade. St. Patrick’s Day parade in Limerick 2009.

St. Patrick's Day parade in Limerick 2009.

St. Patrick’s Day parade in Limerick 2009.

In Galway the parade will start at 12:30 from Dominic Street and Cork will start marching at 1 pm from South Mall.

It’s a good time to learn Manx Gaelic

Douglas Head Lighthouse, on Ellan Vannin. Photo credit: Jim Linwood.

Douglas Head Lighthouse, on Ellan Vannin. Photo credit: Jim Linwood.

There’s no better time to learn Manx than now. I briefly spoke with the Adrian Cain, the Manx Language Development Officer of the Manx Heritage Foundation and I was interested to see the changes in the use of the language. He was giving a talk on the current developments of the language of Manx Gaelic. Once considered to be a dead Gaelic language, Manx is now doing relatively well for itself.

The Isle of Man

Ellan Vannin or The Isle of Man (read more on Wikipedia) sits in equi-distance between the west coast of England and Scotland, and the east coast of Northern Ireland. While this island of approximately 80,000 residents is arguably closely linked in mindset with England, it is not part of the United Kingdom, or indeed of the European Union. The island has its own parliament, its own currency (linked 1:1 with British Sterling), and indeed has its own language.

The Manx language

Ned Maddrell is reported to have been the last native speaker of Manx Gaelic. He died in 1974. He had been upset that seeing that his language was nearly dead (others, while not native speakers, were able to carry on with the language). At the time, the island was populated by fishermen and similar traditional ways of life. The island suffered from emigration, particularly in the 1940s and 1950s. It became a tourist destination for a period, attracting visitors from Ireland and Britain, before cheap sun holidays became available.

Manx Gaelic is a Celtic language, and is very close to Irish (“Irish Gaelic”). It is not the only language of the island. The Norse were on the island once upon a time. English is the dominant language of the community nowadays.

Changes on the Isle of Man

The island has changed significantly since Ned’s death in 1974. Once a poor island, it is now relatively wealthy, with a thriving financial services sector thanks to its attractive tax régime. The Isle of Man is a member of the Commonwealth, has constitutional ties with the U.K., but retains a large degree of independence.

Positive factors for the language

This independence in governance, thankfully, leaves the fate of the Manx language in the hands of the Manx people. There have been positive initiatives that have invested considerable time and money into Manx Gaelic:

  • Bunscoill Ghaelgagh is a Manx primary school which teaches young children through the medium of Manx. In 2009, it had 65 students, and demand outstrips supply.
  • Manx is an option in all of the island’s primary schools, and is available in two of the island’s five secondary schools (for old children and teenagers).
  • The island’s Department of Education sees the language as a good-news story for the island, and therefore is helpful in adapting the school curriculum.

A new reason to learn Manx

Given the island’s attraction to business people, the population is now only perhaps 45% “native”, with other people having roots in places such as England, Scotland, Ireland, and further afield. This (positive) trend has also ‘woken up’ the people of the island to emphasise what it means to be Manx. Because of this realisation, the language has increased in visibility and it’s a great time to learn the language:

  • The language can be heard in the parliament.
  • Shop and road signs now display the language prominently.
  • Children from the Bunscoill (school) are the new generation of Manx speakers.
  • They are developing adult education resources, and have lots of resources on

In conclusion

There remain real tensions within the Manx population of what it is to be ‘Manx’. For example, given their strong relations with the U.K., and given the fact that the island is a member of the English Football (soccer) Association, many islanders support the English soccer team while certainly distinguishing themselves from being English. The island is in many ways a sign of globalised commerce, yet is looking for ways to promote itself as a unique identity. The language, it seems, will play part in that future.

113 pages of A Learner’s Guide to Irish

Learner's Guide to Irish

Learner’s Guide to Irish

Update: unfortunately it seems that the web page originally linked to from this page is no longer available. Instead, try the Bitesize Irish ebook.

Cois Life is a book publisher, and has one book called A Learner’s Guide to Irish, by Donna Wong.

The book has been made available as a free download for private use. Click here to go to the PDF download page.

The PDF is a newly formatted version of the book. The book is broken in to three parts:

  • Part 1 introduces you to the convensions of the language, tools that can help you in your learning, and then to the verbal structures.
  • Part 2 introduces other parts of speach including the copula and nouns.
  • Part 3 has more complex grammatical items such as adjectives, pronouns, and clauses.

Interestingly the book’s author, Donna Wong, is a native English speaker having grown up in the USA. She learned the language at Berkley and Harvard universities, and spend time learning the language in the Gaeltacht regions of Ireland. Her experience learning Irish Gaelic gives this book an interesting perspective.

If you download the book, please visit here again to tell me what you think of it.

Visit Cois Life to download the 113-page PDF.

Update: unfortunately it seems that the web page originally linked to from this page is no longer available. Instead, try the Bitesize Irish ebook.

Learn with an online dictionary + PDF

One of my other projects is, it’s an online collaborative Irish Gaelic dictionary.

By collaborative, this means that you can sign up and help build this dictionary from scratch. In June 2009, it reached a total of 1,000,000 searches, and it has over 280 activated accounts at the time of writing.

There’s also a PDF Irish Gaelic to English dictionary that you can download. It contains all the validated entries of the Irish dictionary.

How did you learn?

This site is all about learning to speak Irish Gaelic (or “Irish” as we call it in Ireland).

If you have been learning the language:

  • How did you learn?
  • What resources did you use?
  • What are your top 3 tips for learning the language?

Leave a comment below with your answers!