Words and Phrases in Irish Gaelic
Ireland has two official languages: English and Irish (also known as Irish Gaelic). Irish is a Goidelic language.
Irish was the dominant language of Ireland until two major factors hastened its decline:
– the introduction of a primary education system where Irish was prohibited
– the Great Famine, where a high number of Irish speakers (mostly affected by extreme poverty) died
Since Ireland has achieved its independence the use of the Irish language has seen a rapid decline.
With such a sharp decline there is a real danger that Irish will become extinct within a generation or two, though there are a number of organizations and individuals in Ireland working to keep not only the language, but also many of the old traditions alive.
There are a number of distinct dialects of Irish. The three major dialect areas coincide with the provinces of Munster, Connacht, and Ulster. The differences between these dialects has made it difficult to define a standard Irish.