Resources for Learning Irish

There are many readily accessible resources available for the study of Irish in print, audio and online formats. On this page you will find just a sample of some that are available both locally and worldwide via the internet.

 

Printed dictionaries

Ó Dónaill's Irish-English Dictionary
Although this dictionary was published in 1977, it is still the most useful Irish-English dictionary available. Examples of usage and grammatical information are given for each headword. A digital version of the dictionary (called WinGléacht) is available on CD-rom and can be purchased online. Abbreviations in the dictionary are given in English (e.g. m for masculine, f for feminine).
 
De Bhaldraithe's English-Irish Dictionary
A comprehensive dictionary published by An Gúm, with good examples of usage and grammar.
 
Dinneen's Foclóir Gaedhilge agus Béarla
An Irish-English dictionary containing non-standard spellings and written in Irish typescript. This resource is very useful if you are reading literary texts.
 
Specialist Dictionaries
The publisher An Gúm has produced a series of specialist dictionaries on subjects including music, names of plants and animals, home economics, health and psychology, geography and planning, biology, dairying, agriculture, science, business studies, computing, occupations, technology, and literary criticism. The terms in these dictionaries are also available on the website www.focal.ie as well.

The following dictionaries are useful for students taking Irish courses:

An Foclóir Litríochta agus Critice - helpful if you are writing a review.
Foclóir Fiontar - helpful for those who are doing business courses through Irish, etc.

 


Online dictionaries

Dictionary and Language Library (with sound files)
This is a searchable electronic version of the English-Irish Dictionary (de Bhaldraithe, 1959) and Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla (Ó Dónaill, 1977). It provides free, easy-to-use access to dictionaries, along with grammatical and pronunciation information. There are sound files for individual words in the three major dialects. This is an excellent resource both for learners and for those interested in Irish dialects.
An Foclóir Beag
This search engine is a basic Irish-Irish dictionary, which offers much grammatical information such as nominal declensions and verbal forms; it is maintained by the University of Limerick.
 
Irish Dictionary Online
This is an English-Irish/Irish/English dictionary giving sample phrases for each headword, as well as verbal forms.
Foclóir Gaeilge
A very useful Irish-English/English-Irish dictionary.
Dinneen's Irish Dictionary Online
A digital version of Dineen's historical dictionary.
Focal - A terminology resource
This website is a national database for Irish terminology. One can search for terms in English or in Irish, and find definitions as well as related terms, examples of usage and grammatical information. There is a Dictionary Skills Course available on the site as well. This resource is useful for finding new, official terms that are not listed in the Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla or in the English-Irish Dictionary, and new terms are entered regularly. The website is maintained by Fiontar, Dublin City University, in cooperation with Foras na Gaeilge.
Lexicelt
A Welsh-Irish/Irish-Welsh dictionary, which includes sound files for various Welsh and Irish phrases.
Foclóir
This English-Irish dictionary, launched by Foras na Gaeilge in 2013, aims to provide comprehensive coverage for every entry, illustrated with examples to give context to the Irish equivalents. The dictionary also contains grammatical information and sound files. You can listen to a word in three dialects (Connacht, Munster, Ulster).
 

Other useful online terminology resources

Acmhainn.ie
This website is a resource of translators of Irish. It contains electronic versions of Seán Mac Maoláin's books Lorg an Bhéarla and Gàidhlig agus Gaeilge in the section Athchló as well. The site also offers vocabulary lists arranged according to subject, as well as a forum in which members (mostly professional translators) can exchange advice. If you are searching for new terms, you may find www.focal.ie more useful as new terms are entered more regularly into that site.
Logainm - Irish Place-name Database
This project offers sound files for learning how to pronounce the most important place-names, as well as information concerning the history and derivation of each name. The website is maintained by Fiontar, Dublin City University, in cooperation with the Place-names Committee and the Place-name branch of the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs.
Abair.ie - Ríomhchainteoir
This online system translates text into speech, and is useful for learning pronunciation. Only Ulster Irish is available at present, but other dialects will be added in the future.
 

Grammars and exercise books

Graiméar Gaeilge na mBráithre Críostaí (The Christian Brothers' Grammar)
This standard reference grammar is available both in print and online here. This is a comprehensive resource aimed at students with an advanced level of Irish.
Leabhar Gramadaí Gaeilge - Nollaig Mac Congáil
This book gives clear explanations and numerous examples for grammatical rules through the medium of Irish. There are no practice exercises.
Irish Grammar Book - Nollaig Mac Congáil
An English translation of Leabhar Gramadaí Gaeilge.
Gramadach Gan Stró - Éamonn Ó Dónaill
This book offers clear explanations of grammatical rules through the medium of Irish. Each unit includes exercises, for which there are answers in the back of the book.
Úrchúrsa Gaeilge - Dónall Ó Baoill
This books is frequently used in third-level courses as a classroom teaching book, although independent learners can benefit from it as well. Answers to the numerous practice exercises are available in a separate booklet.
Cruinnscríobh na Gaeilge - Ciarán Mac Murchaidh
This grammar is directed towards third-level students; it contains numerous exercises in each unit. A digital version of the grammar is in development.
Teach Yourself Irish - Myles Dillon (with sound files)
This is an online version of the book Teach Yoursefl Irish, by Myles Dillon and Donncha Ó Cróinín, published in 1961. The book is now out of print, making this an invaluable resource for students of Modern Irish. Focus is entirely on the dialect of West Munster. The authors guide the learner through the basics of Irish pronunciation and grammar. Vocabulary lists are included. Also inserted into the file is the excellent Gael-Linn sound recording made for the book. It is recommended for dedicated beginners, and it will improve the Irish of intermediate and advanced students.
 

 

Teaching and learning resources


Cambridge Language Centre

The Cambridge Language Centre at Downing Place


The Cambridge Language Centre
The University Language Centre has much to offer students of Irish, including audio materials, grammars, dictionaries and videos. These are listed here in their catalogue.
Gaeilge agus Fáilte
This is a package aimed at complete beginners, both independent learners and those in a classroom setting; it includes much information about Irish culture.
Now You're Talking
This set comprises a book and cassettes. the course was based on a series of RTÉ and BBC television programmes, but it is possible to benefit from the book and recordings without this series. This is a set for complete beginners and those with a small amount of Irish; grammatical notes are included at the end of the book.
Speaking Irish
This package comprises a book and DVD, including transcripts of over 40 interviews as well as notes on the grammatical usage of particular dialects.
Teach Yourself Irish
Teach Yourself Irish is a set for beginners, and includes a book and CDs. The course focuses on the acquisition of phrases more so than grammar study.
Teagasc na Gaeilge
This website includes information about the syllabi for third-level Irish-langauge teaching. It includes a page with learning resources, including short video clips, listening files, grammar and discussion questions and transcriptions of the video and sound files.
Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge
This site contains information concerning the Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge (European Framework Exams), including syllabi, exam subjects, class notes and sound files for listening exercises, as well as links to several other sites.
Turas Teanga
This package includes a book, CDs and DVDs, and there are additional resources available on this website. This set is particularly suitable for students at beginners and intermediate levels; grammatical points are explained in the context of various subjects without a great deal of technical vocabulary.
Vifax
This website, maintained by the Language Centre at the University of Ireland, Maynooth, offers listening exercises at three different levels (beginners, intermediate and advanced) based on video clips from TG4 News. Each clip is accompanied by a text with directions, exercises, answers and a transcription of the news excerpt. Both the video clips and exercises can be downloaded for individual or classroom use.

 

Printed and online media

Beo
Beo is an online magazine that is published on the first day of each month. It contains interviews and articles on current events, sports, art, technology and travel. Comprehensive glossaries are given for each of the articles.
Comhar
Comhar is a literary, critical and current affairs magazine containing articles by such writers as Gabriel Rosenstock, Seán Tadhg Ó Gairbhí and Fionntán de Brún. The magazine is not yet available online, but this website has an index to the articles.
Feasta
This is a monthly magazine which discusses current affairs, literature and science. The website offers an archive of selected articles from the magazine.
Gaelscéal
Gaelscéal is a recently founded weekly Irish-language newspaper, available both in print and online.
The Irish Times - An Teanga Bheo/An tEolas
Every Wednesday The Irish Times publishes articles on subjects pertaining to Irish language, literature, art, etc.; these are available on the newspaper's website.
Lá Nua
This website is an archive for newspaper articles covering the period from June 2007 to December 2008. It also offers a limited archive of videos and podcasts from November 2007 to October 2008, and an archive of recordings and transcriptions of native Irish speakers (a project that was completed in cooperation with the Royal Irish Academy).
Nós
This is a monthly magazine aimed at the 18-35 age-group. It contains articles about music, film, television, technology, sports, current affairs, literature, travel, style and food. Articles from the printed version are published on the magazine's website one month after they appear in print; the website also includes a video archive.
Nuacht 24: Digital Irish News Service
Articles, news videos and opinion columns are published daily on this website, covering national and international news, sports, business, Irish and art.

 

Blogs

Cumann Scríbhneoirí Úra na Gaeilge
A blog by the Irish-Language New Writers' Association, useful for those who have an interest in contemporary literature.
Cork Irish
 

 

Broadcast media

Raidió Fáilte 
The website for the Belfast-based Irish-language raidio station.
RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta
This website contains information about the Irish-language radio station's history, as well as its programme schedule. It also has a list of podcasts for more than 30 different programmes broadcast from February 2008 onwards.
Raidió na Life - Urban Irish Radio 
The website for the Irish-language station Raidió na Life, which includes podcasts of a series of programmes about poets and poetry designed for students taking the Leaving Cert exam in Irish.
Raidió Rí-Rá
The online site for Ireland's Top 40 radio station in the Irish language.
TG4
TG4 is the Irish-language television channel. The station's website contains much information about the station itself and its background, as well as the weekly programme schedule. It is possible to to watch a live feed as well as archived programmes from here.

 

Irish language publishers and bookshops

Cló Íar-Chonnachta
This publisher is a reliable source for a wide range of Irish-language material.
Cois Life
Cois Life are Irish publishers. Their website includes much useful information about Irish writers, such as biographies, background, works etc, and includes a full catalogue and online shop.
Cúpla Focal
An Irish-language bookshop based in Bray, County Wicklow, with an online catalogue.
Litríocht
This online shop also offers a wide range of Irish-language books, audio and video resources and classroom materials, as well as a collection of used items.
An Sagart Publishers
An Irish-language publishing house based in Dingle, County Kerry, offering a range of books including folklore, biography, drama, poetry, journals, history and theology.
An Siopa Gaeilge (Oideas Gael)
The Siopa Gaeilge located at the Oideas Gael Irish Language and Culture School in Glencolumcille, Donegal, offers a wide range of Irish-language and Irish-interest books, CDs, and other parephenalia, including many resources for children and teachers. The shop's online catalogue can be found here.
An Siopa Leabhar (Conradh na Gaeilge)
An Irish-language bookstore run by Conradh na Gaeilge, located at 6 Harcourt Street, Dublin. Email: eolas@cnag.ie.
Schoenhof's Foreign Books
A foreign-language bookshop located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with a range of Irish- and Celtic-interest books, both new and used, as well as a comprehensive online catalogue.

Irish language courses

Belfast
An Droichead is a cultural centre based in South Belfast which offers Irish language classes and immersion weekends at beginners through to advanced levels. It is also a venue for traditional music concerts, arts and crafts exhibitions, lectures and workshops.
Cork
Gael Linn offers summer language courses in County Cork.
Donegal
Oideas Gael Irish Language and Culture School, located in scenic Glencolumcille, South-west Donegal, offers Irish language classes at all levels from beginners to advanced, as well as various cultural activity courses. Classes run on a weekly basis, and the school offers intensive sessions for fluent speakers in subjects such as Irish grammar, teaching adult learners and translation. It also runs immersion weekends in March, May and October. Accommodation options include B&B and self-catering.
Gael Linn offers summer courses for adult learners of all levels in Gweedore, County Donegal.
Dublin
Gael Linn offers six-week courses at beginners, intermediate and advanced levels in Dublin.
Conradh na Gaeilge offers evening classes from beginners to advanced levels, including specialised grammar courses.
Galway
The International Irish Language Summer School is run by the National University of Ireland, Galway at the University's Irish Language Centre (Árus Mháirtín Uí Chadhain) in Carraroe (An Cheathrú Rua), approximately one hour from Galway City. It offers month-long summer courses for beginners and intermediate students. The courses include intensive instruction in spoken Irish each day, special classes in traditional Irish singing and dancing, and introductory lectures on relevant topics including Irish history, literature, folklore and society.
Conradh na Gaeilge offers evening classes from beginners to advanced levels during the academic year.
Kerry
Irish language courses are available in Uibh Ráthach (Iveragh), South-west Kerry.
Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne, located near Tralee, offers a range of Irish language courses in the spring and summer for beginners, intermediate and advanced adult students, including hillwalking expeditions, food-tasting events and translation workshops.
Meath
Gael Linn offers an October immersion weekend in Ráth Chairn.
Other
Gairmeacha le Gaeilge is a handbook published by Graduate Careers Ireland. It includes information about third-level courses taught through the medium of Irish, as well as descriptions of employment opportunities for those who have an interest in Irish.


Students at Oideas Gael

Cambridge students attending the Oideas Gael Language School in Donegal


 

Irish organisations

Áras na nGael
This is the information centre for Irish language activities in Galway City and the surrounding area. They organise language learner nights and other activities.
 
Na Cnocadóirí
This group organises regular hillwalking and climbing expeditions in Dublin and Wicklow, as well as overseas trips and other events through the medium of Irish.
Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge
This organisation, founded in 1943 to act as a co-ordinating body for voluntary Irish language organisations, posts daily bulletins on its website containing stories about Irish in the media, and has information about the organisation and its members, the Irish sector, Irish-language job vacancies, Irish classes and technology resources. The Congress also publishes a fortnightly e-newsletter (EOLAS) with the latest news from the Irish sector, including public announcements, employment opportunities, new publications, social events and minority language affairs in general. You can sign up to receive the newsletter from the Congress' website, Gaelport (in English, Irish or bilingually).
Conradh na Gaeilge: The Gaelic League
This website includes information about all the activities of the Gaelic League, including contact details for its various branches, updates on its most recent promotional campaigns, a comprehensive history of the organisation and details about classes and social events.
Daltaí na Gaeilge
A North American-based voluntary organisation for the promotion and teaching of the Irish language. Their website includes forums, lists of useful phrases and proverbs, grammar exercises and a link to the Daltaí shop, which offers various educational materials.
Fios Feasa
The website for the company which develops various types of software in Irish; it has a shop and digital brochure describing these resources, which are aimed at both primary and secondary schools as well as for adult learners.
Foras na Gaeilge: The Institute of Irish
This is the website of the State facility that is charged with the promotion of Irish. It includes a comprehensive directory of Irish services and organisations, information about Irish events, classes and learning resources, and advice for translators. Foras na Gaeilge was founded in 1999, and assumed the roles of Bord na Gaeilge, An Gúm (publishers of Irish literature and educational materials), and An Coiste Téarmaíochta (The Terminology Committee).
Gael Linn
The organisation Gael Linn has been active since 1953, and aims to promote and develop the Irish language and its heritage throughout Ireland. In addition to organising Irish language classes, Gael Linn also hosts many events for young people, such as debates, mock trials, cultural weekends, etc. The website includes resources for students and teachers of the language, and also has a music shop.
Oireachtas na Gaeilge
A website containing information about the Oireachtas and its activities, including video and sound clips from various festivals; especially useful for those interested in sean-nós singing and dancing.
An Roinn Gnóthaí Pobail, Comhionannais agus Gaeltachta: The Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs
This organisation provides information about the Official Languages Act and other government policies concerning the Irish language and the Gaeltacht.
Seachtain na Gaeilge
This website contains all the information about Seachtain na Gaeilge, a non-profit organisation established by Conradh na Gaeilge which promotes the use of Irish language and culture both at home and abroad within a two-week festival held in March of each year. Various handbooks can be downloaded from the website which offer tips about how to organise an event for Seachtain na Gaeilge, and you can order publicity materials from the site as well.
Údarás na Gaeltachta
Website of the regional development agency responsible for the economic, social and cultural development of the Gaeltacht.

 

Academic resources

The Doegan Records Web Project: Irish Dialect Sound Recordings
The Doegan Records Web Project is an archive of Irish dialect sound recordings made during 1928-31 and contaings folktales, songs, and other material recited by native Irish speakers form 17 counties, Crucially, it includes examples of dialects that are now extinct. The collection also includes a speech in English by W.T. Cosgrave, who was head of the Irish government that funded the recording scheme.
Bardic Poetry Database
A searchable database of Irish bardic material.
Bibliography of Irish Linguistics and Literature
An online index of published material pertaining to Celtic studies.
CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts
This site contains an archive of more than 1,000 texts (over 450 of which are in Irish) on Irish literature, history and politics. The site has a simple search engine.
Celtic Digital Initiative
A project maintained by the Department of Early and Medieval Irish at University College Cork, offering images of interest to Celticists, a text archive with PDF files of rare material, PDF versions of selected articles by members of the department, tables of contents for journals of interest to Celtic scholars, and a useful noticeboard devoted to announcements of upcoming conferences, events, vacancies, publications, etc.
Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, School of Celtic Studies
The Institute's website includes links to several useful projects, as well as a list of previous statutory public lectures, PDF versions of articles from several volumes of the journal Celtica, and information about their annual scholarship scheme and International Summer School, held every three years.
Early Irish Glossaries Database
The website for the AHRC-funded project to create new editions, translations and an online searchable database for the glossaries Sanas Cormaic (Cormac's Glossary), O'Mulconry's Glossary, and Dúil Dromma Cetta (The Collection of Druim cett), as well as the shorter texts Loman and Irsan.
Electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language (eDIL)
An searchable electronic version of the dictonary based on Old and Middle Irish materials published by the Royal Irish Academy.
Irish Script on Screen
The website of this project, administered by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, contains digital images of manuscripts from numerous libraries in Ireland and further afield.
The Locus Project
The aim of this project is to produce a new Historical Dictionary of Irish placenames and tribal names to replace Fr Edmund Hogan's Onomasticon Goedelicum.
Monasticon Hibernicum
Database of the Monasticon Hibernicum Project, concerned with early Christian settlement in Ireland from the fifth to the twelfth centuries.
Thesaurus Linguae Hibernicae
This website is a project of the School of Irish, Celtic Studies, Irish Folklore and Linguistics at University College, Dublin, which aims to provide web access to digital editions of texts in Early and Medieval Irish as a reseach tool for scholars and a resource for teachers.

 

Academic departments

Ireland
National University of Ireland, Cork: Faculty of Celtic Studies
University College, Dublin: School of Irish, Celtic Studies, Irish Folklore and Linguistics
National University of Ireland, Galway: Centre for Irish Studies and Department of Old and Middle Iris
National University of Ireland, Maynooth: School of Celtic Studies and Department of Old Irish
Queen's University Belfast: Department of Irish and Celtic Studies
Trinity College Dublin: School of Irish and Celtic Languages
University of Ulster: Department of Irish
University of Limerick: Department of Irish
 
Scotland, Wales and England
Sabhal Mór Ostaig
University of Aberdeen: Celtic Department
University of Edinburgh: Department of Celtic and Scottish Studies
University of Glasgow: Celtic and Gaelic
University of Wales, Aberystwyth: Department of Welsh
University of Wales, Bangor: School of Welsh
University of Wales, Cardiff: School of Welsh
University of Wales, Lampeter: Department of Welsh
University of Wales, Swansea: Department of Welsh
University of Cambridge: Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic
University of Oxford: Department of Celtic
 
North America
University of California, Berkeley: Celtic Studies Program
Harvard University: Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures
University of Notre Dame: Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies
University of Toronto: Centre for Medieval Studies

 

Academic societies

British Association for Irish Studies 
A society which supports the study of Irish culture and language through its biennial conferences, regular seminar series and newsletter, and its annual Postgraduate Bursary Scheme and Essay Prize.
Celtic Studies Association of North America
Society for scholars interested in the languages, literature, history, folklore, music, art and archaeology of ancient, medieval and modern Celtic cultures.
Eighteenth-Century Ireland Society
This society aims to support the study of all aspects of life in Ireland in the period 1690-1800; it publishes an annual journal.
International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures
An organisation which promotes the teaching and study of Irish literature in third-level education throughout the world.
Royal Irish Academy
Academy for the sciences and humanities for the whole of Ireland; publishers of the annual journal Ériu.