1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Irish
  4. >
  5. Irish: Statistics and Informa…


Irish: Statistics and Information

Return to Irish Portal


Now that the Irish course is available, I thought you might like a bit more information about the language many of you have been waiting to learn on Duolingo. So this is "Irish: Statistics and Information". Enjoy!

  • Irish is a Celtic/Goidelic language. It is part of the Indo-European language family and is the first language to be taught on Duolingo that is neither Romance nor Germanic.

  • Irish is the national language of Ireland. It shares official status with English in the Republic of Ireland. It is a recognised regional language in the United Kingdom. It is one of the 24 official languages of the European Union (meaning most EU websites and documents are translated into Irish (such as https://europa.eu/european-union/index_ga or the European Parliament Twitter feed https://twitter.com/Europarl_GA), and Irish translation is available to MEPs for speeches made during Parliament sessions).

  • Irish has around 130,000 native speakers scattered around Ireland, but over 1.16 million people in the Republic of Ireland speak it as a native or second language.

  • Irish has several names, including "Gaelic" and "Irish Gaelic". The preferred term in English is simply "Irish" (this reduces ambiguity as "Gaelic" normally refers to the Celtic language of Scotland (Scottish Gaelic), while "Irish Gaelic" may imply that it is not a separate language from that of Scotland, which it is!), and the term used in Irish is "Gaeilge".

  • Irish is a compulsory subject for primary and secondary school students in the Republic of Ireland (ROI), though some get exempt for various reasons. Irish is also a requirement for students wishing to enter university in Ireland. Irish is offered as a subject in Northern Ireland for GCSE and A-Level exams (both as L1 and L2).

  • In Ireland, there are primary and secondary schools where Irish is the language of instruction for all subjects (except English!). These schools are called gaelscoileanna (singular: gaelscoil (primary school)) and gaelcholáistí (singular: gaelcholáiste (secondary school)). There are over 300 gaelscoileanna on the island of Ireland, and over 40 gaelcholáistí.

  • Every year, throughout Ireland, Seachtain na Gaeilge is celebrated ("Irish Week", though in reality, it is over two weeks long). This starts in the beginning of March and ends on St. Patrick's Day. People around Ireland (and the world) make an effort to use their few words of Irish during Seachtain na Gaeilge, while others use it as a chance to start their Irish studies or spread the language to others.

  • Irish is the day-to-day language in areas called the "Gaeltacht". These areas are found around the country, though most are in the west and north of the country. There is even a Gaeltacht in Canada! It is located in the town of Tamworth, Ontario.

  • If you visit Ireland and want to use your newly learned Irish skills, the Gaeltacht is the best place for this, and there are often language courses and meet-ups that you can take part in. You will also find fluent speakers (or even just people with a few words) anywhere in the country. Research before you visit to find out if there are any Irish groups in the town or city you're planning on visiting, and maybe you could join in on a meeting (libraries, universities, colleges or Irish-medium schools are often good venues for this).


Return to Irish Portal

August 26, 2014



Gaelainn also known as "Gaeilge"! Munster represent ! :D


is fearr liom Gaelainn


And thamks to you and the rest of Team Irish, the number of flent speakers could go up by a lot! Thank you for making all these helpful discussions :)


Thanks a lot (I would've said some type of thanks in Irish but I didn't get to phrases yet) :-[


It's Go raibh maith agat.


Go raibh mile maith agat! :)


Whoops! I was only thinking of Thank you.


slainte, mo chara.


So does 'mile" mean "a lot" in this situation? As in "Thanks a lot!: vs. simply "Thank You!"


Míle means a thousand - one thousand thank-yous!


Tá. It means the equivalent of "many" or "a lot".


Many thanks to all the people who put so much effort into making this course a reality.


::Just like Kristin Wiig in SNL::



If anyone reading this is thinking of studying in Ireland you should just ignore the sentence "Irish is also a requirement for students wishing to enter university in Ireland." It's not required of international students at any university. It's not a required subject even for Irish students at TCD, where I teach.


Thanks for all this nice information! :) I've been told my name Bryna is of Gaelic origin (bryn means hill in Welsh I think), and I'm interested in learning the proper way to pronounce it. I'm excited to start learning Irish.


It is of (Brythonic probably) Celtic origin, not Gaelic specifically (Celtic is the overall family, Gaelic/Goidelic is the sub-family of the Celtic family that includes Irish(Gaeilge), Scottish Gaelic(Gaidhlig), and Manx(Gaelg), whereas Brythonic/Brittonic is the subfamily of Celtic that contains Welsh(Cymraeg), Breton(Brezhoneg), and Cornish(Kernewek))


Thanks for this post! I really hope to visit Ireland (:


This is awesome! Thank you for putting all of this together. It's wonderful that Irish is a language learning choice on Duolingo. I just started it. Let's keep it alive!


Enjoying the course but struggling with eclipsis/lenition- would learning the gender of nouns be helpful with this?


Knowing the gender of a noun could help with certain lenition situations, but it wouldn’t help with eclipsis.


thank you for this!

Learn Irish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.