Please don't use this phrase to express that someone has the ability to speak Irish. It's really, really unacceptable. The correct phrase is, 'Tá Gaeilge aige'. In Irish we say that we 'have' a language, rather than that we 'speak' it. 'Labhraíonn sé Gaeilge' would be used to say that he speaks Irish at a particular time or in a particular place. 'Labhraíonn sé Gaeilge ar an traein,' - 'He speaks Irish on the train.'
Duolingo’s speech synthesis software doesn’t support all of the phonemes of Irish (and slow mode is only supported in courses with speech synthesis), so recordings had to be made instead. It takes time, talent, and money to create recordings and associate them with their corresponding exercises. There are over 3000 recordings to be found in the Irish course, and every word in the course is found in at least one recording; I doubt if Duolingo would be willing to pay for recordings to be made for the other several thousand Irish exercises currently without sound.
Oh, so you're saying that the only recordings that the Irish set has is for entire sentences? And not for individual words? If so, I see the difficulty, but I still feel that there are many instances where a sentence is displayed that has a recording for it, but still does not have some UI to invoke playing the recording in that instance. Please check that all sentences with a recording have a way to play whenever they are displayed. Also, for individual words how about, as suggested here, having the Duolingo UI developers give a link directly to forvo?
Recordings only exist for sentence exercises (and there are many sentence exercises without recordings), but some of the recorded sentences have only one word, e.g. Eilifint. — apparently there is a distinction in the Duolingo infrastructure between “word” exercises and “sentence” exercises, although recordings of one-word “sentence” exercises (i.e. of statements rather than of questions) could in theory also be used as recordings of “word” exercises. Since I have no connection whatsoever with creating the Duolingo courses, I shall not do that checking; if you’d like to do so, feel free. To my knowledge, there are no direct links from Duolingo exercises to recordings at forvo.com; one problem is that the recordings at forvo.com are of varying accuracy and fidelity, and I’d guess that Duolingo wouldn’t want to directly link to recordings over which it has no control (or licensed use).
I look up all new words in teanglann's Irish dictionary, and if I don't find them there, I go to Forvo. Between the two of them, I've found almost every word... and the pronunciations in teanglann are by native speakers. You've probably discovered this by now, but if you haven't, both of those are very helpful!
The phrase “Tá … ag …” is certainly the most common phrase indicating knowledge of a language, but it indicates knowledge, so “Tá Gaeilge agam” means “I know Irish”. “Labhraíonn … …” on the other hand refers to the act of actually speaking a language, as opposed to simply knowing how to speak it. So “Tá sé ag labhairt Gaeilge” means “he is speaking Gaelic”.
Not quite. Gaelic is actually a group of three languages, which falls under the wider grouping of "Celtic Languages." In fact, if you say Gaelic (not gay-lick, but gal-lic), odds are you're referring to Scots Gaelic. The third one is Manx, which was spoken on the Isle of Man.
This is a list of resources in and about the language: http://www.language-archives.org/language/glv
And this is the official document from the Manx government describing the geographical distribution of the speakers: http://www.gov.im/lib/docs/treasury/economic/census/manxmap.pdf
I hope that helps!