Do I need to learn Irish to do an exchange in Ireland?

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Apart from English, Irish is another national language that Ireland has,

let’s talk about it:

Background on the Irish Language

The Gaelic languages come from Old Irish and the other three Celtic languages come from British. There were other Celtic languages spoken on the European Mainland, but they died out around 1,500 years ago. The Celtic languages are believed to have come from Common Celtic, which came from Indo-European itself. Although the majority of people had Irish, English, however, was necessary for administrative and legal affairs.

At the start of the eighteenth century many people understood that Spoken Irish was declining. Thomas Davis, in 1843, was among those who publicly declared that Irish is a “national language”. This terminology was again used in the constitutions of 1922 and 1937.

Places where Irish is spoken

The Irish language is the language of the community in Gaeltacht regions and the language is also gaining strength in places outside the Gaeltacht. According to the Census of 2006, 1.66 million people in the Republic of Ireland can speak Irish, compared with 1.57 in 2002. According to the 2001 Northern Ireland Census 10.4% claim to have some knowledge of Irish. The Gaeltacht covers extensive parts of counties Donegal, Mayo, Galway and Kerry – all along the western seaboard – and also parts of counties Cork, Meath and Waterford.

 Foreigners in Ireland

The image of the Irish language has changed a great deal in recent years, which is evident by the number of people who speak and learn the language, not only in Ireland but around the world. Speaking Irish is the best way to connect with Ireland’s native culture, but do not feel worry. It is not necessary to learn Irish before travelling to Ireland, in the big cities signage is in both languages, English and Irish.

Do you want to learn some basic Irish?

We encourage you to learn some basic Irish words so you won’t feel that lost at the airport!

English – Irish /Pronunciation/

Get more info about exchange programs in Ireland

Welcome – Fáilte /Foyle-cha!/

Airport – Aerfort /Air-furt/

Exit – Amach /A-mokh/

Gate – Geata /gaa-ta/

Arrivals – Teacht /Chokht/

Departures – Imeacht /Im-okht/

Baggage claim – Éileamh bagáiste

Check in – seiceáil i


You can find more ways to learn Gaelic on these websites:

Learning the irish language in 3 months –

Bitesize Irish Gaelic –


Imagine using a little Irish Gaelic on the locals the next time you visit Ireland. You will put a smile on the locals’ faces!