How to Learn Irish (and other languages)

As part of Seachtain na Gaeilge, you might want to revise your Irish. Here are a few good tips to learn Irish and any other language.

  1. Become Familiar with the language and its pronunciation
    • The best way is to listen to the radio and watch TV. You will find good TV channels to support you when learning. Watching the news or series and listening to radio shows while you are doing your daily work is also a time saving way to practice if you don’t have much time. We recommend:
      • Bernard Dunne’s Bród Club on RTE 1, Monday at 19:00 *This programme is no longer available
      • Radio Rí Rá is an online radio Station for young people that uses Irish. It’s also available as a free app on your smartphone
      • Radio WDAR 96FM with Cá bhfuil an obair? radio program *This programme is no longer available
  2. Learn the vocabulary
    • The average number of necessary words we speak in everyday life is about 400 to 1,000. You will have to take a while to learn them so that you will be able to use them to talk with anyone. When you become fluent you should be able to use the idioms of a language. To make it easier, use mnemonics to link words.
    • Use your imagination; when you learn a new word the best way to memorize it is to have visualized it or even to create a short story with it
    • The word serendipity, which can’t really be translated into French is heureux hasard. This word can be related to Newton discovering the law of gravity. This example of discovery is, in fact, serendipitous
  3. Practice the language
    • Join or create a conversation group to talk with on a regular basis. Learning a language is easier when using it every day. You will be surprised to see how fast you learn without even noticing the effort
    • As suggested by Eoin, it is also a good idea to search YouTube for Irish language covers of pop songs. Try to find the Irish versions of your favourite songs
  4. Using the Internet
    • The Internet is a wonderful source of content to find tools that can help when learning a language. So here is a useful list of indispensable websites that can help you to practice and improve your Irish
      • The website is in Irish and you can learn and chat in Irish with the other website users. Good way to practice and to find support
      • BBC’s Irish language courses: this website is in Irish and provides various content to help you improve your level of Irish, no matter what that may be
      • Learn Irish with Liam O Maonlai on the Irish Independent website: learn Irish with Liam O Maonlai thanks to its MP3 file and written content
      • Bitesize Irish Gaelic: this website offers content to learn and improve your irish
      • You can also listen to our Irish Word of the day videos on YouTube