Learn about Irish Culture and the Irish Language

Irish is one of the official languages of the Republic of Ireland, but it's only spoken by around 6% of the population on a weekly basis. Why don't people speak Irish in Ireland? Because English is the language of TV, radio, newspapers, work, and all business. On most of the island, the only place Irish is spoken is in classrooms, unless you live in the Gaeltacht region.

So why should you learn Irish if the majority of the Irish population doesn't even speak Irish?

One of the reasons is because of the culture of Ireland. The Republic of Ireland is a beautiful country that has a rich history and culture as well as gorgeous landscapes. In fact, many Irish learners started because they're fascinated and attracted by the rich Irish culture and history. We'll introduce some of the famous Irish customs below covering music, food, dancing, and more.

Introduction to Irish Culture

1. Irish Music
Music is a big part of Irish culture, from Irish folk music to punk rock, there's always something for everyone. Traditional Irish music, also known as Irish folk or Irish trad, usually uses instruments like the fiddle, piano, and acoustic guitar along with some home-grown instruments such as the Celtic harp and Uilleann pipes. When the summer arrives, you can always be sure to fill your calendar up with a mix of music festivals around Ireland.

2. Irish Dancing
It's no doubt that the Irish take dancing seriously. Irish dance became internationally famous after the show Riverdance was performed in 1994. Irish dance might look easy, but it takes many forms including jigs, reels, and more. The Irish dancers are usually dressed in outfits that are designed based on the designs found in the Book of Kells, and of course, the famous hard shoes that click as the dancers move.

3. Irish Literature
One thing you might not know is that Ireland is the birthplace of many great writers and poets who have made enormous impacts on English literature. You may not have heard of Irish literature, but you may have heard of Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Jonathan Swift, or C.S. Lewis. They, along with many other talented Irish writers, have contributed significantly to the literary world.

4. Pub Culture in Ireland
Another essential element of the Irish culture is the pub culture in Ireland. In Ireland, people socialize and catch up with each other in three places - the church, the local football club, and pub. Irish people go to their local pubs after Mass or after a football match. That's a place for them to meet, catch up on lives, and have fun. Next time when you are in Ireland, head to a pub, order yourself a glass of whiskey or Guinness and enjoy the scene.

5. Potatoes and Ireland
Irish people love their potatoes. Potatoes were imported to Ireland in the 17th century and became a major staple of the Irish food culture. You can always find potatoes in any form - mashed, baked, fried when you dine at an Irish restaurant. Fun fact: The Irish eat twice as many potatoes as the average American consumes.

Let's Learn Some Irish

Today, over 100 million people worldwide claim some Celtic descent, of which includes 45 million Americans who claim Irish or Scottish as their primary family lineage. If you are of western European origin, there is a good chance that you also have Celtic blood. By learning Irish, you are not only opening yourself up to a good deal of rich Irish culture and history but also getting in touch with your cultural roots.

Below, you'll find several examples of essential phrases that give you a good idea of what to expect when it comes to the Irish language. You'll also find some audio samples below of Irish sentences so you can familiarize yourself with how the language sounds.

English Irish
Hello Dia duit
What's your name? Cén t-ainm atá ort?
My name's ... ... atá orm
Where are you from? Cé as thú?
I'm from ... Is as ... mé
How old are you? Cén aois thú?
I'm twenty (20) years old Tá mé fiche bliain d'aois
Excuse me Gabh mo leithscéal
I'm sorry Tá brón orm
Thank you Go raibh maith agat
I don't know Níl a fhios agam
I don't understand Ní thuigim
How are you? Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú?
I'm fine Tá mé togha
Can you speak more slowly? An bhfuil tú in ann labhairt níos moille?

What's your name?


Where are you from?


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