Interesting Information About the Gaelic Language

How has Gaelic influenced the English language?

There are a number of words of Irish Gaelic origin that are used in English. For example, the word galore comes from the irish go leor.
When you say in English 'He twigged what was happening' remember that it comes from the Irish word tuig meaning 'to understand'. Some believe that the American slang 'Do you dig?' comes from the same root.
The Irish word bodhraim, meaning to deafen, gave English the word to bother.
There are many other examples which I hope to return to at some point here on

What is Ogham? Is Ogham a language?

Ogham was an archaic system of writing and not a language. It was a system based on Latin that involved cutting a series of notches on wood or stone and was used mostly to mark the graves of important people. As use of the Latin alphabet grew after the arrival of Christianity in the 5th Century, the use of Ogham writing died out. See also Gaelic Alphabet page.

What caused the decline of the Gaelic language in Ireland?

Up to the 17th Century, Gaelic (or Irish or Irish Gaelic or Gaeilge if you prefer) was the language spoken by almost everybody in Ireland.
Because of the English Tudor conquest around that time, land was taken from the native aristocracy and given to English-speaking settlers. English became the language of administration and power in Ireland. From the 17th Century to the mid-19th century there was a huge increase in population to 8 million people, but the percentage of Gaelic speakers fell. To succeed in the Ireland of that time meant learning or speaking English. The Irish language began to lose its value rapidly.

Has there been an attempt to revive the Gaelic language?

While the Gaelic League had some success, by the beginning of the 20th Century, less than 20% of the population spoke the Irish language. Most of these were from fishing or small farm backgrounds -the poorest part of the population, experiencing the highest rate of emigration.
The revival movement continues the uphill battle to retain the language as an important part of Ireland's cultural identity today.

What does Gaelic Language sound like?

If you want to know what Irish Gaelic and the remaining living Celtic languages sound like, go to our Celtic language page.

What is Hiberno-English?

Hiberno English refers to the type of English or dialect of English spoken by many people in Ireland. It is heavily influenced by Irish Gaelic and the structures of the Irish language.
You may hear Irish people say things like:
Is it yourself that's in it? = Is it you?
Is herself at home? = Is your wife at home?
I'm after having me dinner = I've just had my dinner.
We had mighty craic last night= We had great fun last night.