Welcome to our website, or as they say in Irish or Scottish Gaelic, Failte. As the name of our site suggests, we're an online resource guide dedicated to celebrating all things Gaelic. Here we explore the language and it's variants, the culture and history of the Gaels, Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, as well as dabble in a variety of other fun and interesting Celtic topics. Do be sure and add our website to your browser's favorites list, as we'll be making an effort to continually add fresh and interesting content perpetually.
For those of you who are just getting acquainted with the topic, the Gaels are an ethnolinguistic group that originated in prehistoric Ireland. They eventually went on to expand to Scotland and the Isle of Man. This expansion resulted in three primary Goidelic languages forming, that being Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx Gaelic. Our website explores the differences between these three Goidelic language variations, and will leave you with a better understanding of the Gaelic language family, and it's related branches.
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even as far back as 2600 BC. Since then the language has dramatically changed and evolved, as all languages tend to do over long periods of time.
Gaelic today is only spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people. Government statistics suggest that it is the household language of only about 3% of the whole of Ireland's population, and unfortunately those numbers are decreasing by the year. Outside of first language speakers, roughly half a million Irish people can speak some Gaelic, with fluent speakers numbering about 360,000.
In the Republic of Ireland Gaelic has the recognized governmental status of being Ireland's national and first official language. In 1922 after the establishment of the Irish Free State, the government made it compulsory to hold a degree of proficiency in Irish for any newly elected positions. Today things are much less stringent in practice despite Ireland's Constitutional requirements, for example Irish legislation is required to be published in both Irish Gaelic and English, however it's primarily only accessible in English.
Outside of Ireland, there is a large and ever growing interest in Irish Gaelic, especially amongst countries with large populations of Irish descendants, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and even South Africa. Language courses for Irish Gaelic are now popping up at universities around the globe, for example the University of Cambridge in England recently began offering courses in both contemporary Irish Gaelic, as well as Old Irish Gaelic.
Irish Gaelic, or Gaeilge as it's properly pronounced in Ireland, is a Goidelic language within the Indo-European language family. The language is native to Ireland, with written records dating as far back as the 5th and 6th centuries, though obviously scholars have concluded that the language is far older than that, and was likely brought over to Ireland by Celtic settlers possibly
haven't officially concluded how long Gaelic has been spoken in Scotland, though officially it can be traced back to at least the 5th and 6th centuries.
According to an official government conducted census, there are currently about 60,000 Scottish Gaelic speakers in all of Scotland, which amounts to just over 1% of the entire population. Sadly rates of declining usage have been gaining speed in recent decades, and attempts to revive the language have only had a limited amount of success. Despite the decline, efforts are currently underway to renew a Gaelic revival in Scotland, with the BBC recently launching a Gaelic only news channel, as well as a Gaelic only secondary school opening in the city of Glasgow in 2006.
The lack of official recognition for Scottish Gaelic within Scotland in decades past has according to some been a large contributor to it's recent decline. In light of this fact new legislation was passed in 2005 by the Scottish Parliament called the Gaelic Language Scotland Act. This single piece of legislation has been the first to formally recognize the language, and there are hopes it will eventually pave the way to securing Gaelic as a national language alongside English, and eventually bring it back into government and educational institutions.
As is the case with Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic is also spoken outside of Scotland wherever large populations of Scottish descendents can be found. These places include Nova Scotia, greater Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. In the case of Nova Scotia, there are roughly 2,000 speakers of the Canadian dialect of Scots Gaelic. I plan to write a separate article about this very soon, so please stay tuned for that to be written.
Scottish Gaelic, or Gàidhlig as it's properly pronounced in Scotland, is one of three primary Goidelic languages, and is classified within the Indo-European and Celtic language families. Scottish Gaelic is derived from and is closely related to Irish Gaelic, being brought to Scotland with the migration of the Gaels, where it eventually replaced Old Norse, Cumbric, and Pictish. Scholars
language, there are current revival efforts underway to at the very least pass the language on as a second tongue.
Since 1974, the shock of the language becoming extinct started frantic revival efforts. Today it's estimated that there are roughly a hundred or so fluent speakers, including several young children who are considered as new native speakers. Outside of fluent speakers, there are an additional 1,700 citizens within the Isle of Man who profess at least a little knowledge of Manx, accounting for slightly over 2% of the island's total population.
Until the 13th century Irish Gaelic was the predominant tongue on the Isle of Man, however it was around that time that the language began to pull away in it's own direction, and by the 15th century it became a solitary unique Gaelic dialect. For another four centuries the language thrived, however by the 19th century it began to be steadily replaced by English. Eventually parents stopped teaching their children the language altogether, and eventually we're met with the contemporary tragedy of another beautiful Indo-European language passing into history.
Despite the language's disappearance from an everyday conversational setting, much like Irish Gaelic it still has a large cultural influence on the island. You can regularly find business names incorporating Manx words into their brands or slogans, as well as it being used in various cultural ceremonies. Manx Gaelic is also recognized by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, as well as being one of the regional languages within the framework of the British Irish Council.
Manx or Manx Gaelic is a language native to the Isle of Man, and is the third Goidelic language within the Indo-European and Celtic language families. The language is properly pronounced as Gailck or Gaelg. Unfortunately there are currently no living native speakers of the language, with the last speaker Ned Maddrell passing away in 1974. Despite Manx Gaelic being extinct as a first
Newfoundland through a large surge of Irish immigration. It's thought that up to 90% of all Irish immigrants who moved to the region within the 17th to 18th centuries, spoke only Irish Gaelic exclusively.
Between the years 1610 and 1628, there were seven British colonies established on the island of Newfoundland. It was common during that time for London based merchant companies to use poor Gaelic speaking Irish and Welsh peasants to settle newly establish colonies in North America, and this was especially the case in Newfoundland. These new Gaelic speaking inhabitants built a large network of fishing villages, and thus they named the island Talamh an Éisc, the Gaelic meaning for fishing grounds. This Gaelic name is still used today, making it the sole place outside of Europe with it's own Irish Gaelic name.
By 1836 over four hundred settlements had popped up all over Newfoundland, with half of the island's total population being Irish. In decades prior Ireland had been faced with serious economic difficulties, and most of these immigrants had virtually no other choice but to seek out a better livelihood elsewhere. Quite literally whole communities in Ireland uprooted and made the voyage westward, and it was this extremely high concentration of Irish Gaelic speakers that enabled the language to gain such a strong foothold in the newly founded colony.
According to a recent Canadian census report, there are only approximately ten people within Newfoundland who speak Newfoundland Irish as a first tongue, however it is not known with certainty that they speak the traditional dialect, hence the language is classified officially as extinct. The exact date of the last official Newfoundland Irish speaker to pass away is not known, however professors who have studied the subject at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, have concluded the language went extinct during the 20th century. There have been some relativity mild revival efforts recently, but thus far none of them have had a profound impact.
Newfoundland Irish, or Newfoundland Gaelic as is sometimes called, is a now extinct Gaelic dialect that was widely spoken by Irish settlers in Newfoundland Canada from the 17th to 20th centuries. This particular dialect of Gaelic originated in southeastern Ireland in the counties of Cork, Waterford, Kilkenny, Wexford, and Tipperary, and was obviously spread to