Developing learning tools for people who want to learn Irish Gaelic allows us to have a clear image of where the Irish language is headed. We met people who were a bit unsure about starting the journey of learning Irish Gaelic because they didn’t see many people speaking it on a daily basis.
If you feel the same way, don’t worry – Irish Gaelic is a living language and it’s used in everyday situations. Understanding this will allow you to enjoy the process of learning Irish and not see it as a chore.
Irish Gaelic is being learning in Irish schools, online with the help of our Bitesize method, and it’s used in day to day situations in Gaeltacht (and across Ireland). Seeing Irish Gaelic as the living language it is will help you learn it with pleasure, making sure you’ll get fluent faster (or achieve your Irish learning goals, whichever those may be).
The best thing to do, if you want to convince yourself of this is to immerse yourself in the Irish language. To do this, you can:
- Listen to Irish Radio & Television
- Search online for Irish Gaelic podcasts (including the Bitesize podcast)
- Watch Irish Gaelic Pronunciation videos
- Listen to Irish Gaelic audio pronunciations
- Take a trip to Ireland and visit the Gaeltacht area
If you have 5 minutes, please do read the following interview of Michael Heary – Bitesize Irish Gaelic community member. Michael moved from the UK to Ireland and is learning Irish Gaelic to strengthen his connection to his Irish heritage.
Michael sees Irish as a living language and that is helping him enjoy the learning process. He also has some great insight and advice for people wanting to learn Irish Gaelic.
Bitesize: Whereabouts in the world do you live and what do you like about that place?
Michael: I live in Waterford city in the south-east of Ireland. I love it because it is a historic city with some beautiful countryside around it. There is also a great cultural life here, with some good museums, theater, cinemas, festivals. It’s close to the sea as well, so everything is easily accessible.
And it’s in the sunny south-east so the climate is warmer and drier than other parts of Ireland.
Bitesize: What got you wanting to speak Irish Gaelic?
Michael: I’ve got an Irish background so have always known a few words and phrases though never studied it properly.
I moved to Ireland from the UK earlier this year and decided to embrace the language as part of my heritage.
I have studied other languages so can appreciate its distinctive differences from say English or French.
Bitesize: Do you have Irish ancestry? Tell us about it.
Michael: Both my parents are Irish and born in what is now the Republic. My mother was born in Dungarvan, county Waterford though spent some of her childhood in Tipperary town. My father’s family comes from Navan in county Meath. They both left Ireland in the 1950s and met and married in the UK where I was born.
The Enthusiast Plan
Hey everyone, we wanted to thank you for reading this interview. If you find this story inspiring, we recommend you to sign up for the Enthusiast plan on Bitesize.
The Enthusiast plan features more quizzes, video lessons and more advanced live lessons with our native Irish speaking language assistants.
Bitesize: How do you use Bitesize Irish Gaelic?
Michael: I started looking at the early lessons and worked my way through them. I like the pronunciation of the lessons and listen to them several times. I dip in and repeat lessons regularly.
Bitesize: What advice would you have for a total beginner of Irish Gaelic?
Michael: Remember that Irish is a living language and is used in everyday situations as well as in schools and classes. Watch TG4 (I like the soap opera Ros na Rún), and listen to Irish radio so you hear it being used naturally. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes.
It takes time to develop a feel for a new language and there will be times when you despair of ever making progress. Reading aloud is good practice and helps get your tongue used to pronouncing the language properly.