Gaeltacht’s Future with Liam Ó Cuinneagáin (Ep. 29)

Kerry - Beautiful Ireland

Hear about traveling to Ireland to speak the Irish language, with Liam Ó Cuinneagáin, founder of Oideas Gael. Liam and Eoin discuss the past, present and future of the Gaeltacht regions (where Irish Gaelic is spoken in some communities).

You’ll realize why it’s so important that you’re part of this movement to speak Ireland’s native language.

What you’ll hear

  • What’s the future of the traditional Gaeltacht regions? It’s a negative prognosis. Imagine being an Irish speaker living there, and store workers refusing to speak any bit of Irish with you.
  • At what point should you travel to Oideas Gael in Ireland to learn Irish Gaelic.
  • Embrace a principle for language learning: don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
  • Before traveling to Ireland, consider attending an immersion weekend within traveling distance. It will put you in touch with others who are on the same journey as you.
  • Is the Connacht Irish dialect getting stronger because of TG4 being based there?
  • There’s a fourth dialect emerging: the Dublin or Leinster dialect of Irish Gaelic

Also read about Audrey’s journey to Oideas Gael.

Mentioned in the show

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14 thoughts on “Gaeltacht’s Future with Liam Ó Cuinneagáin (Ep. 29)”

  1. Michael Sheahan


    I’m writing from San Francisco having moved here from Ireland in the early 90s. I was reared in Kerry and Tipperary with little personal knowledge of Donegal other than my postman hero. Danny McDaid, the cross-country runner.

    I have just completed a novel about Donegal set during the 19th century. Sadly, I have only a small grasp of the Gaelic language and the Donegal dialect. The reason I’m posting is that I’m looking for help in translating a few Gaelic words, about 40.
    I would gladly pay for services.

  2. Cad é mar atá sibh a Eoin agus foireann,

    While I’ve enjoyed all your podcasts, this one was particularly enjoyable if only for the reason that I’ve met and have had personal interaction with both the host and the guest. Listening to the conversation between yourself and Liam was like being in the presence of two old friends. Both yourself and Liam have such a great way of inspiring people to “keep at it” when they experience doubts about the whole idea of learning Irish. I have to admit, I cringed just a little when I heard you mention to Liam that I had some difficult moments at Oideas Gael; not that he wasn’t already aware of it. My only thought was that I hope others listening to the podcast, if they might be thinking of attending classes there at some point, don’t get discouraged after hearing of my difficulties. It’s true, as I moved into higher levels the lessons got much more challenging and I had a few moments where I was just a bit overwhelmed; made much more difficult because of a medical emergency experienced by a family member back home. But, all in all, it was a fantastic and enjoyable experience. I’d recommend it to anyone attempting to learn the language or just to learn more about Irish culture and see some of the most beautiful parts of Ireland there is. Both my wife and I are making plans to return in 2016.
    I can’t add much to what has already been said in previous podcasts and other forums concerning the future of the Irish language both with-in and outside the Gaeltacht and Ireland in general. I’m in complete agreement with both yours and Liam’s views on how to promote and encourage the language’s growth. The approach that both your program and Liam’s at Oideas Gael take, in my opinion, is a positive step in the right direction. To you both I say “Keep up the good work” and “Feicfidh mé sibh beirt go luath” !

    1. Pat,

      táimid ar bhfeabhas, go raibh maith agat.

      Thanks for sharing that – I hope others will read your comment and use it to help them to keep at it.

      Glad to hear of a potential 2016 trip 🙂

  3. It was wonderful to hear Eoin and Liam talking about the Gaeltacht and other things. They’re both so wonderful if you had one drop of Irish blood I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to jump on a plane straight away and go to one of Liam’s all-Irish speaking and cultural events in beautiful Ireland! I know that’s the effect it had on me.My health’s not so good at the moment but I’d love to go some time. I’ve listened to Radio Failte, wonderful. A week or so ago I discovered TG 4 after reading about it in an article by Eoin,I was very happy,I always wanted to watch Irish tv from Ireland,I watch it on my I-pad,creidim an Nuacht ag eisteacht sa Ghaeilge bhionn sli maith an Ghaeilge a foghlaim. These numbskulls who come to the Gaeltacht,and then refuse to talk Irish(even though they are Irish!) They ‘d rather speak English,the language of the German barbarians who have been Ireland’s occupies and persecutors for hundreds of years. And they’re still there.,in the North.With their English flags.and their guns.If they don’t want to speak Irish why don’t they speak Macedonian? Or Chnese? Or Bugarian? Nice people! Hey’ve never murdered the Irish! They’ve never been Ireland’s enemies!

  4. Pádraig Mc Nally

    The MUNSTER dialect is considered to be the easiest dialect to learn, of the three dialects in Irish. This bit of info might help some learners to make a choice. Pádraig.

  5. WOW! I loved hearing the Podcast agus what Liam had to say about the learning of the Irish Language. To where i want to be in one of his classes in the near future. After stopping agus saying hi to Eoin. Plus who ever i meet. Go raith maith agat for doing what you do.

  6. GRMA, Eoin. It was a great discussion with Liam.
    I attended Oideas Gael for the first time this past summer.
    A had a truly wonderful experience. And, yes, I arrived with a strong hesitancy to speak Irish with others for fear of making mistakes. But by the end of the week I had given up that issue and experienced an opening up of doors for better learning.

    In regards to what Liam mentioned about local store owners reluctant to speak/respond in Irish – we (students) had a great conversation about the language that may make for future podcasts for you.

    What we students agreed was that Irish is a language of the culture but English is the language of economy and business.

    We think they can live in harmony together but it will take effort on the part of the diaspora as well as locals to keep the culture/language vibrant.

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