Have No-one to Practice Irish Gaelic With?

Practice Irish Gaelic

When you take our free email course Irish for Beginners, we ask you to email us “What’s holding you back?” Here’s what Dawn emailed us recently:

The biggest thing that’s holding me back is lack of access to other Gaelic speakers! I feel a language is a bit useless – unless you have someone to PRACTISE the language with. But so far, this is fun. Cheers, LD

I absolutely agree with you – a language is to be practised. It’s a way of communication, of expressing yourself. Learning to speak Irish Gaelic is a way of making a real connection with your Irish heritage.

But a summary of my answer below is: reach out, and keep looking.

Finding Irish Speakers

If you’re so fond of your Irish heritage and of Ireland that you go so far as to wanting to speak our native language, then you’ve got a great motivation already. At least you know why it’s important to you to make the Irish part of your every day.

Next step in this checklist is to make sure that you’re creating your own personal Gaeltacht. If you feel like access to other speakers is holding you back, but you’re not taking the opportunity to immerse yourself in the language and culture, then you’ve jumped ahead too far!

Having a conversation with someone in Irish won’t spark your mastery of parts of the language. Instead, it’s your job to prepare every single day for that first possible conversation you’ll hold in Irish Gaelic. Which is why our first Bitesize lesson is about how to say “hello”.

Reaching out to places where Irish speakers are

You’re far more likely to find another learner looking to practise their Irish language with you, rather than finding Irish speakers willing to have a call with you. It’s a simple fact of supply and demand. So use that to your advantage: find other learners!

If you signed up to Bitesize Irish Gaelic, you’ll have received an invite to our private members-only Facebook group. That’s an ideal place to reach out to people on the same journey. Post to the group, see who else would be interested.

If you’ve got Irish language classes locally, then that should be your prime target. There’s obviously at least an advanced learner there teaching a class. Make good friends with them 🙂 Or start something!

Otherwise, reach out on our recommended Facebook groups for learning Irish Gaelic. Treat your love for Irish culture as a source of energy that will keep you going while you ask again, and again. You might make a point of asking each month.

What’s your tip for finding people to speak Irish with them? Leave a reply below.

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10 thoughts on “Have No-one to Practice Irish Gaelic With?”

  1. I agree with Dawn. It’s hard to learn a language on your own and not nearly as fun. I convinced a friend and a couple of my sisters to learn Irish with me. Now we have our own secret language! If you don’t have any relatives or friends you can bully into taking the plunge with you, italki is a great website for finding other Irish speakers to practice with: learners and teachers. https://www.italki.com/home

    1. Hi Basya,

      Thank you for commenting.

      That is very interesting 🙂 Are you having fun while using Irish while everyone around you is speaking English?

      Le meas,
      Ana.

    2. You’re a one lucky person, I have been trying to convince my own brother and one of his best friend who is a friend of mine too, to learn Irish but all I get is an excuse. Assuming Irish isn’t popular here in London much, I am not able to find good speakers in my University.

  2. Michael MacFaden

    There is an upcoming event in San Francisco /USA:
    18ú Deireadh Seachtaine Gaeltachta – The 18th Irish Language Immersion Weekend!
    23-25 Meán Fómhair (September), 2016 San Francisco!
    venue: UICC (United Irish Cultural Center)
    Bain Sult as do chuid Gaeilge! *** Enjoy speaking Irish!
    ceithre leibhéal *** four levels
    Múinteoirí den chéad scoth! (féach seo thíos) * Top class teachers! (see info below)
    Léann, Craic, Ceol, Cuideachta! * Learning, Fun, Music, Company!
    Tá sonraí agus foirm iarratais curtha leis seo mar pdf, agus ar fáil ar líne fosta ag an leathanach seo ***
    http://www.onesourcegraphics.com/Gaeilge/
    Details and a registration form are attached as a pdf, and are also to be found online at this page:
    http://www.onesourcegraphics.com/Gaeilge/
    Bí linn!!! *** Join us!!! Slán go fóillín!
    Nikki

  3. Haigh a Eoin, talking of finding other Irish speakers, I am going to Clare in August with my brother and nephew. We are staying in Quilty and amoung other things I am planning to surprize my brother by trying out TedTours- I’ll let you know if it’s any good.I will try out what I’ve learnt so far- so I hope all goes well! Have you been to Clare before? Ian.

  4. Lately, I’ve taken an interest in Traditional Archery; Welsh longbow, my own Orford Cedar wood arrows and all. Don’t worry, the only thing in danger from me is the paper target with supporting hay bale behind it, and sometimes not even that! There is a walk-through archery range in San Diego, at the Balboa Park, just off R163. Nearby, there are some display/visitor center buildings, each about the size of a 3-car garage. These represent various nations, including Ireland. I’ve heard there is someone teaching Irish at the Ireland building, don’t know how often. Anyone is invited to stop by during your visit at the Park for a chat. Usually attended during the weekend but sometimes during the week, also. I usually visit after a tournament such as the King Arthur hosted by the San Diego Archers club this June 19. They are happy having visitors speak the language and I’m sure you’ll be quite welcome. Most are at the beginner level but all will benefit.

    By the way, Eoin, how does one say ‘longbow’ in Irish? Are/were there any known Irish archers in the island’s history? My bow is, of course, stained green with Celtic knotwork on the front (flat) side of the bow. Gets a lot of good comments. I use what’s sometimes called a Welsh longbow, as any self-respecting Irish man would never use an English longbow, now would he? :p

    1. Hi Marc,

      Thank you for commenting. That is very interesting. It seems that you have mastered that skill 🙂

      Once you visit the building that represents Ireland, we would love to hear about your experience.

      I’ll pass your comment to Eoin.

      Le meas,
      Ana.

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