Irish/Dialects

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Munster Irish

Irish exists in Munster in the counties of Cork, Kerry and Waterford. Evidence and recordings of the Irish spoken in other counties, such as Clare and Tipperary, does exist, but the language is not spoken natively there any more.

The traditional dialects of Munster are often split into two groups: West and East Munster. These categories best describe the dialects in the surviving Gaeltachts, with the dialects of the Gaeltachts of Counties Kerry and Cork making up the West Munster Group, and the Déise dialect of Ring, Co. Waterford being the sole surviving dialect of the East Munster group.

Textbooks focusing on a Munster dialect

Teach Yourself Irish, 1961. Several versions exist of various qualities. PDFs are available with consent of publisher. Please make sure you have the 1961 edition, which focuses on the Irish of Muskerry, West Cork.

The retypeset version of Teach Yourself Irish has the audio built in and more reliable search, but it also has typos.


Connacht Irish

Connacht Irish is spoken in Counties Galway, Mayo and Meath. The dialect of Rath Cháirn, in Meath, is from Connemara when farmers were transplanted early in the 20th century. Various areas in each county, apart from Meath, still have Irish with their own subdialects. Recordings of other counties still can be found on various websites, and some scholarly works have been written about them.

Textbooks focusing on Connacht dialects

  • Buntús na Gaeilge: An updated version of Hillers's course for Ulster Irish. This was updated after Hillers left Harvard to focus on Connacht Irish as opposed to Ulster Irish.
  • Learning Irish, O'Siadhail. Hands down the best instruction book for Connacht Irish, focusing on the dialect of Cois Fharraige, in Connemara.
  • Colloquial Irish 1 & 2. A popular coursebook designed around Connemara Irish containing audio done by actors from Ros na Rún. Less intense than Learning Irish.

Sadly, there are not many learning materials for Mayo Irish, though several books of stories in the dialect do exist as do several more linguistic oriented works.

Sounds of Connacht Irish

Ulster Irish

The only extant dialects of Ulster Irish are those found in Donegal, though a fair number of dialects from across the province have documentation and recordings. The last speaker of Irish in Leinster actually spoke a dialect of East Ulster, following the more accurate north-south divide of the dialects as opposed to a per-province type view.

Textbooks

  • Now You're Talking: The best way to start with Ulster Irish isn't actually only a book, but also a TV series produced in the 1990s. The videos for Now You're Talking can be found on Youtube and on the website Ultach.com. It's an audio-visual course that lets you hear some of the best Donegal Irish there is, and focuses on learning communicative phrases. The link given here includes an audio version and PDFs of the accompanying textbook.
  • Buntús na Gaeilge: A course designed by Baraba Hillers while she was at Harvard, a great text-based way to get into the Irish of Donegal. This is the one contained on Hillers's webpage at IU. The one at Harvard is a redesign of the course focusing on Connacht.

Sounds of Ulster Irish