Irish language presents opportunity for immigrants and university students alike
2019-08-01 12:37:11 -
By Anantika Khindaria

As an immigrant in a new country, among other worries one always has to consider the language barrier they will encounter. 

Ireland, as a home for new migrants is unique, in that its native language is not widely spoken.

However, it is important to understand that the Irish language is pivotal to Irish identity, and even those who are not fluent can understand the expressiveness of communicating in a way that was subjugated for so long.
In fact, due to the country’s colonial history, Irish was systematically wiped out by the British and suffered its biggest blow during the Great Famine of 1845-49.

The formation of Conradh na Gaeilge, or the Gaelic League, in 1893 by Douglas Hyde and Eoin MacNeill — who would later become a prominent figure in the Easter Uprising of 1916 — helped increase awareness as to the plight of Ireland’s centuries-old language. Revitalisation has been taking place ever since.

This evokes similar sentiment among immigrants coming from oppressive countries now. They may feel a familiarity in learning Irish and the pride associated with the language. 

Irish also provides opportunity for many. Whether you are an incoming university student unsure of what to study, or a recent immigrant to the island looking for work, fluency in Irish is a standout skill on anyone’s CV.
Since the Official Languages Act was passed in 2003 and the European Union’s recognition of Irish as an official working language, the job market has opened up for graduates with fluency in the language who can work in the fields of media or translation.

University College Dublin offers a BA program in Modern Irish “aimed at students with an interest in the language, literature, heritage and history of Modern Irish from the beginning of the Modern Irish period to the present day”.
Likewise, Trinity College Dublin offers Irish as a standalone degree or as part of a Computers, Linguistics and a Language degree.

Perhaps most helpful for immigrants looking to learn Irish, Dublin City University launched a free online programme in January 2018. This first-of-its-kind language initiative is specifically geared toward “the global diaspora” and teaches topics such as greetings, blessings and curses, etymology and mythology.

“I believe that this course will not only be of great interest to the Irish community and diaspora abroad, but also to many Irish people here at home who would like to re-engage with the language, as well as new communities who may be connecting with the language for the first time,” said Minister for Education Joe McHugh when he helped launch the programme. 

Promotion outside the classroom could also be paramount in gaining fluency, by means of exposure to film and music in Irish or even changing language settings on mobile devices. Immersion is key.

More information on Irish language Government careers and resources can be found at
TAGS : irish language gaelic language irish community
Other Integration News
Most Read
Most Commented