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Irish 101: An Introduction to Irish Language and Culture

Get an introduction to Ireland’s culture by learning the basics of the Irish language.

57,019 enrolled on this course

Irish 101:  An Introduction to Irish Language and Culture
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

Learn the basics of Irish language

If you’ve always wanted to learn how to speak Irish, this course is the ideal place to start. You’ll master some of the basics of Irish, including greetings, introductions, Irish names, numbers, and other essentials.

By the time you’re finished, you’ll have a deeper understanding of the origins and cultural significance of one of the oldest literary languages in Europe.

Explore the history of the Irish language

Ireland is home to a unique language and a vibrant Gaelic culture.

On this course, you’ll discover how Irish people drew inspiration from nature to create their own unique script and alphabet. You’ll explore the origins of Ogham, and how the Irish alphabet developed.

Engage with Irish culture through language

As well as looking at the basics of the language, you’ll explore Ireland’s rich culture of dance, Gaelic games, music, storytelling and literature. You’ll gain an insight into the language of Ireland and the people who speak it.

You’ll also learn about the Gaeltachtaí – the places in Ireland where or Irish is the main language of communication.

Improve your Irish pronunciation

If you’re hoping to understand the basics of Irish pronunciation, this course gives you the chance to do so. As well as looking at things like Irish blessings and curses, you’ll also delve into some of the naming conventions used in the language.

Bígí linn – join us!


  • Week 1


    • Fáilte/Welcome

      This activity is a short introduction to what you can expect throughout this course, in terms of structure, content, and workload.

    • Litreacha/Let's start with letters!

      In this activity we will look at the Irish alphabet, sounds, and pronunciation.

    • Deas bualadh leat/Nice to meet you

      We will learn important phrases, such as, 'Hello', 'What is your name?', and 'Goodbye' in Irish.

    • Ainmneacha/Names

      Let's discuss all things regarding Irish names - first names, naming conventions, surnames, and the vocative case!

    • Beannachtaí agus Mallachtaí/Blessings and Curses

      This activity covers blessings and curses, a rich heritage, and part of Irish traditions and superstitions.

    • Céard atá foghlamtha agat?/What have you learnt?

      Now that we've finished the core activities we are very curious - how have you found it and what have you learnt?

  • Week 2

    Cárb as tú?/Where are you from?

    • Fáilte/Welcome

      Welcome to week two of Irish 101.

    • Lámh Chúnta/A Helping Hand

      This activity is for learners who are joining late.

    • Cárb as duit?/Where do you come from?

      How to talk about where in the world you come from.

    • An Teach/The House

      In this activity, we'll be discussing the house. They come in every shape and size, and by the end, you should be able to tell us all about yours.

    • Éire/Ireland

      Ireland is a small island on the western edge of Europe, and it is known for its beautiful scenery and historic landscapes.

    • Céard atá foghlamtha agat?/What have you learnt?

      This is a chance for learners to reflect on our activities of the week.

  • Week 3

    An Teach agus An Teaghlach/The House and The Family

    • Fáilte/Welcome

      Introduction to Week 3 - Learn to talk about the family, amenities, and give directions.

    • An Teaghlach/The Family

      In this activity we will talk about the family. They come in all shapes and sizes and by the end of the week you will be able to talk about yours.

    • Áiseanna/Amentities

      In this activity, we will discuss the amenities in our area, with a spotlight on the cinema and Irish film.

    • Treoracha/Directions

      We will learn about directions

    • Céard atá foghlamtha agat?/What have you learnt?

      We've come to the end of the week, and the end of the course. In this final activity, we'll review what we hope you've learnt and invite you to stay in touch and enter our competition.

  • Week 4

    Spórt, Caitheamh Aimsire & Ceol/Sport, Hobbies & Music

    • Fáilte/Welcome

      Welcome to week four of Irish 101.

    • Caitheamh Aimsire/Pastimes

      In this activity we will learn about our hobbies.

    • Ceol/Music

      We will explore the wonders of Irish music.

    • Spórt/Sport

      Sport in Ireland

    • Súil siar ar an tSeachtain/Review of the Week

      Review of the week and the course.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

Add to Wishlist to be emailed when new dates are announced

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Engage with the Irish language through culture
  • Explore the beginnings of the written language through learning about OGHAM and the origins of the Irish alphabet
  • Discuss greetings, blessings and curses in the Irish language
  • Discuss where you and your people come from
  • Describe your family, your home and your interests
  • Compare Irish names and gain an understanding of naming conventions in Irish
  • Explore the cultural association of the language with mythology, sport and music
  • Identify the Gaeltachtaí or Irish speaking areas where Irish is the main language of communication

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at anyone interested in Irish language, history and culture. If you’ve always wanted to learn Irish, this course gives the ideal starting point, providing context for the language and its origins.

Who will you learn with?

Ollamh le Gaeilge in DCU. Eochair do chultúr agus d'oidhreacht na tíre í an Ghaeilge, dar liom.
Professor of Irish in DCU. I believe that Irish is a key to the culture and heritage of Ireland.

Associate Professor and Senior Researcher in Dublin City University. Head of the Ideas Lab in the National Institute for Digital Learning@DCU - @1MNGM

I am a designer and doctoral candidate working to better understand the motivations and self-concepts of those learning Irish. I enjoy helping learners explore both these themes and our language.

I am an educator, senior project manager & lecture through Irish in Dublin City University. I enjoy helping learners, learn online, speak Irish & discover the rich culture woven through the language.

Who developed the course?

Dublin City University

Dublin City University is a young, dynamic and ambitious Irish university with a distinctive mission to transform lives and societies through education, research and innovation.

Endorsers and supporters

funded by

Irish National Lottery logo

funded by


funded by


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