Learn Irish Courses

Learn how to speak Irish and explore the culture and traditions behind one of Europe’s oldest living languages with these online Irish language courses.

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The Irish language is one of the oldest written languages in the world and examples of Irish words were first seen in a medieval alphabet called the Ogham, in the fifth century.

Irish is one of six other Celtic languages (including Scottish Gaelic, Manx, Welsh, Cornish, and Breton), and is most closely related to Scottish and Manx Gaelic.

It is thought that the first Irish speakers came from Europe and settled in Ireland more than two and a half thousand years ago.

Although we know there were many other languages spoken in Ireland before then, the Irish language as we know it started to take hold in the Christian era, around 400AD.

It then spread to Scotland, the Isle of Mann, and the west coast of the UK.

The future of the Gaelic language

‘Gaelic’ refers to either the Scottish Gaelic language or the Irish Gaelic language. Figures recorded in 2016 Ireland’s Census showed that 73,803 people (of a total population of 4.75 million) speak Irish daily. This equates to only 1.7 percent of the population.

However, many efforts are being made to uphold the Irish language and its culture.

Irish culture today

TG4 Irish Language Television was established in 1996 and shows daily Irish language television and culture programmes. This includes Irish sport, entertainment, news, and even reality TV.

Irish road signs feature Irish script and in the Republic of Ireland’s capital, Dublin, you’ll hear Irish language announcements on the tram.

Irish language courses

All of the Irish language courses on FutureLearn are led by leading academics from Dubin City University.

You’ll be introduced to the Irish language through an exploration of the country’s history and culture, as you learn how to speak, write, and understand words, phrases and dialogues in Irish.

You’ll get to grips with various elements of Irish culture and mythology through storytelling, music, literature and song.

You can also take the opportunity to explore the impact of the Irish language and culture on Irish art.

Beginners Irish to advanced speaking and writing

The courses range from complete beginners level to more advanced level learning as you undertake writing tasks and learn more complicated language and phrases.

FutureLearn’s online Irish language courses can be taken around the world for free and will support you to master one of the oldest living languages in Europe whilst learning more about the fascinating country of Ireland itself.

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