Irish Language In County Down 🍀: In this blog, we provide a bit of history and some background when it comes to the Irish language in County Down. What is known about County Down (or simply Co Down)? When did it speak the Irish language and when did the language start to decline? Continue reading this blog to learn more.

 

Ah – another day, another opportunity to discuss an Irish county! In the past months, we have discussed many of the counties we have in Ireland, mainly sharing some background on the featured county and information on when and how they spoke the Irish language or Gaelic.

 

Today will be no different, as we will discuss another county in Ireland, namely Co Down. What are some things to note about County Down? Are there any interesting sites to see there?

 

What about the Irish language there? How early were they recorded speaking or writing in the Irish language according to historians and researchers? Finally, when did the decline in speaking Irish happen and which language replaced it? Learn all of that and more by reading below.

 

 


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Irish language in County Down: a bit of background

 

County Down is one of the six official counties of Northern Ireland, along with Counties Armagh, Antrim, Fermanagh, Derry and Tyrone. It is located in the northeastern part of Ireland. The county, right next to southeast shore of Lough Neagh, covers roughly 2,448 km² (945 sq mi) of area and has a population of approximately 531, 665.

 

Strangford Lough and the Ards Peninsula are in the eastern side of the county. The largest town, called Bangor, is on the northeastern coast. Three more towns and cities are on its border: Newry lies on the western border with County Armagh, whilst Lisburn and Belfast lie on the northern border with County Antrim.

 

Earlier, the county had a different name: Downshire. It is currently one of the two counties of Northern Ireland to have a majority of its population have a Protestant background, the other County being Co Antrim to the north.

Níos luaithe, bhí ainm difriúil ag an gcontae: Downshire. Faoi láthair tá sé ar cheann den dá chontae i dTuaisceart Éireann a bhfuil cúlra Protastúnach ag tromlach an daonra. Is é an Contae eile ná Co Aontroma ó thuaidh.

 

Beautiful and memorable places in County Down

 

2018 emphasised the beauty of Co Down and presented it to the whole world.

Chuir 2018 béim ar áilleacht Co an Dúin agus chuir sé i láthair an domhain ar fad é.

 

In March 2018, The Sunday Times made a list of the Best Places to Live in Britain and published it. Five belonged in Northern Island whilst three in the list, you can find in County Down: Holywood, Newcastle and Strangford.

 

But If you just want to visit – see more and hopefully visit some beautiful places – in County Down, here we have a list of ‘Places of Interest‘ as per Kiddle:

 

  • You can visit the city of Newry in the south of the county. There, you can find St Patrick’s (Church of Ireland, 1578), overlooking the centre of the city coming from Church street or on the eastern side of the city, which we can consider as Irelands’ first ever Protestant church.

 

  • Go ahead and visit Brontë Homeland! It is an area of County Down located between Rathfriland and Banbridge, where Patrick Brontë had his church. It was, of course, named after Patrick Brontë (originally Brunty), father of Anne, Charlotte, Emily and Branwell. Not only did Patrick Brontë have his church here, but he also was born in this region.

 

  • One more: The Old Inn in Crawfordsburn. This inn is one of Ireland’s oldest holsteries, with existing records from as early as 1614. However, Donaghadee’s Grace Neill’s existed a bit earlier, which opened in 1611 – three years ealier than The Old Inn in Crawfordsburn. Famous people who have stayed there include Jonathan Swift, Dick Turpin, Peter the Great, Lord Tennyson, Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, former US president George H. W. Bush, and C. S. Lewis, who honeymooned there.

 

Irish language in County Down: a bit of history

 

Of course, there was a time that Gaelic, or simply the Irish language, was the dominant language in County Down. This was recorded as early as the 7th century AD, or approximately 1,300-1,400 years ago.

Bhí tráth ann gurbh í an Ghàidhlig an teanga cheannasach i gContae an Dúin. Taifeadadh é seo chomh luath leis an 7ú haois AD, nó timpeall 1,300-1,400 bliain ó shin.

 

However, as English came into the country, and ultimately the county, the Irish language saw its ‘down’fall (pun definitely unintended) in County Down. The Irish language was the sole language and prominent in County Down until the plantation at the beginning of the 17th century.

 

It did remained strong in the southern half of the county for two hundred more years. Large parts of Ireland and Scotland, between the years 1750 to 1900, saw the Irish language steadily replaced by English. Spoken Irish in Counties Down and Fermanagh were the first to die out, unfortunately.

 

Learn Irish through Fluentirish

 

Now that we have shared with you some background and a bit of history about the Irish language in County Down, we want to discuss how we can help you in everything Irish-related.

 

ba mhaith linn plé leat freisin conas is féidir linn cabhrú leat i ngach rud a bhaineann leis an nGaeilge.

 

If you can understand simple Irish, you will want to improve. Fluentirish is here for you. Listen every day to get on with Irish.

Má tá tú ábalta Gaeilge shimplí a thuiscint – beidh tú ag iarraidh biseach a dhéanamh. Tá Fluentirish anseo faoi do choinne. Bí ag éisteacht gach aon lá chun a bheith ag gabháil ar aghaidh i nGaeilge.

We provide informative blogs and helpful podcasts that can help in your quest to learn the Irish language.

 


>>Which level?: Find out which level of spoken Irish you understand!