Irish Language In Derry ☘️: In this blog, we talk about interesting information you should know about Gaelic in in County Derry. In addition, we cover the history of the Irish language in this particular county and ponder on its present and future. Let us read on to discover more.


For quite some time now – let us say… a few decades, at the very least – we saw massive efforts on reviving a somewhat lost language: the Irish language (or Gaelic). May it be music, dance, theatre or even sports, more and more people are now discovering the long-hidden Irish language in them. As a result, the Irish cultural revival now provides loads of positives, which we will further expound in the following sections.


All in all, many places in Ireland continue to push for the revival of the Irish language. Included on the places is County Derry. Like many places, Co Derry has a rich history when it comes to the Irish language. It has come and gone, and now the people of County Derry continue to fight for its revival.


Below, let us take a look at the state of the Irish language in County Derry today. But before that, let us cover a bit about Co Derry itself and its Irish language history. Continue reading to learn more.



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What you need to know about the Irish language in Derry


Before talking about Gaelic, let us first discover the place they call County Derry.

Sula labhraímid faoin Ghàidhlig, faighimis ar dtús an áit ar a dtugann siad Contae Dhoire.


County Derry is one of the thirty two official counties of Ireland, six counties in the northern part (which includes Counties Armagh, Antrim, Fermanagh, Down and Tyrone.) and nine counties of Ulster. This county covers an area of of 2,118 km2 (818 sq mi). It also has a population of approximately 247,132, according to the latest census.


Here are some facts that you should know about the county, as per Irish Central:

Seo roinnt fíricí ba chóir a bheith ar eolas agat faoin gcontae, de réir Irish Central:


Irish Name: Doire – “Oak Wood”

Nickname: The Oak-leaf County

Population: 240,000 (approximate)

Area: 2,000 Square Kilometres

Province: Ulster

County Town: Derry

Read more: Mayo and the Cliffs of Moher tours

GAA Colors: Red and White

Common Surnames: Doherty, McLaughlin, Gallagher, McCloskey, Kane, Kelly, Coyle, Moore, Bradley, McKeever and Campbell.

Famous People with Derry roots: Paul Getty, Cardinal John McCloskey of New York, U.S.A., Sir William Massey, Premier of New Zealand and Col. Robert Torrens, Boxer John Duddy, Singer Nadine Coyle, actress Roma Downey, Martin McGuinness.


History of Gaelic in Co Derry


Like most counties we know of in Ireland, County Derry has – or had – a very strong Irish-speaking population in the midst of the 19th century. However, things went a bit south on some places, with the Irish language only surviving largely in the upland area towards the south of the country.


The 1901 census that ensued indicates that a majority of the Irish speakers at the time mostly lived in the area ranging from Sleacht Néill/ Carn Tóchair, beyond to Moin na nIonadh
(Moneyneena) and over to Beinn Fhada (Benedy) Glen.


Another indication by the 1901 census says that within this part of the Sperrins, some townlands recorded as many as 50 per cent of the population being bilingual native Irish speakers.


The early 1900s saw major efforts to retain the language by setting up local branches of Conradh na Gaeilge. It saw a huge success in teaching the Irish language, especially to the younger generation. However, even with all of the major efforts exerted, the Irish language continued to decline – County Derry included. Around 1950s, only a handful of older Irish langage speakers remained throughout County Derry.


Sad news is, they had little to no opportunity to speak the language in their everyday lives. Obviously, they were the only ones left who could understand and speak the language fluently. No one else could.


Reviving the Irish language in County Derry


We have seen a massive revival of the Irish language in the past decades across Ireland. Who leads the effort? The answer are the Gaelscoil (plural form: Gaelscoileanna) or what we can refer to as Irish-medium Education providers.


Irish-medium Education aims to associate the newer generation with bilingualism (i.e., speaking and understanding both Irish and English), citing a lot of benefits such as more employment opportunities, rediscovering our culture and heritage, introducing Ireland’s culture to the world, upbringing children with more confidence and a lot more.


County Derry contributed plenty in terms of providing efforts to revive the Irish language and culture across Ireland, wanting to create a model for language reinstatement on a national scale. This model, carefully moulded, aims to spread the following message: respecting bilingualism and allowing the healthy co-existence of both the Irish and English language in Ireland.


It is now only a matter of time when the Irish language can once again become an important part of Ireland’s communities.

Níl ann anois ach ceist ama nuair is féidir leis an nGaeilge a bheith ina cuid thábhachtach de phobail na hÉireann arís.


Learn Irish through Fluentirish


Before continuing, we would like to give our thanks in providing an information-filled piece on the Irish language in County Derry.


Now that we have shared with you some background and a bit of history about the Irish language in County Derry, 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!