Irish Language In The GAA ⚽: In this blog, we cover the importance or relevance of the Irish language in the GAA (The Gaelic Athletic Association). Furthermore, we share the measures that the GAA launched to promote the Irish language, as well as stating common Irish terms used in sports. Read on to learn more.


Next time you turn on the television and watch the sport called football but in Gaelic, why not go ahead and call it peil Ghaelach or Peile na Gaeltachta?


None in the world of Irish sports have exerted more effort to revive the language than the GAA, or the Gaelic Athletic Association. In fact, they have already launched different kinds of Irish language projects through the years. Cuaille, for example, is the GAA’s online Irish language magazine that shares various sports news focused in Ireland and word games such as a crossword puzzle and 10-quiz questions (Just an FYI: Irish speakers have the advantage in these words games!).


More on GAA’s Irish language projects


On the 30th of October, 2018, Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael, Seán Ó hÓráin announced undertaken various projects by the GAA regarding the Irish language in Croke Park. He then proceeded to announce the appointments of the GAA’s first fulltime Irish Language Officer, Jamie Ó Tuama, who has worked in the Irish language sector for more than 20 yrs.


Some more projects include announcing the GAA’s continued support for Fondúireacht Sheosaimh Mhic Dhonncha and the bilingual signage that was distributed to every club in the country. Some statements made by the Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael, Seán Ó hÓráin:


“The Irish language is at heart of the Association and we are better off as an association because of that. Our commitment to the language is clear from our appointment of an Irish language Officer earlier this month – and we wish Jamie Ó Tuama the best of luck in his new role.

“Our commitment to the Irish language is also clear from the joint venture between the GAA, An Roinn Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta, Foras na Gaeilge and Glór na nGael. The result of that coming together can be seen from the bilingual signage that is currently being distributed to clubs throughout the country.

“We are very happy with our partnership with Glór na nGael and with the development of Fondúireacht Sheosaimh Mhic Dhonncha. We wish to see this scheme going from strength to strength in the coming years.”


With all of that said, how important is the Irish language in Gaelic games? Does Irish even matter to the GAA – not only the GAA members, but also to other sporting bodies? Let us discuss all of that below and more. We strongly suggest you to continue reading to learn more.



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How the Irish language impacts the GAA


To answer the question on how important Irish is to the GAA, the answer is a lot. The language is a part of the GAA’s identity, basically, and is very much an important part of every match as they made it to.


First off, as a team participating in the games, the GAA requires you to fill out the team list in Irish. In addition, you also have to sign and address the official GAA correspondence using the Irish language.


But is it really all that? For some people out there, the GAA requiring Irish in almost everything is tantamount to Cúpla Focail or what you might know as broken Irish, Irish lip service etc. Basically, it means only using a bit of Irish words now and then. It is mainly used by the GAA, according to an Irish Examiner blog, as “official windowdressing, popular disinterest and sporadic enthusiasm“.


However, it can be argued that the Irish language, despite the statements made above, is still beneficial as it really does promote the language itself.


The GAA promoting the Irish language has also attracted members and players who love the language on par with their love for sports such as football and hurling.


If willing, a bit of cúpla focail here and there can help an individual learn more Irish words, ultimately leading to learning the language itself more.


Making it harder for the players and teams?


As we have mentioned above, there are those in the GAA that truly love the Irish language and are all for its promotion in the sporting body. However, a majority of the members are unfortunately not that invested in the initiatives being done to promote the Irish language and instead sees it as a hurdle. You also have to factor in that they only see the GAA as a sporting body and nothing else.


Of course, official correspondence done in Irish would not cause a negative impact, but requiring it on the field whilst playing certainly would.


For instance, depending on how well-versed a team is in the Irish language, it could either increase or diminish its chance to win a championship. Rules were specifically made that more or less required the use of the Irish language. For example, all players had to speak Irish on the field as tried by the underage section of the Dublin County Board (Cumann na Scoil Condae Átha Cliath) in 1918.


And, to emphasise the requirement of using the Irish language, a cup was also given to those who made steady progress in speaking Irish through the course of the year. To not let anyone stand idly, they also published some basic phrases that players should use in the field and both players and coaches in a huddle. Some basic phrases include the following:


Buaile ar a dthalaimh í.

Booil er a dholov ee.

Hit it on the ground.

Tóg suas ì.

Thogue soos ee.

Take it up.

Bíoídh i gcóir.

Bee gee igore.

Get ready.

Bhfuil sibh go léir i gcóir?

Will shiv gu lair igore?

Are you all ready?





Learn Irish through FluentIrish


Now that we have shared with you some things that you should know about the Irish language in the GAA, we also want to discuss with you 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!