Irish Language In Tyrone ☘️: In this blog, we share with you everything you need to know about the Irish language in Tyrone. We will also talk about if any Gaeltacht areas still exist in County Tyrone. Continue reading this blog to learn more.


We have already discussed quite a few blog tackling different counties in Ireland. For example, we have recently blogged about County Clare and County Armagh. We will discuss another in this blog, namely County Tyrone.


Where is County Tyrone located? What is it known for? Does it have a Gaeltacht area? Multiple Gaeltacht areas, even? And finally, does it still have Irish speakers to this day?


Below, we will discover all of that and answer the questions. Read on to learn more.



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Irish language in Tyrone: background


First, we talk about County Tyrone in general.


County Tyrone is one of the thirty-two counties of Ireland. To classify further, it is one of the six counties of Northern Ireland and one of the nine counties of Province Ulster.


It has an Irish name of Tir Eoghain. This means ‘land of Eoghan’, the name given to the conquests successfully made by the  Cenél nEógain from the provinces of Airgíalla and Ulaid. It was given an English form as Tirowen or Tyrowen, closer to the Irish pronunciation.


According to the latest census, it has a population of approximately 180,000 people. Its county town is Omagh and has GAA colours of white and red.


A bit of County Tyrone history


The North’s largest county was even larger than before, believe it or not. History states that Tyrone (Tir Eoghain back then) stretched as far north as Lough Foyle and comprised part of what we know today as County Londonderry east of the River Foyle. County Londonderry detached itself out of Tyrone between 1610 and 1620 when that land ‘landed’ (pun unintended) to the Guilds of London to set up schemes of profit making on natural resources located there.


With that said, we exaggerate you not when we consider County Tyrone as one of the most beautiful counties of the country. You would, too, if you get there and see for yourself. Even beautiful pictures of it do no justice to its beauty. This county has an abundance of amazing scenery from the Sperrin Mountains, a composition of gentle hills and river valleys of the plains that reach 2,000 foot in height.


Want to know more about the beauty of County Tyrone? Sean Dunne of Irish Central writes:


One of the main attractions located in the Omagh area is the Ulster-American Folk Park. Four miles north of Omagh, the Folk Park initially began by the donation of a cottage by the Mellon family in 1818. The park is an outdoor museum that tells the story of emigration in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Many of these emigrants went on to achieve great things and several of the signatories of the US Constitution were from Tyrone.


Dun Uladh, “Fort of Ulster”, is the provincial headquarters of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, and serves as a centre for those who wish to develop a deeper awareness of Ireland’s ancient cultural heritage. From early in the year the centre plays host to Irish dance and music acts of all types.


Does County Tyrone have a Gaeltacht area?


History states that Irish was split into two because of the partition of Ireland that happened in 1921. The process divided Ireland into two self-governing polities: Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland between the Government of the United Kingdom and Ireland, respectively.


County Tyrone was one of the counties of Northern Ireland, therefore it was now governed (up until this day) by the United Kingdom. However, County Tyrone is still one of the counties of Northern Ireland that had Gaeltacht areas (places who have numerous people speaking the Irish language). The Sperrin Mountains in County Tyrone, specifically, was a Gaeltacht area along with the Rathlin Island in County Antrim.


Irish language in Tyrone: the last of the Irish speakers in County Tyrone


Fluent Irish language speakers continue to diminish each day. Those that are fluent are now old in age. Of course, some have already passed away. An example of this is Sheila McAleer of County Tyrone. Let us read some excerpts taken from the Irish Times:


THE DEATH of Sheila McAleer from Carrickmore, Co Tyrone, at the age of 90, removes one of the few surviving links with the Gaeltacht of mid-Tyrone, a strongly Irish-speaking area in the early part of the last century.


Sheila had an encyclopaediac knowledge of the Irish language and general Gaelic heritage of mid-Tyrone.


As a child, she had talked Irish to some customers from Creggan when they came into the family shop in Carrickmore. After qualifying as a teacher, she taught in Creggan, and was close to the last Irish speakers there. The last of these died in 1951.


After the last native speakers died, Sheila continued to promote Irish. She was a bridge between the disappeared Gaeltacht and the new generation that has taken up Irish over the past decade or so.


Her family had encouraged interest in the Irish language and all things Irish.


Sheila was the second daughter and fourth and last child of Patrick Campbell and his wife Mary (née Rafferty).


She was predeceased by her husband Joseph. She is survived by her children Cormac, Maureen (Duckenfield), Nuala, Joey and Gráinne, 14 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.


Sheila McAleer: born June 18th, 1918; died September 27th, 2008


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Now that I have shared with you readers the story and history of the Irish language in County Tyrone, Fluentirish wants to discuss how we can help you in everything Irish-related.


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