Urban Gaeltacht 🌆: Do you know what an urban Gaeltacht is? Are urban Gaeltachtai the future of the Irish language? In this blog, let us talk about what you need to know about urban Gaeltacht. If you want to learn more, then definitely read this blog.


In recent times, Ireland has tried its very best to revive its lost language. Around just a week ago, the European Union announced that they now consider the Irish language as an official working language, amongst 23 other European languages.


That in itself is a step forward in establishing Irish Gaelic again. But of course, more effort needs to be done to truly bring back the language our ancestors used eons ago.

Is céim chun tosaigh é sin ann féin i mbunú na Gaeilge arís. Ach ar ndóigh, tá gá le tuilleadh iarrachta chun an teanga a bhí in úsáid ag ár sinsir a thabhairt ar ais go fírinneach.


One idea that bore the mind of our Irishmen is setting up urban Gaeltacht areas. Now, some might not have heard of the term ‘urban Gaeltacht’ before. A number of our readers may not be familiar with it.


As a result, we will talk everything about it below. We would also take a look at cities and counties that adopted Irish into their everyday lives in this blog. So, if you want to learn more, we suggest you to read further.

Mar thoradh air sin, beidh muid ag caint faoi gach rud thíos. Ba mhaith linn breathnú freisin ar chathracha agus contaetha a ghlac an Ghaeilge ina saol laethúil sa bhlag seo. Mar sin, más mian leat tuilleadh a fhoghlaim, molaimid duit tuilleadh a léamh.



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What is an Urban Gaeltacht?


Basically, urban Gaeltachtai (the pluralised form) are cities that promote the Irish language in their community. Promoting the Irish language and turning cities into urban Gaeltachtai can be done in plenty of ways. For example, cities in Ireland could set up Irish-medium schools (Gaelscoileanna) to impart to kids what we have lost in the past and the importance of our language, in general.


Another good example that some cities are currently planning is to set up housing estates wherein all who live there are Irish speakers. A council a while a back planned and proposed this sort of set up. A meeting of of the city council by Sinn Féin Councillor, Cathal Ó Conchúir proposed a plan to set up an urban Gaeltacht in Galway City. This Development Plan was met with unanimous support from members of the Galway city council.


In an interview with MrÓ Conchúir, he said he had been inundated with support for the proposal from the general public.


“There is a very high percentage of Irish speakers living in Galway city, people who work in the Gaeltacht and general area. They are totally in favour of such a project. They want to live in urban areas but also want to live through Irish day to day,” he added.


“We are now reviewing any legal or planning constraints but I’m hopeful this will go ahead,” he said.


You can read more about it in Independent’s article linked above.


Founders of a successful urban Gaeltacht: a story


When did all of this start? And, why did it become successful?


To give you an idea, the first successful urban Gaeltacht area was founded in Belfast. There is a two-part documentary that was aired on BBC called the The Irish Houses – Scéal Phobal Bhóthar Seoighe. It follows the story of the small families who founded the Irish-speaking community in 1969.


This decision to create the very first urban Gaeltacht stemmed from the desire of the activists back then to let their children grow through and with Irish and make it the primary language of their area. The initial meeting was set in 1961, following the story of one of the co-founders of the country’s most and only successful urban Gaeltacht.


Rising through the years


At the start of the initiative, only five families were residing in Bóthar Seoighe. The activists themselves started constructing houses, who took the time and effort to create them with their combined skills and resources. Afterwards, the urban Gaeltacht in Belfast flourished and the number of families has risen to twenty-two over the years.


2 years later, they founded the Bunscoil Pobail Feirste to teach and educate their children using the Irish language. The school was supported from the initiative of the parents and the community itself for a number of years – up until the mid-1980s. Finally, the state recognised the the Gaelscoil and starting funding it.


Up to this day, it continues to flourish. Similar attempts were done by Irish speakers in Dublin in the late 1920s and Cork in the 1960s (a small urban neo-Gaeltacht) but did not achieve the same results as the community in Belfast did.


Bóthar Seoighe, then, remains unique in Ireland for its success in establishing a new and enduring Gaeltacht community in an urban setting. Huge credit is due to everyone who has made it a success, despite apparently overwhelming odds.


Urban Gaeltacht: final thoughts

I am truly excited to see urban Gaeltacht become more of a thing in other cities in Ireland through the coming years. For now, only one – Belfast – community has succeeded. But, it is only a matter of time before others will follow in their footsteps and meet the same, if not more, success.


Learn Irish through Fluentirish


Now that we have shared with you some groundbreaking news about the Irish language in the European Union (specifically, news about its success), 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!