The Irish Language

Irish language is also spoken about for Irish Gaelic language in many parts of the country. It is the native language of the people in Ireland. The language is considered to be one of the oldest vernacular literature in Eastern Europe. It has been given the constitutional status of being the first official language of the Republic of Ireland. Despite this in the Northern Ireland it is considered as the minority language. Further the language is also considered as a part of the official languages of the European Union. Foras na Gaeilge is a public body that is accountable to promote the language in the country.

The history of the Irish language dates back to the 4th Century AD when the language was first conceptualised. At this stage it was referred to as the primitive Irish. Later in the 5th Century AD the primitive Irish transitioned into Old Irish. But by the 10th Century, the age old Irish had become Middle Irish and was mostly spoken through out Ireland. From the 12th century the language evolved into what is known as the young-age Irish in Ireland. The language had experienced a major setback in the 18th century when it lost the hold in the east of the country. Reason for this was attributed to the following facts;

From the 1750s, there was a language shift due to the spread of bilingualism.
The Anglo-British administrations had discouraged the use of the language.
Most of the Catholic Churches supported the use of English language over the Irish one.

Due to this apparent change, English had become the preferred language amongst the Catholic Church, the catholic middle class and the public intellectuals. The declining value of Irish language was seen in the schools as well gradually. Also overall English had gained more prominence in comparison. Despite the increasing importance of English there were millions of people, around 3 million, for whom the language held value. The current status of the language is that approximately 2% of the population considers it to be their home language. The Gaeilgeoirí or the native speakers who had undergone their education in Irish language constitute and expanding minority. These are mainly the urban dwellers who guarantee the survival of the language.