Good Reasons to Study Irish :
1. It's the National Language of Ireland:
Irish is the first official language of the Republic of Ireland and has recently gained official recognition in the six counties of Northern Ireland under the Good Friday Agreement.
2. Cultural Identity of the Irish people:
The most important distinguishing characteristics of a culture are usually contained within its language. Irish thus plays a paramount role in the Irish national cultural identity and is priceless repository of all that is truly Irish.
3. Dramatic Increase in the number of Irish speakers:
The1996 census of Ireland showed that 1,095,830 people, 32% of the Irish adults, claimed to be able to speak Irish. No official count exists of how many people outside Ireland can speak Irish, but estimates range as high as 2 to 3 million.
4. The New Irish Renaissance:
Irish is currently going through a major renaissance and more people are able to speak and write Irish today than have been able to for over 150 years. More books, newspapers and magazines have been published in Irish in the past century than in the entire history of the language.
5. Irish now in the mass media age:
Irish language broadcasts can now be heard daily from radio stations such as Ráidió na Gaeltachta, and Ráidió na Life. In 1996 the Irish language television station, Teilifís na Gaeilge, (TG4),started broadcasting news, documentaries, children's shows and even soap operas as Ghaeilge.
6. Irish in the computer age:
The ancient tongue of the Gaels has also entered the computer age and numerous Irish websites, chat rooms, and online language courses now exist.
7. Valuable heritage for up 70 million people from the Irish Diaspora:
Official estimates indicate that there are more than 70 million people of Irish descent around the world. In the 1990 US census, 40 million people described themselves as Irish. Irish is a valuable cultural link in the shared history of all these groups
8. Source of meaning for Irish surnames, personal names and place names:
Irish placenames, surnames and personal names are well established through out the world and are not just limited to Ireland itself. The Irish language provides the key to understanding the rich, fascinating milieu of Irish heraldry, genealogy and place names.
9. Guide to other Celtic Languages and English:
Irish is the oldest surviving Celtic language and as such is a valuable resource and guide to the other Celtic languages. Irish is the father of two other Celtic languages, Scots Gaelic and Manx, to which it remains closely related. Irish is a valuable source of many English words and expressions such as: whiskey, loch, glen, slew, smithereens, you're welcome, kibosh, and even our furry feline friend the cat owes its name to Irish.
10. Irish literature, folklore and proverbs:
Irish is the only language north of the Alps to have any extensive surviving ancient and medieval literature and as such it is studied at all major universities through out Europe and even as far off as North America and Australia. Ireland has the world's largest collection of folklore and proverbs of which the vast majority is only available in Irish.
11. Increase in all-Irish medium primary and secondary schools:
All-Irish primary and secondary schools are springing up across Ireland and an agreement on designating four Irish language universities is now in place.
12. Ireland's need to maintain its identity in the EU:
Ireland's recent entry into the EU has highlighted Ireland's need to maintain its unique identity through its language. Irish is becoming more and more a part of the Irish national identity as well as gaining increasing popularity with both Irish and non-Irish abroad.