While you may have met plenty of individuals from Ireland, watched television shows set in Ireland and even visited the country, it’s totally possible that you could’ve not even realized that Irish is its own language.
However, Irish, sometimes called Gaeltachtai, is a very real language. It’s small and the number of speakers who use it is shrinking, and some might even consider it an endangered language — but that doesn’t change the fact that Irish is its own language that deserves recognition and if you’re a lover of languages, your attention.
If you’ve been looking for a beautiful, culturally rich, historic and unique language to learn, Irish is the language for you. However, keep in mind that learning Irish definitely isn’t the easiest of tasks. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication.
There are, though, some resources available to you that can make learning this beautiful language that much easier. One of those resources is podcasts.
Interested? Check out these six Irish language-learning podcasts.
Podcasts for Beginners
If you don’t know even the slightest bit of Irish, couldn’t recognize it if you saw it, then you’re going to want to start right here with these beginner podcasts.
Culturlann offers a range of resources available for those interested in the Irish language, music or culture. A podcast helps you to learn the Irish language starting from the very beginning concepts. There are quite a few episodes to listen to, and once you’re done with the beginner episodes, you can move right along to Culturlann’s intermediate and advanced lessons. Beginner topics start with common greetings and go on to more difficult concepts, such as introductions, numbers, weather, opinions and more. Every few episodes, there’s a review session, to make sure you remember everything covered in the past episodes. Episode length really varies, going from a mere 15 minutes to nearly an hour.
Unfortunately, while there are a couple of dozen beginner episodes currently available on the podcast’s home page, the intermediate and advanced lessons are posted as “coming soon.” Luckily, you can at least give yourself a head start with what is available in the beginner section.
This podcast is spoken in English, but it takes a deep dive into the Irish language, looking at its nuances and what makes it different from English. It’s a great podcast for those who are self-professed language nerds, but also fun and useful for those actively learning Irish, as it may clear up some confusion you have on the development of the language, how it’s changed and why there are sometimes inconsistencies that you come across when learning Irish from different texts.
Maybe you just want to learn a little bit of Irish. The One Minute Irish podcast will help you to learn a few words and phrases. Each episode is just a bit over a minute in length.
If you’ve learned a bit of Irish before and want something a bit more challenging, then the following podcast might be a good fit for you.
An Irish language speaker from Ireland will teach you Irish via this discussion show, given in English, catering to Irish language learners located all over the world. The podcast has more than 100 episodes and the podcast is still being updated on a regular basis. You can expect new episodes to be uploaded every week to two weeks. Each episode is around 15 to 20 minutes in length, though you can find longer ones, around half an hour in length. Topics range from ways to use your Irish language skills on a daily basis, to tips for visiting Ireland.
If you can follow along with spoken Irish relatively well, then you might find that you’re more than ready to move along to advanced podcasts that are spoken entirely in Irish, no English included.
Beo ar Éigean is an Irish podcast about the Irish language, but you won’t experience any handholding here. This podcast moves quickly and if you don’t already have a good bit of Irish under your belt, you’ll likely find that it leaves you behind.
This podcast promotes various aspects of the Irish language and culture and aims to encourage listeners to read books in the Irish language. While you do have to register for Club Leabhar to access all of the resources available, there is no membership fee and it only takes a second to register. Once you register, you’ll have access to English translations for the discussions.
Learning to speak Irish can be an incredibly rewarding endeavor, especially if it allows you to better tap into your own Irish heritage, history or genealogy. Even if, however, you aren’t Irish in the slightest, and you’ve just fallen in love with the country, you can find great satisfaction in learning to speak Ireland’s mother tongue. Hopefully, one or more of the podcasts listed above can help you out on your language-learning journey!
Are there any great Irish language-learning podcasts that we accidentally missed when compiling our list above? Let us know about them!