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‘An Ghaeilge’ in Galway city

Situated on the doorstep of the one of the largest vibrant Gaeltacht areas in the country, the Connamara Gaeltacht and the Aran Islands, Galway has always had a special relationship with the Irish language. The term ‘Gaeltacht’ is used to refer collectively to those areas where Irish is used as an everyday language by a majority of residents. The city’s proximity to one of the largest Gaeltacht area in the country has meant a great economic impact on Galway – through both state interventions in the Gaeltacht itself and also in Irish Langauge organisations such as TG4, Raidió na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta etc. It has also has also enriched Galway’s cultural image and has created a unique bilingual synergy in the city found nowhere else in the world.

Irish Language Signs Several Irish language organisations and individuals based in the city continue to contribute a great deal to the creation of a bilingual atmosphere in the city.

Gaillimh le Gaeilge was established in 1987 with the aim of promoting the Irish language, particularly as an economic resource, in the Galway area. We work in association with Galway City Council, Galway Chamber of Commerce and other groups to develop Galway’s unique Irish image and promote Galway city as the Bilingual Capital of Ireland.

Galway is the home of the National Irish Language Theatre - Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe which regularly produces Irish language plays for all age groups. Situated on Middle Street An Taibhdhearc also hosts a wide range of events which use the language. Conradh na Gaeilge (www.cnag.ie/Gaillimh) provides a range of classes and events for people of every age and ability. Why not drop into Club Áras na nGael on Dominic St. or visit Tigh Choilí or Tigh Taaffes and enjoy traditional Irish music or try giving ‘Cúpla Focal’ a go! The Irish language plays an important role in other institutions in the city such as NUI Galway which offers a wide range of courses through the medium of Irish as well as a wide variety of Irish language courses. www.oegaillimh.ie. There are also four Irish medium primary schools and one Irish medium secondary school in the city. The National Irish language television (www.tg4.ie) and radio (www.rte.ie/rnag) stations are located in Conemara and their influence can also be felt in the city. It is also worth pointing out that there is a sizeable Irish speaking population in Galway City that enriches the cultural atmosphere in the city.

There is now hardly any street in Galway that does not have a number of businesses featuring Irish only or bilingual signage.

  • City supermarkets carry bilingual signage;
  • Public Houses are named in Irish only;
  • Public and Private Buses with bilingual signs;
  • Bilingual Stationery and promotional material available in retail outlets and offices in the city;
  • Publicity and advertising in the newspapers;
  • Irish on the Public Address systems in city stores.

However, the most important result is the change in people’s attitude towards the Irish language. Now it’s seen as a very trendy thing to do to incorporate the use of Irish in one’s business. It is also understood that Irish is a valuable economic resource to the city and makes it unique among other towns and cities in Ireland, so, it makes good sound economic sense to foster and nurture it.

GIVE IT A GO! Dia duit: Hello (literal translation: God to you)
Dia is Muire duit: God and Mary to you. (reply)
Cén chaoi 'bhfuil tú?: How are you?
Tá mé go maith: I'm doing well.
Slán: Goodbye
Sláinte: Cheers!
Oíche mhaith: Good night
Nollaig shona duit: Happy Christmas
Athbhliain faoi mhaise duit: A prosperous new year
Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin: There's no place like home
Maith thú: Well done / Way to go etc
Go raibh maith agat: Thank you
Tá fáilte romhat: You are welcome
Más é do thoil é: Please (literal translation: if it is your will)
Cad is ainm duit? What is your name?
Áine is ainm dom: My name is Áine
Cárb as duit? Where are you from?
Is as Cathair na Gaillimhe mé: I’m from Galway city.
Bain trail as! Why not try some of these phrases while in Galway!

This article has been kindly provided by Gaillimh le Gaeilge.

Gaillimh le Gaeilge offer consultation, practical advice and a hands-on help to companies wishing to use the Irish language in any aspect of their business, particularly as a tool for innovation and marketing. We run a ‘Cairde’ scheme, The Gradam Sheosamh Uí Ógartaigh an annual business award, and we initiate bilingual projects, which are developed over time in association with other groups in Galway city. Constant contact is maintained with our clients through a varied networking and social programme, which includes a monthly newsletter, business lunches, and social events.

For information on the benefits of using Irish in business and how to incorporate the Irish language into your business please contact Gaillimh Le Gaeilge or visit our site. (www.gleg.ie)

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Here is an example of the ‘Cúpla Focal’:

Dia duit: Hello (literal translation: God to you)
Dia is Muire duit: God and Mary to you. (reply)
Cén chaoi 'bhfuil tú?: How are you?
Tá mé go maith: I'm doing well.
Slán: Goodbye
Sláinte: Cheers!
Oíche mhaith: Good night
Nollaig shona duit: Happy Christmas
Athbhliain faoi mhaise duit: A prosperous new year
Níl aon tintéan mar do thintéan féin: There's no place like home.
Maith thú: Well done / Way to go etc
Go raimh maith agat: Thank you
Tá failte romhat: You are welcome
Más é do thoil é: Please (literal translation: if it is your will)
Saol fada chugat: Long life to you
Cad is ainm duit? What is your name?
Áine is ainm dom: My name is Áine Carb as duit? Where are you from?
Is as Cathair na Gaillimhe mé: I’m from Galway city.

Bain trail as! Why not try some of these phrases while in Galway!


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