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This information has been compiled by Comhluadar. Glór na nGael are the lead organisation tasked with the promotion of Irish in the family. Contact














It is generally recognised that there is a close link between language exposure and language proficiency. Therefore, the primary aim of parents who are raising a child through Irish should be to provide as many opportunities as possible for the child to hear, speak and use Irish. Because the opportunities for children to speak and hear spoken Irish in the wider community are limited, Comhluadar maintains that the best way to bring ­up an Irish-­speaking family is for both parents to speak Irish to the children all the time.

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Children will inevitably hear more and more English as they grow older. Therefore, it is advisable to speak as much Irish as possible to them in the early years. From the moment that a child comes into the world, they are listening to sounds and acquiring language. Parents should ensure from the beginning that Irish is the language their children hear from the radio, television and internet, that songs in Irish are played in the car, and most importantly, that the language spoken by the parents to the child and to each other is Irish. 

When one becomes accustomed to speaking in a particular language to certain individuals, even children, it is difficult to change. It is easier, therefore, to establish the habit of speaking Irish in the family by speaking to the children in Irish from the beginning. For that reason, the decision to make Irish the medium of communication in the family should be made, if possible, before the birth of the first child. Parents should have some knowledge of the vocabulary and terminology required for dealing with a new-­born baby. Not every family has the same opportunities. In some cases only one parent speaks Irish. Some families are one-­parent families, and there are families who seldom have contact with people who speak Irish. It is necessary, therefore, to look at the various options available, and having done so, to choose the one that gives the best opportunity to your child to hear and to speak Irish. Below are some available options: