The Gaeltacht

[ Más mian leat, tá an leathanach seo le fáil as Gaeilge.] [ HOME ]

The Gaeltacht covers extensive parts of counties Donegal, Mayo, Galway and Kerry - all on the Western seaboard - and also parts of counties Cork, Meath and Waterford. Although all of the Gaeltacht population speak English, these are the only parts of Ireland where Irish is still spoken as a community language.

The preservation of the Gaeltacht as an Irish-speaking community has been regarded by successive Governments since the foundation of the State as of utmost importance. Not only does the Gaeltacht present on opportunity to naturally maintain the continuity of the Irish tradition, but also provides the ideal environment for the people who wish to become proficient in Irish. The existence of areas where Irish lives as a community language is an important cornerstone in the building of a bilingual society in Ireland, and it provides an environment where the language can evolve naturally in a modern setting.

Údarás na Gaeltachta

The task of the Government agency is the develop the economy of the Gaeltacht so as to facilitate the preservation and extension of the Irish language as the principal language of the region.

To achieve this objective, An tÚdarás promotes productive schemes of employment through the development of local natural resources, skills and entrepreneurial abilities and the attraction of mobile investment to the Gaeltacht.

An tÚdarás also promotes community development and pursues a range of language and cultural activities involving community groups and industries throughout the Gaeltacht.

The population of the Gaeltacht is 83,268 according to the 1991 Census of Population and the total labour force is 28,500. There are 5,854 employed in Údarás supported industries such as textiles, engineering, electronics, aquaculture, other natural resources and telecommunications. Other important economic activities within the Gaeltacht are farming, fishing and tourism.