Irish can be a bit daunting to learn especially if you try on your own. If you are lucky enough to live in a region of the world that has a very large or active Irish community you may be able to take a class. But for folks like me who don’t live in the Gaeltacht or have access to an active community its a self-learning program. The problem is the pronunciation is difficult. There are some audio files online that are helpful, but very often the instructors are not native speakers so the accent is off.
I was lucky enough to find a group class at a local high school. The class was about an hour from my home and met one night a week. The Buntus Cainte booklet was used for most of the lessons. These classes were only 4 weeks long offered by a delightful man from Co Mayo and his wife. I forgot most of what I learned week to week, but it did give me an idea of the pronunciation and some of the grammatical rules. And it was a lot of fun!
I have also tried the Pimsuler audio programs which can be found on iTunes. They are quite good and I’ve learned a lot. I used them when I exercised or I was driving. (I found that I didn’t focus very well when driving so didn’t retain much). The accent was pretty good according to my instructor because he was impressed with me when I threw out a few new phrases we had not learned in his class.
Another resource for you is Fluent in 3 Months, a blog by Co. Cavan native Benny Lewis. You’ll find a review by Benny on the Pimsuler approach here. The resourcepage on Fluent in 3 Months has lots of great ideas for learning Irish and other languages in general for that matter. It is quite an entertaining blog and has some interesting information for not only those learning Irish or another language, but on immersion in a country’s culture and travel!
So there are a few tips on learning the Irish language that I hope will get you started!