Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Learning Ulster Irish

A quick plug for something that may be of interest for those with roots from the north of Ireland/Northern Ireland. About twenty years ago I bought a language course that teaches folk how to speak in Ulster Irish, the dialect of Irish Gaelic spoken today still predominantly in Donegal, and until recently, in other parts of the north, such as in the Glens of Antrim etc. Ulster Irish is a dialect of the language spoken on the island, but also has a lot in common with Scottish Gaelic - the two Gaelic dialects/languages are very closely related indeed.

The course is called Now You're Talking, with a structure based on the Welsh series of the same name, and the Scottish Gaelic series Speaking Our Language, both of which had accompanying TV series (Speaking Our Language went on for years, and by a bizarre coincidence, I later worked for the main presenter of that series for three years at STV, Rhoda MacDonald!). I discovered a couple of days ago that the Ulster based version of the Now You're Talking TV series, co-produced by BBC Northern Ireland and RTE, is now available on YouTube. Here's the first episode (marvel at the dated music and graphics!), presented by Deirbhile Ní Churraighín (

NB: Editions of Speaking Our Language and the Welsh based Now You're Talking are also available on YouTube. The series programmes can be watched at leisure, as they are not grammar heavy, they merely present certain basic everyday conversation situations and useful phrases. Each programme, set in a different location in the north of Ireland, also has interesting features such as placename discussions, local history and more.

To purchase the book accompanying the Irish series, visit Amazon or other online book retailers.



For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit My Pinterest account is at

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