Irish Is Not Dying, Irish Is Being Killed

AN SIONNACH FIONN

Ta An Reabhloid Ag Teacht The Revolution Is Coming Tá An Réabhlóid Ag Teacht! The Revolution Is Coming!

When the greater part of Ireland won its independence from the United Kingdom in the early 1920s the number of native Irish-speakers across the island, north and south, was close to 6% of the total population (a figure which excludes fluent adopters of Irish, somewhere between 3%-5%). This represented over 250,000 men, women and children, the vast majority of whom were confined to rural communities, principally along the western seaboard (some of these were later designated as gaeltachtaí or Irish-speaking regions, a term with overtones of “native reservation” rather than an area of special significance). Of these hibernophones or gaeilgeoirí around 50,000 were monolingual speakers, having little or no understanding of the English language, while the remainder were bilingual to greater or lesser degrees. Nearly ten decades later the percentage of native-speakers across our island nation has fallen to less than 0.8% of the…

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