The 12 Best Free Resources for Learning Irish

12 best free online resources to learn Irish

The most successful Irish language learning is typically dynamic. It involves engaging various forms of media and connecting with other individuals in order to take in new vocabulary and practice the Irish that you have. By immersing yourself in the language, you never stop absorbing it, and at times it doesn’t even feel like work. To make your Irish language learning more fun and interactive, here’s my list of the 12 best free online resources for learning Irish.

What follows are a variety of ways to access the best music, podcasts, news, dictionaries and other online resources in Irish in order to incorporate them into the ways that you’re already studying the language. Putting the language you’ve learned into a “real world” context is a useful way to prove to yourself how much you’ve gained, as well as to continue to soak it up.

Without further ado, here are my 12 best free online resources for learning Irish…

Thanks to the internet, the Irish language television network is available to anyone in the world for free. Using the TG4 player, you can enjoy a variety of shows, including soap operas, comedies and feature films, and turn the subtitles on and off as you watch. Finding a show that you enjoy is a great way to keep learning, even while you’re relaxing at the end of the day. Be sure to check out their Cúla4 offerings for younger viewers, which work brilliantly for adult learners too, as well as their learning division, TG4 Foghlaim.

Figuring out how to pronounce Irish words is one of the trickier parts of the language. The amount of times that I asked native speakers or other learners how to say a word when I could have just used Forvo is, well, almost embarrassing. We all come across words that we’re not quite sure how they’re pronounced. Now, however, we can be confident in using them in class or with other speakers.

Developed by Foras na Gaeilge in conjunction with the New English-Irish Dictionary project, Teanglann.ie is a comprehensive endeavor looking to replace searchable versions of older dictionaries. Users can search for definitions, grammar and sound files on the site. Speaking of Foras na Gaeilge, click here for their collection of audiobooks and audio lessons!

4. Your Computer Settings

One of the best ways to immerse yourself in Irish has been in front of your face the whole time. Windows users can change the language settings to Irish in the Control Panel, as shown here, while Mac users can go to System Preferences. Many social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, include Irish as a language setting. This small change will mean you will be actively using Irish in your daily life and picking up new words on the way. And if you’re wondering how to type a ‘síneadh fada‘, see this article for guidelines!

It can be hard to train both the ear and the tongue, but Abair.ie makes it a little easier. You can insert whole chunks of text into the site and have it read in the dialect and gender of your choice. At the same time, it can record your speech in Irish and translate it into words. It’s a great way to study the different dialects in Irish, as well as practice your pronunciation.

What better way to put your Irish to use than to listen to the same programs as the Irish people? Without the visual context offered by watching TG4, listening to RnaG can be difficult for beginning learners. However, on the other hand, it can be the perfect challenge for those who have been studying for a while, as well as a tangible goal to work towards. Keep up to date with current events in Ireland and absorb the country’s culture firsthand.

Focloir.ie has become one of the most popular Irish-English online dictionaries because it offers declensions and plurals, making it useful for intermediate and advanced learners. This is an excellent resource when searching out vocabulary, multiple uses of a particular word, or examples of good grammar in action. Note that Tearma.ie can also be used as a cross-reference, and if you ever want to test your vocab power, then head over to Foclach for some daily word fun!

Blas being the Irish word for “taste,” this podcast covers a variety of topics, from sports to art to current events. Produced by the BBC and available on iTunes, Blas is a great way to be entertained, test your Irish, and follow subjects that interest you. The show is particularly good if you’re a fan of GAA sports, such as hurling and football. Honorable mentions also for Beo Ar Éigean from RTÉ, and Nuacht Mhall from Conradh na Gaeilge in London.

As the principal Irish language online news site, Tuairisc is how many native speakers stay up dated with national and international events. It’s like having the newspaper in front of you all the time, except in Irish. Looking at articles on the site can be a handy way to put your contextual reading skills to use. Additional quality reading can be accessed from RTÉ Nuacht and Nós magazine.

With so many learning resources at our fingertips, it’s important to actually put the language into practice! The online community at Let’s Learn Irish offers a free workshop each month for all learners. They provide scholarships and free access to their courses and weekly comhrá (conversation) sessions, and classes are recorded for viewing afterwards. You’ll find tutorials on their Instagram and YouTube channels, and their comprehensive list of learning links is available here.

Speaking of grammar, Gramadach na Gaeilge has become one of the most popular online resources in Irish when it comes to exploring the technical aspects of the language. Clauses, syntaxes, mutations…the explanation for any grammatical question you may have is there somewhere. The 2017 version of An Caighdeán Oifigiúil can be accessed here.

The people behind Songs in Irish did us a great favor when they created their archive. With over 600 songs in their database—each one with an English translation and Youtube video (if available), you can be a lover of music and learner of Irish simultaneously. They even include guitar chords for many songs. This project is a boon to Irish music and the Irish language both.

With the internet being a big place, there are many ways that you can be active and support your pursuit of the Irish language. From pronunciation help and online definitions to various forms of media in Irish, you have all the tools you need to be a dynamic student of the language. And if that’s still not enough and you’re looking for more online resources to learn Irish, check out this extensive list of language links, as well as our article, The 12 Best Irish Podcasts and our Top 5 Tips for Learning Irish.

Join the online Irish community for cúrsaí, comhrá & ceardlanna, and follow along on social media @LetsLearnIrish – beidh fáilte romhat!

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