Musing,  Parenting

5 Easy Ways To Use Irish With Your Children

It’s officially Seachtain na Gaeilge and it runs from 1st March to 17th March this year. I know, I know, if you’re an Irish speaker you’ll happily tell me that it’s not a week and it’s more than a fortnight. The idea is that use this time to make more of an effort to use Irish and to celebrate our native language.

As regular readers know, Irish is very much a living language in our house. So I asked my fellow Irish Parenting Blogger and all around expert on using the Irish language with children, Sadhbh Devlin for her thoughts and opinions for those who aren’t used to using it loads at home, if at all. Over to Sadhbh:

5 Easy Ways To Use Irish With Your Children –

even if you’re not fluent!

During Seachtain na Gaeilge we are encouraged to speak Irish as much as possible- but sometimes, if we’re honest, we don’t know where to start – especially if we haven’t used our cúpla focal since our school days. Also, it often happens that we don’t know who to use our Irish with. Nobody wants to be the oddball that starts speaking Gaeilge in the shops only to be met with blank looks or worse!

If you are not confident in speaking Irish, a fun way to get into practice is to start using some at home with your children. It can be a great learning opportunity for both you and your children and you can do it at your own pace. If your children are in school they might enjoy teaching you some of the things they have learned too!

Here are 5 easy ways for you to introduce Irish to your little ones, with minimum effort! Best of all there are lots of FREE resources available, so getting started doesn’t mean you need to invest a lot of money either.

  1. Cúla Caint Apps: There are a series of three FREE Apps available from TG4. They teach basic words in a fun interactive way. If you are a fan of using apps with your kids you can’t go wrong with these they will teach you 300 words – a great start to building your vocabulary!
  2. Read a bedtime story ‘as Gaeilge’. If you are not fluent, it can be daunting to launch into a full conversation with your child, but you can still use Irish everyday by using Irish language story books. There are some really lovely books available ‘as Gaeilge’. I love Futa Fata publications particularly, but there are usually a good selection of books available in your local library which won’t cost a thing. If you are not confident in your pronunciation many stories come with CDs so you and your child can just enjoy listening together and following along with the book.
  3. Another easy thing you can do is ‘change the channel’. TG4 have a great selection of cartoons for young children which are available at anytime on their online player. Watching television or listening to Irish language radio will help attune their ear to the sound of Gaeilge and support them in their learning of the language.
  4. Sing! Singing rhymes is a great way to learn how to put phrases together and also to have fun! I love the book & Cd set Timpeall an Tí. In it is inexpensive and has lots of action rhymes you can make a game of – Ring-a-Rosy as Gaeilge anyone?
  5. The simplest thing you can probably do is to exchange a few regular phrases you use in English to their Irish equivalent. Maith Thú instead of Well Done, Slán instead of Goodbye, Oíche Mhaith instead of Goodnight. These are things that can be made a permanent fixture in your home and will send your children a clear message that you like Gaeilge and are happy to use what you have.

These simple activities can easily become something more than a way to just celebrate Seachtain na Gaeilge. Having fun regularly ‘as Gaeilge’ should instil a positive attitude towards the Irish language in your children. This will help them all through their schooldays and will lay the foundations for them to achieve fluency. What a wonderful gift to give them!

You can find Sadhbh on her blog, Where Wishes Come From & Facebook on Twitter Do check her out, it is beautiful and she is also a very talented artist and designer.

I'm an Irish mother to 2 boys, born & bred in Dublin, Ireland. I like to cook simple & fresh food for the family, with the family on a budget.


  • Dr Hows Science Wows

    These are great tips I could (and will) easily manage these… I have been trying to increase the number of words and phrases we use around the house but hadn’t thought of the stories and the CDs. Thanks

  • Emily

    Great tips, I have all the intentions, and yet still rarely follow them through!! I’m off to check out those apps, never thought of such a simple thing to do. Thank you! Xx

  • Aedín Collins

    Lovely tips. I miss speaking Irish, really don’t do it enough and have no excuse living in Galway, except that *whispers* Connemara Irish does my head in!

  • Olivia Fitzgerald

    This is great. As I’m from Belfast and Irish unfortunately wasn’t on our curriculum, I often wonder what it will be like when my twins learn Irish at school. I’ll have to learn along with them I suppose. I only have a few short phrases at the moment. I must get the apps you mentioned.

  • mythoughtsonapage

    My husband is a fluent speaker and three of my children are also. The youngest is getting there. When my husband reads in English he doesn’t sound great, but Irish really suits his accent and voice. I could listen to him all day. (especially as in Irish I don’t know half the rubbish he’s saying!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.