The Gaeltacht

The term ‘Gaeltacht’ is used to denote those areas in Ireland where the Irish language is, or was until the recent past, the main spoken language of a substantial number of the local population. The Gaeltacht areas are defined by Government order and every successive government has recognised the need for specific measures, structures and funding to ensure the maintenance of these communities.

The existence of areas where Irish lives as a community language is an important cornerstone in the building of a bilingual society in Ireland, and it provides an environment where the language can evolve naturally in a modern setting.

Gaeltacht Locations and Profiles

The Gaeltacht covers extensive parts of counties Donegal, Mayo, Galway and Kerry – all along the western seaboard – and also parts of counties Cork, Meath and Waterford.

There are also six populated offshore islands. The total population of the Gaeltacht is 100,716 (Census 2011). Around 15,300 of this population reside within the expanding suburbs of Galway City.

For information on each Gaeltacht area, click on the county above or on the map area.