Gaeltacht areas in Ireland are areas where the Irish language is the dominant language for home, education, business and social activities. About 60% of the area of the geopark is part of a Gaeltacht which includes 7 of our communities. Irish is the living and working language for many even outside of the Gaeltachts being the first national language of Ireland and is an intrinsic part of the culture and tradition. None of the three UNESCO Global Geopark projects in Ireland are in Gaeltacht areas.
The Irish language has also contributed to the scientific language of glaciology. As Ireland is an easily accessible recently glaciated landscape, early work on glacial landforms was carried out here and some of the landforms were given names derived from Irish. Glacier rounded and elongated low ridges are known internationally as drumlins and there are many of them in this region, but the name comes from the Irish word “droimainn” meaning small ridge.
Eskers are long winding ridges of gravel and are a common feature of the Irish landscape. The word comes from the Irish word “eiscir” meaning a dividing ridge.
Corrie is one of the terms used for a mountain glacier cirque and comes from the Irish “coire” meaning a large pot or a cauldron.
Townland names, most of which are derived from Irish, are usually beautiful descriptives of physical features of the local geography. Indeed, some actually relate to the local geology such as Cloghbrack from the Irish “An Chloch Bhreac” meaning the speckled rock which corresponds to the local schist with large white crystals of quartz (see booklet from geopark project). Work is still ongoing in some places on the history and meaning of local townland names.
For further information on the language or to learn it online or through a local course, follow this link.
Here are some useful Irish words and phrases to help you make your way around the Gaeltacht areas of our geopark.
Fáilte/ Céad Míle Fáilte
Welcome/ 100,000 Welcomes
Everyday words and expressions
Gardai/ Garda/ Garda síochána
Le do thoil
Go raibh maith agat
Tá brón orm
Gabh mo leithscéal
“gar-dee”/ “gar-dah”/ “gar-dah shee-oh-cahn-nah”
“leh duh hull”
“guh rev moh og-ut”
“taw brone ur-um”
Town Centre e.g. on a bus to go into town
Cheers/ To Your Health e.g. when toasting a drink
A traditional social dance event or party
Fun/ music/ good times/ entertainment
I’m sorry/ I’m sad
Yield right of way (roadsign)