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Thursday 23 March 2023 Dublin: 7°C
Leah Farrell/
The Irish For You don't need improving... but how about learning some Gaeilge in 2019?
New Bliain, New You.

This the latest dispatch from our columnist Darach Ó Séaghdha, author of the award-winning and bestselling Motherfoclóir. Every week, Darach will be regaling (re-Gaeling?) us with insights on what the Irish language says about Ireland, our society, our past and our present. Enjoy.

A STRONG CONTENDER for my favourite Irish word is rún- it means a secret, a love, a secret love, or a promise. It can also mean a resolution – a promise to one’s self, a secret declaration of self love.

The Irish for a new year’s resolution is Rún na hAthbhliana. Amidst all the pressures of the holiday period and the worries, both global and private, of the new year, it’s important to remember that you -yes, you – are doing great.

That problem you had two years ago, the one you worried about every day – you fixed it and you never think about it anymore, and in two years time, that’s what the problem that prickles you now will feel like.

You don’t need to be improved.

However, if you want to make a plan to fix something in your life that doesn’t make you happy, a new year is as good a time as any.

Bliain na Gaeilge may be over, but 2019 will be a personal year of Irish for those hundreds of people who make a resolution to revisit the language, possibly after years of neglect.

But where can they start? This week I’d like to suggest a few online and offline resources that might start you on your way. – this is a learner’s resource with verb tables, grammar guides and even a database of proverbs (seanfhocail). – this website allows you to search the three major dictionaries (the 1959 English to Irish, the 1977 Irish to English and the 1991 Irish foclóir) at the same time, and includes audio pronunciations of most words in the three major dialects. There’s an app that works offline too. is the most recent English to Irish dictionary, with more up to date terms and example sentences – it also has an offline app. now that you have the learning resources to hand, you want to find some good reading content to get stuck into. Nós is an online magazine with articles on a range of lifestyle topics – Northern Irish Tayto versus 353 Tayto, podcast reviews, cartoons by the brilliant @ciaraioch and saucy scéalta from the irrepressible Cailín sa Chathair (girl in the city) only scratches the surface.

An Siopa Leabhar – if you’re anxious about your level of Irish, the Irish language bookshop on Harcourt Street will put you at your ease. The helpful team there will be only delighted to recommend a book that’s at your level which fits in with your interests. You might also like @BooksAsGaeilge on Twitter. run evening classes for total beginners as well as those returning to Irish. If this doesn’t suit your location or schedule, DCU have a well-regarded online course.

BAE – Beo Ar Éigean is a podcast as Gaeilge from RTÉ in which three smart, funny young women chat about pretty much everything – social media, “the fear” after a night out, feminism, fashion – everything except the school curriculum and debates about state policies on translation, really. It’s available wherever you get your podcasts.

Raidió na Life – if you haven’t checked out Dublin’s Irish language radio station yet, it’s worth giving it a spin – there’s a excellent selection of music shows, such as Ola Majekodunmi’s Seinnliosta an tSathairn, as well as news and chat, like Peadar Ó Caomhánaigh’s Ardchathair.

Nine Arrow – Finally, if you want to see more Irish in your timeline, Catherine Geaney is a talented artist and Irish language enthusiast who uses Facebook and Instagram to share her illustrations of Irish words. 

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