The Irish Language: An Overview and Guide

3 Irish, Books

May 3, 2013

Author  Darerca Ní Chartúir
Publisher  Avena Press
Publication Date  2002
Price  $19.95
Skill Level  Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

This book, written by a teacher in Dublin and published in 2002, is described on its jacket as “a solid guide and starting point designed to help even those who as yet have little or no Irish find ways to learn more.”

Although only 146 pages long, it is an astonishingly thorough summary of resources on every aspect of Irish: old Irish, modern Irish, poetry, prose, fiction, non-fiction, dictionaries, classes, organizations, language history, etc.

I don’t know whether the author has read all the things she writes about. I think that would be impossible, but she gives the impression of extraordinary knowledge of all things Irish. She writes well and clearly, but the book is very listy in its presentation and because of that kind of tedious.

Having finished it, though, I can say I have a much better understanding of the Irish language and how I might go about studying it.

Since the book is now 11 years old, some of the information on resources will inevitably be dated, but much of it is still relevant. If you are super committed to learning Irish, you would probably find it valuable as an overview of the Irish language and literature landscape.

If you just want an interesting read with more of a narrative feel, I would probably look elsewhere.

The book appears to be out of print. Though the price on the cover says $19.95, I found a copy for just a couple of dollars online.

A Slim and Elegant Volume of Irish Information
A Slim and Elegant Volume of Irish Information

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