The Celtic Tongue Alive and Well in Ulster - Surge in Gaelic Medium Education

Significant gains are being made by the Irish Language in Ulster. The Tyrone Times is reporting that the advance of Gaelic medium education is continuing. Under the headline “The rise of Mid Ulster’s Gaelscoils is dramatically changing the face of local education, according to the latest figures from the Department of Education”, the article cites a 500% increase in the number of students enrolled in Irish language medium schools in some districts in County Tyrone over the past five years. This is the highest rate of increase in Northern Ireland. A stunning increase of 500% in enrollment at the Cookstown’s Gaelic School and a doubling of enrollment in the Dungannon Gaelscoil Aodha Rua typify the resurgence in Gaelic medium education. The number of Northern Irish pupils being taught through Irish has almost doubled in the last 10 years.

In December 2013 Transceltic reported on the advance of Gaelic Medium education in Ireland’s province of Ulster.  At that time it was announced that a new Irish Medium school was to be constructed in village of Crumlin in County Antrim.  Crumlin had grown into a center of the Irish Language revival in Northern Ireland with an active Irish medium Primary School and Nursery.  In addition, press reports were hailing the progress of Irish language education demonstrated by the success of the Colaiste Feirste, which at the time was the only Irish language secondary school in Belfast.  At the end of 2013 Northern Ireland could boast nearly 5,000 children receiving Irish-medium education.

The growth in Gaelic Medium education in County Tyrone is consistent with the growing demand seen over the past years throughout Ireland. For example, a November 2013 article in the Irish Independent (no great friend to the Irish Tongue) reported that the number of children being schooled in the medium of Gaelic had trebled in 20 years. The Independent went on to state that the tongue was "booming" in the suburbs of Dublin as young couples seek out an Irish education for their children in areas that have not seen children taught in Irish for generations.

Irish flag

This blog is provided for general informational purposes only. The opinions expressed here are the author's alone and not necessarily those of