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Language Schools for Expats in Ireland

Submitted: October 2014

Irish Gaelic (Gaeilge) is spoken as a first or second language by nearly two million people worldwide, and is the official language of Ireland. In truth, you are unlikely to find a situation where you will actually need to be able to speak the language; even the 130,000 or so Irish who speak it as a first language are almost certain to all be fluent in English. However if you are going to be staying in Ireland for an extended period, it might be nice to learn a little, even if it is only dia dhuit, le do thoil, and go raibh maith agat.

The best way to jump-start the learning process is to spend some time back at school. This might involve attending evening classes after work; there is a list of available classes here.  Alternatively, you could attend a full time course. There are many such courses which run over the summer months in some beautiful locations in the Ireland. These also give you the opportunity to learn about Irish culture and do some sight-seeing at the same time. There is a list of such courses here, and more information on other courses here. You can also attend more informal conversation classes which are held all over Ireland; there is more information about these here.

If you are looking for a qualification to show that you are proficient in Irish, you can study for the Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge (TEG) European Certificate in Irish examination. TEG offer diplomas at six different levels, similar to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) from A1 to C2. TEG Certificates are the only official qualification in Irish. If you are intending to study for a course that is taught in Irish, you may find that this qualification will increase your chances of admission. Courses are available in many places in Ireland; there is more information here. Even if you do not particularly want the qualification, you can search for schools which provide TEG courses, as this may give you more confidence regarding the quality of the tuition at the school.

Choosing the right school for you depends on what you want to get out of it. If you are interested in more than just class-based learning, many schools provide sight-seeing tours, which not only help with your language development, but also give you more information regarding what you are looking at than you would get from a guide book.

Generally schools will run classes for students of all levels of ability, ranging from total beginners to accomplished speakers taking refresher courses. You will generally be assessed on arrival to see which class would be suitable, but you should always confirm that if you find yourself in a class that does not suit your ability, you can move freely into a more suitable class. There are many different factors involved in the final choice of school. These include:

Many schools have their own websites, which give detailed information of courses offered.




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