Gaeltacht (plural: Gaeltachtaí
): a district in Ireland
where Irish language
is used as a traditional native
language. The most important Gaeltachtaí
are found in Donegal
, the Aran Islands
, but there are minor and weaker ones in Mayo
, Cape Clear
, County Waterford
(the so-called Ring of Waterford
) and in Meath
- the last one is not, strictly speaking, a traditional survival, but a colony - its inhabitants came from Connemara in the 1930s.
The native speakers of the Irish language in Ireland number about 80,000 today. However, it seems only 30,000 of these live in the Gaeltacht districts, and native dialects spoken in them are, consequently, threatened by extinction. Attempts to establish new, "artificial" Gaeltachtaí have been successful only in Belfast, where the so-called Shaw's Road Gaeltacht has been developing since more than thirty years: it was established by a handful of young Gaeilgeoir families, but has since been able to produce one generation of new native speakers.