One of the most important elements in our culture is the Irish language. Ireland’s West is fortunate to have Gaeltachts, or Irish-speaking areas, in both Galway and Mayo. In these areas, you will notice the Irish language on signs and shop-fronts as well as in everyday speech. Here, people still play music, sing and dance in the old traditional manner.
Westwards from Galway city and along the shores of Galway Bay lies the Galway or Connemara Gaeltacht. Further out in the Atlantic Ocean are the three Gaeltacht Aran Islands of Inis Mór, Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr. Here, the Irish language (Gaeilge) is the everyday spoken language of a people who live and work in Galway’s cultural heartland. People here switch from Irish to English and vice versa with ease and their English is peppered with Gaeilge phrases. Here is a treasure house of all that is best in rich Irish heritage, culture and folklore where people still sing and dance in the old traditional manner. Read more about The Gaeltacht.
Irish people are extremely passionate about sports and none more so when supporting their local Hurling or Gaelic Football club or county. Administered by the Gaelic Athletic Association, both sports play a major part in the conversation and culture of every small town and village throughout the country during the league and championship seasons. Read more about Gaelic Games.
Irish people’s love of dancing has been well documented throughout the ages and in recent years, with global hit shows such as ‘Riverdance’ and ‘Lord of the Dance’, it remains as popular as ever. Primary support of Irish Dancing stems from Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (the Society of the Musicians of Ireland) who are dedicated to the promotion of music, song, dance and language in Ireland. From the days when people danced Ceílís and sets across the country to when the movement inspired the rise of great Irish Ceílí bands like the Kilfenora, the Tulla, the Aughrim Slopes and the Castle, to worldwide broadway shows and Ed Sheeran videos, Irish Dancing has come a long way and is an important part of Ireland’s musical culture. Read more about Irish Dancing.