An tÁisaonad


An tÁisaonad grew from the Irish-medium sector itself. It started off in a school, but since 1998 it has been based in St Mary’s University College, Belfast. An tÁisaonad’s specialist role is to provide for the needs of Irish-medium pupils, with particular reference to the curriculum in the north, the only organisation to have this specialist role.

A lot of Áisaonad resources are available on line

Before its establishment, there was an urgent need for high-quality school books. Up until then, the only available resources were photocopies and handmade materials.
Today, An tÁisaonad has a wide range of resources, including books, games, online resources and support materials to serve the needs of immersion education in every corner of the country and at all levels. An tÁisaonad also researches resources to check if they are suitable for Irish-medium immersion education.

An tÁisaonad puts great stress on its relationship with teachers. It has focus groups for teachers in different age groups. Representatives from each focus group sits on the Consultative Committee which advises An tÁisaonad. Drafts of new resources are trialled in schools and teachers provide feedback before they are printed. An tÁisaonad also organises questionnaires, conferences and workshops to gather teachers’ views and to assess needs.

Call in to see our whole range of resources

Over the years, An tÁisaonad has developed many innovative projects. Amongst these are the Early Reading Programme (Cleite), Collins Primary Maths, 49 big books (some with music), a number of reading book series for all levels, and much more besides. An tÁisaonad presently provides an online news service for Irish medium schools in the north through the C2K - An Seomra Nuachta. Each day, an appealing interactive article is put together for schoolchildren and the service has many other features, for example, Fact Files (encyclopaedia), videos, puzzles and competitions.

Early Reading Programme
The Early Reading Programme (Cleite) is one of our most successful projects. It is a structured programme which covers guided reading and the skills needed. It was developed in conjunction with An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG) which also supported the training which was provided. Each of the three bands consist of 60 books, with games and extensive teachers’ notes. At present, An tÁisaonad is developing a reading programme for the next age-group.
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Central to An tÁisaonad’s work is providing training to teachers on how to best use its resources. This is done through school visits, training days at central venues or by providing online videos.

Contact details
All details about An tÁisaonad, as well as support material, can be found on our website, You can call us on (+44) (0)28 902 43 864, or call in to our office in St Mary’s University College, across the road from Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich in the centre of the Gaeltacht Quarter in west Belfast.

All members of staff can be contacted:

Manager: Ciarán Ó Pronntaigh
Educational Advisor: Jacqueline de Brún
Editor: Gabhán Ó Dochartaigh
Technician: Colm Mac Aindreasa
Administrator: Ciarán Ó Dornáin

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and information

An tÁisaonad has hundreds of delightful books

Our pricelist is available here:

You can work out your bill here:

Orders can be made by phone or by email (

Call us any time if you have any questions about our resources.

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Nóta comhbhróin

Is le croí trom a chualamar go bhfuair Domhnall Mac Síthigh (Danny Sheehy) bás tar éis timpiste farraige sa Spáinn Dé hAoine. B’fhile, staraí, gníomhaí teanga agus bádóir é Danny a bhí ina bhall dílis den Choiste Téarmaíochta le blianta, agus aireoimid uainn é. Ár gcomhbhrón lena bhean Máire, a mbeirt iníon Orla agus Róisin, a mac Cormac agus lena ghaolta ar fad. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.

Domhnall Mac Síthigh (Danny Sheehy)


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The Frisian literary journal Ensafh has produced a special edition entitled Éire

The Frisian literary journal Ensafh has produced a special edition entitled Éire (Ireland) (2017, no. 1), featuring Frisian translations of poems and stories, and original Frisian work inspired by Ireland. The translations are of work written by Irish writers in English and Irish.

The most famous Irish writer in this edition is the poet Patrick Kavanagh (1904-1967). Eppie Dam and Jantsje Post have translated four of his poems from English into Frisian and Post has written an introduction to his work. Also included is the poetry of two young Irish poets from Cork, Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh and Billy Ramsell, translated into Frisian by André Looijenga.

The idea to make this edition of Ensafh focussing on Ireland was inspired by contact between the editors and Réaltán Ní Leannáin, the Irish writer who completed an eight week literary placement in Leeuwarden in 2016 as part of the Other Words literary exchange programme. Réaltán, who comes from Belfast and lives in Dublin, writes prose and poetry in Irish. Two of her stories, in translations by Janneke Spoelstra and Hedwig Terpstra, are included in this edition. Réaltán in turn has translated four poems of Janneke Spoelstra into Irish.

The contributions on Ireland have been written by Edwin de Groot (a poem about the Great Famine in Ireland in the mid 19th century), Bartle Laverman (a poem about Irish peat diggers) and Jan Ybema (sketches about Ireland, the Irish language and literature).

Réaltán has also written a brief introduction to Irish literature and André Looijenga introduces the Irish language for people outside of Ireland.

Ensafh intends to present further special features on lesser used European languages. The next one will focus on Malta and there are editions planned on the Basque Country, Macedonia and northern Friesland.


Press Releases, News

Consultation Process: Review of Funding for Irish Language Centres

Foras na Gaeilge is conducting a consultation process and invites views on the best way to support Irish language centres throughout the island of Ireland. The period of consultation will continue until June 22nd, 2017.

Foras na Gaeilge invites comments from the public, regarding its aim of broader and more strategic provision for emerging Irish language centres north and south of the border. Although Foras na Gaeilge has no scheme at present to provide for Irish language centres, an annual grant is provided to Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich in Belfast City and Gaeláras Uí Chanáin in Derry City. To year end 2016, Foras na Gaeilge has provided investment funding of over €6,143,500 or £4,490,395 for the two major Irish language centres over the years. Foras na Gaeilge is currently providing the two Irish language centres with annual funding of £223,000.

Speaking today at the announcement of the process, Seán Ó Coinn, Chief Executive Officer of Foras na Gaeilge, said: “Research has shown us that if people who speak a minority language have a ‘safe space’, it contributes hugely to Irish language use in the community.  The 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030 recognises the importance of fostering a particular environment for the Irish speaking community and the role of the Irish language centre as an institute to provide that ‘safe space’ to Irish speakers in various areas. The social network is a vital component of language planning principles, Irish language centres have a key role in encouraging opportunities for the Irish language community to use the language outside of their social environment, and we would like to hear the public’s views on the best way to do that.”

Foras na Gaeilge invites views from the public about the four different choices set out in the consultation document. Views are particularly sought from currently funded groups, grantees under various Foras na Gaeilge schemes and the six lead organisations about the different choices as well as the development of a new scheme for Irish language centres, through written submissions and continuous engagement.

Details and consultation documentation pertaining to the process are available at this link. The results of the process and a summary of the responses will be published on the Foras na Gaeilge website,, in the autumn of 2017.


For more information:

Response Coordinator

Foras na Gaeilge

2-4 Queen Street

Belfast, BT1 6ED

Tel: 0044 2890 890970



Response Coordinator

Foras na Gaeilge

7 Merrion Square

Dublin 2.

Tel: +353 1 639 8400



Media Queries to:

Anna Davitt, Programme Manager: Communications, Marketing & Awareness, Foras na Gaeilge

Tel: 0035387 673 6175    




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Athfhógairt: Post buan mar Leas-Phríomhfheidhmeannach / Stiúrthóir Seirbhísí Oideachais (Béal Feirste)

Athfhógairt: Post buan mar Leas-Phríomhfheidhmeannach / Stiúrthóir Seirbhísí Oideachais ar  Fhoras na Gaeilge (Béal Feirste)

Is mian le Foras na Gaeilge, an comhlacht forfheidhmithe a chuireann an Ghaeilge chun cinn ar fud oileán na hÉireann, an ceapachán seo a leanas a dhéanamh:

Leas-Phríomhfheidhmeannach & Stiúrthóir Seirbhísí Oideachais
Tagairt: LPF/0417

Beidh an post seo lonnaithe in oifigí Fhoras na Gaeilge, i mBéal Feirste.

Is é an raon tuarastail don phost ná: £51,091 go £55,997

T: (00353) (01) 639 8412 R: nó is féidir na cáipéisí a íoslódáil díreach ó nó scríobh chuig an seoladh thíos agus an uimhir thagartha a lua.

Ní mór cóip chrua d’fhoirmeacha comhlánaithe lámhshínithe a bheith faighte ag an seoladh thíos roimh 12 meánlae, Dé Máirt, 9 Bealtaine 2017.

Foras na Gaeilge,
7 Cearnóg Mhuirfean,
Baile Átha Cliath 2.

Ní ghlacfar le hiarratais ar ríomhphost.

Tá Foras na Gaeilge tiomanta don chomhionannas deise agus cuirimid fáilte roimh iarratas ó iarrthóirí a bhfuil na cáilíochtaí cuí acu gan bheann ar chreideamh, ar inscne, ar mhíchumas, ar chine, ar dhearcadh polaitíochta, ar aois, ar stádas pósta, ar chlaonadh gnéis nó cé acu atá nó nach bhfuil cleithiúnaithe acu. De réir fiúntais amháin a mheasfar gach iarratas.

Proficiency in the Irish language, both written and oral, is an essential requirement for the above post.

Fógra LPF0417

Foirm Iarratais LPF0417

Leabhrán Eolais LPF0417


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Press Releases, News

Diarmuid de Faoite selected to go to Macedonia during the summer

Foras na Gaeilge is delighted to announce that they have selected Diarmuid de Faoite to spend time in Macedonia as part of the Other Words project  this summer.  Diarmuid  will be based in Bitola , and he will focus on his own writing, keeping a blog and participating in events connected with minority languages, especially Macedonian, while he is there.

Diarmuid is an actor, writer and dramatherapist and is also a drama teacher at all education levels and in the professional sector as well. His written plays include Pádraic Ó Conaire, Paris Texas (Diarmuid’s staged version of the film) and Foxy Jack – Giolla Éireann (in conjunction with Seán Ó Tarpaigh).

In 2016 he featured in Macalla 1916 and Seachtar Fear – Seacht Lá/Seven Men – Seven Days for Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, Death Row Memoirs of an Extra Terrestrial for Music for Galway, Foxy Jack – Giolla Éireann for Gnó Mhaigh Eo/Westport Art Festival and The Playboy of the Western World – The Musical for the Town HallTheatre, Galway.

Diarmuid has worked for many television companies but is mostly known as Pádraic Ó Conaire in Pádraic – an Fear, Jack in Ros na Rún and Cathal in Corp agus Anam. He wrote and directed TG4’s first drama commission, Une Histoire d’Amour.

In 2017 Diarmuid will feature as The Captain in the new film release Pilgrimage. Diarmuid wrote the radio play Pádraic for BBC NI, his musical version The Playboy of the Western World - a Radio Musical, in conjunction with Justin McCarthy, for RTÉ, and he wrote and recorded a sixteen part storytelling series, Tuatha Dé Danainn, for Raidió na Gaeltachta recently.

He featured in Duairceán and Casadh an tSúgáin for RTÉ and Hairs and Races for Galway Bay FM. He edited Rogha Scéalta by Pádraig Ó Conaire (Cló Iar Chonnachta 2008) and recently translated Seacht mBua an Éirí Amach/Seven Virtues of the Rising (Arlen House, 2016). He wrote the short stories Never Smile at a Crocodile (Crannóg Magazine) and Bealtaine (The Irish Times) and some of his poems have been published in Feasta, The Galway Review and North by Northwest Words.

Diarmuid was nominated for an IFTA for his role as Cathal in Corp agus Anam in 2012, he won the best actor award at the Media Awards, 2011, the best documentary award for his programme, Pádraic - an Fear with Johnny White at the Celtic Media Festival in 2008 and the Stewart Parker prize for his play Pádraic Ó Conaire, 2002. The Playboy of the Western World - a Musical for Radio won a bronze medal at the New York Festival's World's Best Radio Programs and a silver medal at the PPI Awards. 

More information is available at and


Press Releases, News

Both challenges and opportunities in the 2016 census

Census 2016 Summary Results - Part 1 was published today and gives the first results on the use of Irish among the Republic of Ireland’s population of 4,761,865.  1,761,420 (39.8%) of respondents said that they were able to speak Irish, a small fall of 0.7% on the 2011 figure. Out of the 1,761,420 people who were able to speak Irish, 73,803 of them spoke Irish daily outside of the education system, a decrease of 3,382 on the 2011 figure.

Speaking today on the publication of the results, Seán Ó Coinn, Chief Executive of Foras na Gaeilge, said that the fall in the number of people able to speak Irish demonstrates “the challenges and the opportunities facing Foras na Gaeilge and the Irish language sector in the coming years. Although the figures show that there is a small fall, there are still 1,761,420 Irish speakers in the Republic of Ireland, and that is cause for hope”.  He said, “the fall of 11.2% in the number of daily Irish speakers based in Gaeltacht areas is a cause for concern, especially in counties Mayo, Donegal and Kerry. These figures show us how fragile Irish is in the Gaeltacht. That said, the full population stands at 96,090 and 66.3% of that population has Irish. We have to take the opportunity through the language planning processes to influence the 33.7% that are not speaking Irish.”

Referring to the 20 Year Strategy for Irish 2010-2030 Ó Coinn said, “The development of the strategy had a weak start in the early years due to economic factors but 6 Irish language lead organisations were established in 2014 which focus specifically on different areas of work which provide opportunities for the use of Irish. With the basic structures of the 20 Year Strategy for Irish 2010-2030 having been implemented, language planning processes are in place, including Language Planning Areas, Gaeltacht Service Towns, Irish Language Networks and the Policy for Gaeltacht Education. These are structures which are being developed to build on the number of Irish speakers in the Gaeltacht and outside of the Gaeltacht.”

Referring to the education system, Ó Coinn said, “the number of young people (69.9%) between 10 and 19 who can speak Irish is a cause for hope and shows that teachers in many schools are succeeding in influencing young people. It is clear, however, that it is necessary to look at the education system to find out how the third (30.1%) of that age group who believe that they can not speak Irish after having come through the education system can be addressed.”

Foras na Gaeilge warmly welcomed the additional funding of €750,000 approved by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in December 2016, in the department’s announcement today.  Ó Coinn said, “it is clear that the period of cuts has come to an end and that we will have an opportunity, along with our partners in the language sector, to take on the challenges indicated by the census figures in 2017.”

Foras na Gaeilge will analyse the results along with the Irish language lead organisations, the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, the Department of Education and Skills, as well as other interested parties in coming months.




Further Information:

Anna Davitt, Programme Manager: Communication, Marketing & Awareness, Foras na Gaeilge

Tel: 0035387 673 6175    


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Press Releases, News

Bilingual Packaging: a guide for best business practice launched by Minister of State Seán Kyne T.D.

Séan Kyne T.D., Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs, launched the ebook Bilingual Packaging: a guide for best business practice at an event yesterday in Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), Aungier Street, Dublin 2.

Bilingual Packaging: a guide for best business practice is the second in a series of guidance ebooks published by Foras na Gaeilge for the business sector focusing on the principles of bilingualism in signage and packaging. The guidebook aims to recognise best practice in the use of Irish in packaging and to show the business community that the language is a valuable resource that can be used to attract consumers to their products. The ebook was a joint venture between Foras na Gaeilge and DIT, who carried out the primary research for the publication.

Speaking at the launch Minister Kyne said that the ebook was a ‘big step’ focusing on the area of ‘bilingual labelling and packaging’ specifically mentioned in the 20 Year Strategy for Irish 2010-2030. He warmly welcomed the publication and emphasised the particular importance of empowering businesses catering for customers in Irish and in English in Gaeltacht Service Towns and Language Planning Areas with a practical guidebook such as this.

Seán Ó Coinn, Chief Executive of Foras na Gaeilge, said ‘Foras na Gaeilge recognises the importance of using Irish in all aspects of society, and the guidebook greatly supports the use of Irish as a marketing tool in the business commerce sector.’ Ó Coinn said that Foras na Gaeilge is currently developing a new system for businesses called Q-Mharc Gnó le Gaeilge, ‘which will give recognition to businesses which focus on providing services of bilingual best practice to customers’. More information on this major scheme will be available from Foras na Gaeilge later this year.



Notes for the Editor:

  • The President of DIT, Professor Brian Norton, Dr. Máire Mhic Mhathúna, Chairperson of the Languages Act Committee, DIT and Dr. Brian O’Neill, Director of Research, Enterprise and Innovation, presented an exhibition from students, entrepreneurs and staff members to Minister Kyne and Foras na Gaeilge executives at the same event. Projects from MSc students in Cookery Innovation and Food Products Development, DIT Irish Language Office, the Irish Language Society an the TAIRSEACH magazine were among the exhibitions.
  • Jean Cahill, Head of Enterprise, Research and Development, Sciences and Health and Dr. Olivia Freeman, lecturer, DIT School of Marketing, carried out the primary research for the ebook Bilingual Packaging: a guide for best practice.


More information

Anna Davitt, Programme Manager: Communications, Marketing & Awareness, Foras na Gaeilge

Tel: 0035387 673 6175    




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Press Releases, News

More than 8,000 young authors take part in Scríobh Leabhar 2016/17

At an event on Tuesday 4 April in Gaelscoil na Dúglaise prizes were presented to some of the 1,000 children who created, designed and published their own books in Irish as part of the Foras na Gaeilge Scríobh Leabhar project in County Cork. The musician and singer John Spillane was in attendance as special guest on the night along with local musicians to celebrate the children’s achievement with them. Speaking at the awards event the Director of Cork Education Support Centre, Niamh Ní Mhaoláin, said that she was ‘delighted’ about the high quality of the books and about the ‘positive attitude the project created towards the Irish language in schools’.

In total this year 121 schools and more than 8,000 children took part in the project and more than 5,000 books were written. There will be other events like this one in other areas in coming weeks to celebrate what young pupils throughout the country have achieved. Foras na Gaeilge organises the Scríobh Leabhar project in conjunction with the Education Centres: Clare Education Centre, West Cork Education Centre, Dublin West Education Centre, Carrick-on-Shannon Education Centre, Laois Education Centre, Tralee Education Centre, Kilkenny Education Centre, Cork Education Support Centre, Gort an Choirce Teachers’ Centre in Donegal and An tÁisaonad in Belfast.

More than 50,000 pupils have taken part in the Scríobh Leabhar project since it was set up in the 2006/2007 school year.  Not only do pupils write their own book as part of this project but they also have the opportunity to read and discuss stories by children from other schools.  It gives an exciting opportunity to children to express their feelings through Irish. As well as that, it fosters cooperation between school communities and makes the children aware of the concept of peer review and it especially fosters creativity and a holistic approach to child development. Teachers also have a central role in the Scríobh Leabhar project, and they are given inservice training to help them help the children in their efforts. 

“This is a great opportunity for children to enjoy Irish and at the same time express their imagination,” said Aedín Ní Bhroin, Director of the Irish Language Books Programme of Foras na Gaeilge. “They write about all kinds of subjects, from their holidays with their families, their adventures with their friends, their pets and the world through their own eyes. Not only does this project allow them to create their own book, both writing and illustrating it, but it is a great way also to foster their confidence in their Irish language ability”, she said. 

“The Scríobh Leabhar project gives an opportunity to young children to show their ability, their creativity and their enthusiasm for Irish from a very young age. One of the aims of Foras na Gaeilge is for young people to have opportunities to speak and write and this aim is clearly achieved by Scríobh Leabhar. There has been a great deal achieved when you look at the number of children and schools that have taken part in the project since it started more than ten years ago”, said Seán Ó Coinn, Chief Executive of Foras na Gaeilge. “We are indebted to the Cork Education Support Centre and all the other centres for taking part again this year. The centres deserve fulsome praise, as do the children and teachers for the exponential growth of the project”, he said.

* Ends *


Further Information:

Anna Davitt, Programme Manager: Communications, Marketing & Awareness, Foras na Gaeilge

Tel: 0035387 673 6175    


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Spotsolas: Gaelchultúr

Gaelchultúr was established in 2004 with the aim of promoting the Irish language and various aspects of Irish culture, including music, song and dance, in Dublin and other parts of Ireland throughout the country.


Gaelchultúr provides Irish language courses and learning resources of the highest quality, aimed at adults worldwide who have an interest in Irish.Our goal is to offer first-class services to learners and fluent speakers to inspire them to improve their knowledge of Irish. Gaelchultúr are running courses around Ireland, taught by able teachers, and our e-learning website,, gives learners all over the world the opportunity to add to their Irish.

Since 2005, Gaelchultúr has been providing specialised Irish language courses to public sector bodies to help them fulfil their obligations under the Official Languages Act 2003. Most of the courses are aimed at staff who are in regular contact with the public and the aim of the training is to enable those staff members to provide customer service through Irish.

Since 2011, Gaelchultúr has been selected by Foras na Gaeilge to develop courses for the public sector. Under this scheme, Gaelchultúr has developed the Certificate in Professional Irish (CPI). The CPI is very popular and the number of people taking the course is growing continuously. Gaelchultúr ran the course for the first time, at level 4 of the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) in autumn 2012, with four  students attending. Now, the course is available at levels 3, 4, 5 and 6 on the NFQ and is being run in various locations all over the island. In 2016 more than 280 public sector employees took these courses.

In the summer of 2013 Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) awarded Gaelchultúr the status of third level institute. They also gave the company permission to deliver the Postgraduate Diploma in Translation at level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications. Coláiste na hÉireann, the first Irish-medium third-level institute was then established. Since that time, three groups have completed this postgraduate diploma and the fourth group are currently undertaking the programme.

Through the company’s e-learning website,, adult learners of Irish all over the world have an opportunity to improve their ability in the language. In 2016 more than 4,000 people took courses on the site.


Gaelchultúr has published a number of publications, between books for adult learners and resources for primary schools. The most popular of these publications by the company is Gramadach gan Stró!; the fourth edition of this grammar was published in 2016 and more than 20,000 copies of the book have been sold to date. These publications, along with many others, are available through the company’s online shop,

With the support of Clár na Leabhar Gaeilge, Gaelchultúr runs an online Irish book club,, to support and help the reading and publication of Irish language books. A book is chosen each month to read and discuss and there are nearly 2,000 members registered with the club.

Gaelchultúr always seeks to make sure that learners enjoy and benefit from those of our classes they attend and that they regard the learning of Irish as a pleasure rather than a chore.

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