We have a group of continuing Irish language learners who meet weekly for conversation practice on an ongoing basis. We also periodically hold Beginner classes. Click the Sign Up button below to express interest in a class, or to be added to our mailing list. Email Becky with any questions or for more information!
All classes are FREE for Wisconsin residents!
All classes currently meeting online via Zoom
September 28-December 14
Tuesdays 7:00-8:15 pm Central Time
For complete or new beginners.
Sundays 4:00-5:00 pm Central Time
For learners with some prior experience with Irish (Advanced Beginner or Intermediate).
Check out this collection of Wordwall activities that we have used in our classes!Sign Up
Classes are taught by Dr. Rebecca Shields, lecturer in Linguistics with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Language Sciences Program.
These free classes are sponsored by UW-Madison's Language Institute.
We are fortunate to have many wonderful resources available online and in print for learners of Irish Gaelic. Here are some of the many good ones to help you on your Irish learning journey.
We have group members who have participated in the online courses listed below - be in touch if you would like to connect with someone who can give you more information about which class might be right for you.
The database at teanglann allows you to search multiple dictionaries at once. These are a bit older than the NEID below (published in the 1950s-1990s). There is also a grammar database and a pronunciation database - you can hear audio of the words in all three major dialects. This site is most useful if you have an Irish word and want to know its meaning.
The NEID at foclóir.ie is the most up-to-date contemporary dictionary of Irish available, and also contains grammatical information and audio for most words. There are also lots of usage examples which are searchable. Since this is an English-Irish dictionary only, it is most useful when you are trying to translate from English into Irish. The NEID is also available as a phone app.
This resource contains many specialized or technical terms which are not included in the above dictionaries.
Abair.ie is a speech synthesizer, which will auto-generate an approximate pronunciation for any Irish word or sentence you type in. You can also see an IPA transcription. Although the speech synthesizer is rather mechanical sounding and not perfect, it might be helpful if you want to know roughly how something is pronounced, which is not contained in the audio samples in the above dictionaries.
There are quite a few Irish language audio samples at the crowd-sourced Forvo pronunciation database. Be aware that while most of the audio samples are fine, the samples are submitted by ordinary people recording themselves. Not all of the contributions are from native speakers, so there are occasional incorrect pronunciations.
Free online self-paced lessons in Irish language and culture created by Dublin City University. There are currently 12 levels, with each course lasting 4 weeks. Irish 101-108 are A1-A2 (Beginner) level, Irish 201-204 are B1 (Intermediate). These are not live/Zoom-based classes, but there is lots of audio and video, as well as opportunities to interact with instructors and other participants via the chat. The classes are free for the regular 4 week period - for a fee, you can keep access to the materials indefinitely (although there will be no interaction with others after the free period ends.) Most of the audio was created by second language speakers, so you won't hear many native accents here, but the courses are interactive and very well-designed.
Donegal-based immersion school for adults whose in-person summer classes attract learners from all over Ireland and across the world. During the COVID pandemic, they began offering online (Zoom-based) classes during the year as well. Many of the teachers are native speakers from the Donegal area - all are excellent teachers. They use rich and interesting materials created by their school, which frequently feature unique aspects of the local dialect.
The Cultúrlann in Derry has been offering online classes, which will hopefully continue beyond the pandemic era. There are four online levels and each lasts a full academic year (30 weeks!), at an extremely reasonable price. The emphasis is everyday conversational Irish. They use a series of coursebooks created by Toirealach Ó Grada of the Cultúrlann, Céimeanna Comhrá.
Gaelchultúr is located in Dublin, Ireland, and offers in person and online classes at a variety of levels from beginner to advanced. Classes have a communicative focus and are based on the Gaeilge gan Stró coursebooks. They offer some classes during US evening and weekend hours.
This New York branch of Conradh na Gaeilge (the Gaelic League) is very active and organized. They offer language classes at various levels on weekday evenings US time, as well as study and reading groups, for a very reasonable price. A small selection of Irish language books and learning materials is also available for purchase through their website.
The New York-based organization has been teaching and promoting the Irish language abroad since 1872. They offer a range of free Irish classes, including correspondence courses conducted over email as well as online Zoom classes. They also publish an Irish-language journal for the Irish diaspora called An Gael.
This culture and arts center in St. Paul Minnesota organizes a wide variety of Irish cultural activities and events, including music, dance, history, and language workshops, classes, and lectures.