County Mayo is home to three Gaeltachts: Erris, Achill and Toormakeady. In these areas the local dialects of Irish-Gaelic are still spoken.
The Irish language survives in various pockets of Western Ireland as a living language. In Mayo, the local name for Gaeilge is 'Gaelic'. It is split into two dialects; that of Erris and Achill in the west of the county and Toormakeady, which is on the border of Connemara.
Irish is still the living language of two communities in Erris; Aughleam on the Mullet peninsula and Carrowteigue, in the north of the Gaeltacht. In the rest of the barony, remnants of the dialect can still be heard in the English spoken by local people. In Ballycroy, a dialect of Tyrone Irish was spoken by descendants of Irish refugees of the Plantation of Ulster.
The eastern half of Achill island, the small island of Inishbiggle and the Currane peninsula is home to a significant number of Irish speakers. Like Erris, the Irish spoken here is heavily influenced by Ulster Irish, due to historical influxes of people from Tyrone. Also, the people of Achill had a long history of working alongside people from Donegal when seasonal migration to Scotland was common.
The Gaeltacht of Toormakeady is found in the south of the county and lies within the historical region known as Joyce Country. The Irish spoken here is different to that of Erris and Achill and forms a dialect continuum with the northern Galwegian dialect. It has, however, some interesting idiosyncrasies of its own.
Use it or lose it
Mayo Irish is still in decline! Let's help preserve our beautiful dialect.
One of a kind
The Gaelic of Mayo is unique to the county and different from standard Gaeilge that is learnt in schools.
Why not learn the living language as it is still spoken?
Aifreann 19 Iúil 2020
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This website is a work in progress. Eventually we hope to include a comprehensive overview of both of the four dialects of Irish Gaelic spoken in County Mayo, and greatly appreciate any contributions you would like to share.