There's a Gaeltacht in Ontario, Canada - the only one outside of Ireland

By Fiona Frawley

September 16, 2022 at 12:35pm


Making it my life's mission to meet a Canadian Bean an Tí.

Did you know that there's a Gaeltacht in Canada, the only one outside of Ireland in fact?

The Gaeltacht Thuaisceart on Oileáin Úir (North American Gaeltacht) is located 30 kilometers outside north of Napanee, where originally Irish immigrants fleeing the Famine settled and is the first Gaeltacht outside Ireland.

According to Irish Central, the Irish language "acts as a lifeline" to those living in the area, and a way of remaining connected to their language, culture and to Ireland itself. The Gaeltacht is set on 62 acres of land and hosts arts festivals, summer camps, classes, Irish dance, music and Gaelic games, all through Irish of course.

The Gaeltacht's mother organisation, Cumann na Gaeltachta was founded by Séamus Mac Concharraige in 1994, with the Ontario site opening officially in June 2007 "with the aim of establishing and maintaining a Gaeltacht in North America".

According to Irish Central there are also smaller Irish speaking areas North America, in areas such as Newfoundland and Nova Scotia - this could explain the TikToker from Newfoundland we came across earlier this year who sounded like he was born and bred in Wexford.


Some North Americans have also travelled to Gaeltacht areas closer to home to brush up on their cúpla focal - have a look at these American and Canadian students attending the annual Intensive Irish Language Programme at NUI Galway back in 2014.

Shout out in particular to Chance, who's about as American as they come and putting my own Gaeilge skills to shame.

Every day's a learning day, am I right kids?

Header image via

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