Gaeilge, the Irish language, is the first official language of Ireland. Once widely spoken throughout the island of Ireland, it is now championed by a minority. An ancient language with both a rich cultural history, it has a key part to play in a vibrant 21st century Ireland.
An official language of the European Union, recent years have seen a growth in usage, in Ireland as well as overseas. In recognition of its unique cultural significance, the Irish Government initiated a programme to support the growth and development of the language in a number of countries throughout the world.
A remarkable 4.5 million Canadians trace their ancestry back to Irish settlers. In supporting the development of the Irish language in Canada, this programme opens the door to the exploration of a shared culture and heritage.
It also contributes to a deeper understanding of the rich and multiple links between two countries with a rich shared history, and a friendship spanning centuries.