15 Sep 2004

What is it?
The latest attempt to breathe new life into the national tongue.

Who developed it?
The cross-border Irish language promotion agency, Foras na Gaeilge.

Who is it for?
Foras na Gaeilge was one of the North-South bodies to emerge from the Good Friday Agreement; the site targets Irish speakers and learners on both sides of the Border. It has an inclusive ethos, making no distinction between young and old, fluent speaker and beginner.

What information does it contain?
The site’s central focus is to give practical advice on how and where to learn the language. One section lists various courses that are available, from pre-school to third level and beyond. A second section details the informal language networks that speakers can tap into in order to improve their conversation. There is an extensive listing of cultural, social and educational groups and agencies under a third section. A rolling news update courtesy of TG4 gives the site a newsy feel, while users can sign up for an ezine to update them on news and events relating to Irish. The site can be viewed in both Irish and English.

How does it look?
The site certainly looks crisp, professional and well designed. The pages take no time to download and switching between languages is almost instantaneous. The site claims to conform with the highest (AAA) level of usability set out by the Worldwide Web Consortium, making it easier for disabled users to access it.

Any quibbles?
There might be a little bit too much going on on the homepage but better to have an information overload than to have a content desert.

The verdict?
The thought and planning that have clearly gone into it has paid off. A definite bookmark for first-time learner and lapsed Gaeilgoir alike.

By Brian Skelly