Permanent North American Gaeltacht

The North American Gaeltacht (Irish: Gaeltacht Thuaisceart an Oileáin Úir) is a gathering place for Irish speakers in the community of Tamworth, Ontario, in Canada. The nearest main township is Erinsville, Ontario. Unlike in Ireland, where the term "Gaeltacht" refers to an area where Irish is the traditional language, this part of Ontario has no resident native Irish speakers. The name refers instead to its being a meeting place for Irish speakers from North America and elsewhere.

North American Gaeltacht
Gaeltacht Thuaisceart an Oileáin Úir
Permanent North American Gaeltacht
Signage at the site entrance
Signage at the site entrance
Kingston, Ontario Location.png
Coordinates: 44°30′06″N 76°59′04″W / 44.50167°N 76.98444°W / 44.50167; -76.98444Coordinates: 44°30′06″N 76°59′04″W / 44.50167°N 76.98444°W / 44.50167; -76.98444
Established16 June 2007 (as the first official Gaeltacht outside Ireland[1])
 • Land0.24 km2 (0.09 sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))


Erinsville was settled by the Irish, and its first five mayors were Irish.[2] It is from this area that the Gaeltacht received its name of "Gaeltacht Bhaile na hÉireann" or "Erinsville/Town of Ireland Gaeltacht". As of early 2021, the organisation's website referred to it as the North American Gaeltacht or Ghaeltacht Thuaisceart an Oileáin Úir.[3]

This site was the first and only officially sanctioned Gaeltacht (or "designated Irish-speaking area") to exist outside Ireland. The Gaeltacht's opening ceremony was attended by the Irish ambassador to Canada, Declan Kelly, and by Helen Gannon of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.[4] A statement was also released by the then Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Éamon Ó Cuív. In this, dated 29 May 2007, he stated: "I would like to congratulate the Canadian people for establishing a Gaeltacht in Canada, the first outside Ireland." [1] Ó Cuív also approved funding of €20,000 (C$28,835) for teacher training.[5]

Following its launch, the project received some news coverage, primarily for the claim that it was the first of its kind outside Ireland, including by RTÉ and TG4 in Ireland,[6][7] the BBC in the UK,[4] and the Globe and Mail in Canada.[8]

Aims and activitiesEdit

The project's stated aim is to "restore and maintain the language by having a place where speakers can make connections with each other, learn and practice Irish".[9] It is intended to use the site for Irish language immersion weeks and to build a learning centre.[10] Other objectives are to arrange exchanges with Gaeltacht families, to provide an Irish-language summer camp for children and to bring teachers from Ireland.[11][12]

As of 2021, cultural events and "language immersion" courses were happening virtually and at the site.[13][14][15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Ó Cuív, Éamonn (2007). Searmanas Oscáilte Chumann na Gaeltachta. Craobh Chláirseach Theamhrach Chomhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (Report). p. 7.
  2. ^ "Bualadh bos... Gaeltacht goes global". Independent News & Media. 18 April 2007.
  3. ^ "Gaeltacht Thuaisceart an Oileáin Úir". North American Gaeltacht - Gaeltacht Thuaisceart an Oileán Úir. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Gaeltacht Cheanada". BBC Northern Ireland. June 2007.
  5. ^ "Donegal example inspired idea for first Gaeltacht outside Ireland". The Donegal News. North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing. 22 June 2007. Archived from the original on 30 August 2007.
  6. ^ "RTÉ Archives - Society - Gaeltacht In Canada". RTÉ. 18 June 2007. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  7. ^ Gaeltacht Cheanada. TG4. 2007 – via YouTube.
  8. ^ "A tongue-twisting labour of love in Canada's Gaelic-speaking community". 2 September 2017.
  9. ^ "North American Gaeltacht society - Grand Opening". Archived from the original on 9 May 2012.
  10. ^ "Permanent NA Gaeltacht - Aims" (PDF). Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  11. ^ "Irish Language Programs" (PDF). Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Opportunity for two Mayo teachers to work in the North American Gaeltacht". Mayo Advertiser. 12 May 2017. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  13. ^ "Tumsheachtain Samhraidh 2021". Gaeltacht an Oileáin Úir. August 2021. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  14. ^ "Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada 2020". Gaeltacht an Oileáin Úir. August 2021. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  15. ^ "Cláracha agus Imeachtaí // Programs and Events". Gaeltacht an Oileáin Úir. Retrieved 18 January 2021.

External linksEdit