According to the Northern Ireland Life and Times survey 224,520 people in Northern Ireland can speak Irish (Gaeilge), this includes 8980 who use Irish as their primary language. According to the 2011 Census on census day there were 8093 (13 per cent of population) people in Fermanagh who speak Irish – The census does not go into depth to state how fluent these 8,093 people are with some using Irish as their primary language whilst some may only be able to use basic phrases such as Céad míle fáilte (translating as one hundred thousand welcomes) or a haon, a d, a trí (numbers 1, 2 and 3.) According to the same census there are also 2483 (four per cent of population) people in Fermanagh who speak Ulster Scots, again the census is unclear on the fluency of speakers with some perhaps using Ulster Scots as their main language which would be uncommon in Fermanagh as the this dialect of Scots in not native to Fermanagh with the Ulster Scots having a strongholds amongst populations in County Antrim and County Derry-Londonderry.

One man who has used his love of Irish to further himself in his career is Ciarán Maguire, originally from Rosslea (Ros Liath or ‘the grey copse). Mr Maguire is a broadcaster with Belfast based community broadcasting station Radió Fáilte Mr. Maguire remarked that Irish has surrounded him since childhood, he has “found it in place names, surnames and first names, words we use on a daily basis” Despite the popularity of Irish dwindling Mr Maguire commented that “Today the structures found in the Irish and many words remain in peoples lexicon and vocabulary. Some examples include ‘piseog’ – a superstition or gob – the Irish word for a beek. I find that in my classes, time after time people will say to me, ‘I didn’t realise that that particular phrase came from Irish.” – Mr. Maguire’s passion for the language is clear and it is evident as he speaks of the influence of Irish on his life growing up – remarking: “I loved watching the football matches on TG4. The commentators of the games were second to none.” The commentators for TG4 must have served as a huge influence as Mr. Maguire now hosts a twice weekly sports programme – on Monday’s and Friday. Mr. Maguire credits those who have educated him throughout the years, particularly at secondary school level in St.Michel’s College, Enniskillen and in higher education. “They nurtured the grá ( love) I have for Irish.”

One of the things that stands with the Irish language is that there are many misconceptions –in particular surrounding dialects. Those in the North most commonly speak with Ulster Irish or Donegal Irish. Mr. Maguire explained with an anecdote, saying “the question I am most often asked is if some one from Donegal, Galway and Kerry met would they be able to understand each others’ dialect – would they not have to switch to English? Who is to say they would be able to understand each others’ English with their different accents I usually reply! The simplest way I can explain the different dialects is consider the difference between a Fiat, a Massey Ferguson and a John Deere tractor, they all look different, have different structures and maybe even sound different but all complete the same function. The dialects of Irish are much the same.”

One man who added a unique perspective on minority languages in Northern Ireland was Mark Robinson. Mark is an Ulster Scots speaker – who uses Ulster Scots every day. Mark said that in fact most of us use Ulster Scots every single day without realising it. He also commented that he would like to see a a minority languages act put in place so that both Irish and Ulster Scots could be protected. Mr. Robinson commented: “Both these languages, like it or not are a part of who I am as a young Northern Irish man. They allow me to have historical links to all my ancestry and make Northern Ireland a more interesting, more diverse place to live.” He added that he’d like Irish and Ulster Scots to be taught more widely across schools, particularly controlled schools as “non-maintained schools never learning Irish Gaelic could leave them disadvantaged in job prospects.”

One Enniskillen man who has found his views towards the language evolve since leaving Fermanagh is Tárlach Russell, who is studying for a master in International Relations in London School of Economics. Mr Russell said “I definitely feel more curious about the language having spent time away from Fermanagh, because of the cultural value it has as something unique to Ireland.” He also spoke with fluency on the need for an Irish Language Act saying: “Legislative parity would allow the language to flourish because adequate resources and information about it could be made available to increase the number of speakers.” Mr. Russell himself does not speak Irish but was adamant in his view that the Irish language should be a 'Red-Line’ in all-party talks in Stormont saying: “The non-implementation of an Irish Language Act is something I would be content to see the talks restoration fall over. The original collapse of the Assembly was based upon one party’s perceived attitudes towards another, which included a lack of toleration for Irish culture as a whole. The DUP cannot dispel this notion that do not agree to an Irish Language Act. Their main grievance is cost or the lack of practicality of such am Act, but their own record in government and Westminster suggests that the costs of a policy are not something they seem to take into concern, especially given their voting record on the Brexit withdrawal agreements.

Brian Friel wrote in his play Translations “Yes it (Irish) is a rich language, full of the mythologies of fantasy and hope and self-deception – a syntax opulent with tomorrows” It has become clear from speaking to those across the community that the Irish language is all of the above – and it will continue to be as long as it remains on this island.