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Irish National Heritage Park – No Irish?

Irish National Heritage Park at Caladh na Carraige (Ferrycarrig) in Contae Loch Garman (County Wexford), Éire (Ireland)

A great post from the Irish Archaeology blog on a recent visit to the Irish National Heritage Park at Caladh na Carraige (Ferrycarrig) in Contae Loch Garman (County Wexford). The INHP website has loads of information and is available in several languages. Unfortunately when I clicked on the Irish flag for a translation Irish wasn’t one of them. Instead I got English.

Is English our national language?

I presume fluent or partial Irish-speaking tax payers are contributing towards the running costs of the INHP as well, unless over 40% of the population has somehow been miraculously excluded? So how about a bit of recognition too…?

5 comments on “Irish National Heritage Park – No Irish?

  1. Karen Moran

    The Irish flag signifies the English version of the website. The Irish National Heritage Park is located in Wexford in Ireland = Irish Flag.ie Website is in English because we speak English in the south east we don’t speak Irish and very few are fluent in irish???? English speaking visitors are the main customers who visit attractions in Wexford / Ireland / The INHP annually. If you look other main attractions ie. Dublin Zoo, Fota wildlife park, Guinness store house, Hook lighthouse they do not have a Irish translation as we are a in a majority of English Speaking. Do you expect them to put a UK flag????? We live in Ireland we speak English!!! Irish-speaking tax payers do not contribute towards the running costs of the Irish National Heritage Park. Visitors/customers who actually visit and pay admission into the park help the INHP make money to run the park, to pay staff and develope and keep the park to high standards.!!! English, French, German, Scottish, Italian,Irish visitors etc i.e. Tourists contribute towards the running costs of the INHP when they pay admission etc. If Irish Speaking visitors want the INHP to develope an Irish Version of their website I would advice more and more visitors such as Irish Speaking visitors make the effort to visit this wonderful resource that Wexford ( Majority English Speaking people) offers, So that they can afford to further develope their site. But if you were straight enough to actually ask the wonderful staff and looked at the inhp website you would know that the website is currently under constant development in which they are working to internationalise and domesticate their user experience.

  2. Karen Moran

    If you have ever visited the park you would know that they have only recently launched French and German versions of their website to create awareness of what wonderful things wexford and Ireland have to offer to French and German tourists. By increasing International Visitor numbers to Ireland businesss help to increase Tourism profits for hotels, attractions, shops etc and their help local and national economy. The INHP are working hard to improve accessibility to all their visitors and also have Irish Guide maps and Audio Tours in Irish ie. They are doing a wonderful job and it is great to see how much effort to increase awareness of Ireland and Wexfords wonderful heritage here is the link to Irish Audio Tour http://www.inhp.com/audio-tours/

    • Hi, Karen, and thanks for the Comment.

      I believe you’ll find that many websites in Ireland use a British flag to signify the English language version of their webpages and the Irish flag to denote the Irish version. This includes tourist-orientated or web-based commercial sites. It’s fairly common in fact. Whether it is appropriate or not is another matter. An Irish flag on a website indicates to me, and to anyone I know, that one should click here for the Irish language version of the site – not an English version.

      I believe you’ll also find that there are quite a few Irish speaking citizens in the south-east (I only know three people from Wexford, I’m sorry to say – however all three are fluent Irish speakers, as are their families!). They live there as in every other county of the country. But that is hardly the point. Whether or not Irish speakers are in a local minority or majority they still have the constitutional and moral right to the same level of services and treatment as their English speaking peers.

      This may come as a shock to some but there some people who live in Ireland and speak Irish! In fact in the 2011 Census of Ireland over 40% of the population recorded themselves as Irish-speakers. That’s 1.7 million of your fellow citizens. The people who you share the same nation with.

      Does INHP receive no state funding whatsoever? I beg your pardon if I was incorrect to say so but as far as I was aware they do receive some funding, via various sources, not least Fáilte Ireland (which Irish-speaking tax payers contribute to along with their English-speaking equals). Not to mention being promoted (for free) on various state-run tourist websites, both nationally and locally.

      Furthermore, as I understand it of the 50,000 people who visit the INHP each year a significant minority are actually from Ireland. And so, proportionally, some 40% of them might be indeed Irish speakers. In fact, one might argue that given the greater regard amongst Irish speaking families and communities for our indigenous culture and heritage it is quite likely that significant numbers of Irish speakers visit the park. Therefore, to take your own argument, if you want higher numbers of Irish speakers visiting the park perhaps then the park might cater for them the same way it does for English, French and German speakers – both online and off.

      It is good to see that this is the case with information leaflets and audio-information. Let’s hope it extends to the website itself very soon.

      Finally, the attraction styles itself the Irish National Heritage Park. What is the Irish language and culture but the most defining and central part of our heritage? My article did not attack the INHP merely pointed out an anomaly on its website. One that excluded the most important part of our heritage. The language that defines us as a people and a nation.

      All that said, thank you for your contribution and the points you made. Most welcome.

  3. Hi there,

    Irish Flags [ on websites] used in their proper sense represent localization and not ultimately language change. http://www.brandonhousehotel.ie/Irish /

    Target the UK – British Flag
    Target the US – US Flag
    Target Germany – German Flag
    Target France – French Flag

    Which is used for example to increase the reach of the website pages in the search engines within those countries etc…

    However : to refer to your point Irish National Heritage Park – No Irish? It should be Irish National Heritage Park – Yes Irish? As Gaeilge is available on the Irish National Heritage Park’s website and has been available for a long time. http://www.inhp.com/as-gaeilge/

    Audio Tours in Irish Are also available along with Maps etc all available in Irish / Gaeilge http://www.inhp.com/audio-tours/

    To the majority of Irish Citizens – English is their first speaking language. And unfortunately that is in fact the case!! This may come as a shock but Polish is Wexford’s Second Language after English. ACCORDING to the new figures released by the Central Statistics Office, on Census night last year 12,953 people in Wexford stated that they never use Irish whatsoever.

    Of the 11,257 speakers of foreign languages, 42.36% (4,768) judged themselves to be able to speak English. A total of 445 people didn’t state their ability at speaking English.

    Other than English, Polish was the language most spoken in Wexford at the time the survey was carried out, with a total of 3,905 speakers in the county. 1,162 spoke French, 732 spoke Lithuanian, while 5,458 ticked ‘other’ in relation to the foreign language spoken.

    While 36% of people (50,936) stated that they were able to speak Irish, only 777 people from these stated that they use Irish every day outside of the education system. The largest number of Irish speakers (17,307) used Irish daily within the education system only, while 12,953 people stated that they never use Irish outside of the education system.

    I am very surprised by your post as your website is in fact in English headings only in Irish . It is in fact our constitutional and moral right to the same level of services and treatment as your English speaking peers who read your posts /website.

    Thank you

    • Thanks for the Comment, Gemma, and the points you make.

      Whatever about best practice (SEO or otherwise), the fact is that Irish flags on Irish-based websites can indicate language as well as localisation, though often with mixed results (sometimes they click through to Irish language text, sometimes English language). And in fact some might consider the Irish language as localisation! 😉

      A number of Irish-based websites use British flags not to target a British market but to indicate English text pages.

      I beg your pardon if I failed to observe the “As Gaeilge” link, though I don’t remember seeing the tab on the “frontpage” nor did anyone else who commented or messaged me in relation to the article at the time or since. You are the first. And checking via the Wayback Machine and other online archived versions of the website I notice that there is no “As Gaeilge” link or page there nor can I find any trace of it. Though it is good to see an Irish language webpage for the INHP in place now.

      Perhaps if the whole site was also available As Gaeilge as is the situation with the English, German and French languages and linked to via the Irish flag (as with those three languages) it would be more prominent in future? After all the Irish National Heritage Park is surely the place to promote a central part of our heritage for millennia – the Irish national language.

      Talking of which, though English may be the language of a majority of Irish citizens according to the 2011 Census of Ireland some 41% of Irish citizens state that they speak or can also speak Irish. That is 1.77 million people. Polish is most certainly not Wexford’s second language after English. The combined total of “Daily/Weekly/Less Than” Irish speakers in the county exceeds that of Polish “Home” speakers, which is the comparable statistic. Similar claims have been made by anglophone supremacists in the national media about Polish and French and have been proven to be spurious, anti-Irish propaganda. A number of academics and writers have examined these figures in great detail and have demonstrated that Irish remains the second most spoken language in the state (as well as legally being the national and first official language of the state).

      I’m not sure why you are bringing in the red herring of Polish or any other foreign language spoken in Ireland. Is the INHP to become the Polish National Heritage Park? Is the “Irish” to be dropped from the name? Or are you arguing that the secondary language of the site should be Polish not Irish?

      The INHP is a commercial enterprise that has enjoyed the largesse of tax-payers money, directly and indirectly. It uses the title of “Irish National…” to earn revenue and publicity and promotion. The English-speaking citizens of Ireland (and elsewhere) are fully catered for on the website of the INHP, as are the citizens of Germany and France. It is surely not unreasonable to expect the Irish-speaking citizens of Ireland to receive equal treatment? No better. But certainly no worse.

      Thanks again for taking the time to leave a Comment.

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