Internet Technology The Irish Language - An Ghaeilge

The Irish Driver Theory Test – In Gaelic?

An Idirlíon

A couple of days ago I was helping my sister complete her online application form for the driver theory test when we encountered a drop-down menu that offered several different language options, including one for “Gaelic“. I was surprised to see this term substituted for the word “Irish” (or “Gaeilge“) on a website serving users in Ireland. While Irish is a Gaelic language, one of the three Gaelic national dialects in fact, it’s rarely referred to by that name in common speech. In many ways it would be like a multilingual webpage offering to translate something into “Anglo-Saxon” instead of English or into “High German” instead of just German. This linguist discrepancy is even more incongruous when one considers that the Welsh language option on is simply given as “Welsh“, not “Brythonic“, or that all the other languages are offered in their native spelling (“Français” for French, and so on).

So why the rather archaic entry? Could it be this?:

“This service is operated by Prometric Ireland Ltd. on behalf of the Road Safety Authority (RSA). Prometric, headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Educational Testing Service (ETS) and a trusted provider of technology-enabled testing and assessment solutions.”

Driver Theory Test - In Gaelic
The website of the Driver Theory Test, offering the online booking form in “Gaelic” not Irish

Referring to the Irish language as “Gaelic” might still be the norm in the United States, which is fair enough. However unless people in Baltimore are applying for driving licences in Dublin I think a little consideration for our domestic nomenclature might be more appropriate.

“The Driver Theory Test, Driver CPC Theory Test and ADI Theory Test are available in more than 40 Test Centre locations around the Republic of Ireland as part of the RSA’s driver testing and licensing process, supporting the National Road Safety Strategy.”

I know of the island nation called Ireland, because I live there, and I know that Ireland is a republic, because – again – I live there. However what is this place called the “Republic of Ireland“? Because I sure as hell don’t live there.

This and other minor irritations are brought to you by the good folks at, “Ireland: Home of the Post-Colonial We’re Not Terribly Sure Of Ourselves Complex“.

12 comments on “The Irish Driver Theory Test – In Gaelic?

  1. But “the Republic of Ireland” is commonly used to differentiate between the island and the country.
    For example, I can’t say “Ireland” if the service I’m providing doesn’t include Northern Ireland which is part of the UK.

    • We say 26 Counties usually!

    • Commonly used by the UK and latterly adopted by Irish people too stupid or inculcated to centuries of deference towards all things British to dare contradict the customs of their former masters. Fortunately the Irish courts told the British to take a long walk off a short pier when it came to “ROI” during legal proceedings. The nation is Ireland, Éire, Irlande, Irland, Īrija, etc. Not Roy.

      • I’m not sure of your argument here. It certainly made sense when you still claimed the whole island of Ireland, but IIRC as part of the Good Friday Agreement, the government in Baile átha Cliath dropped its claim to the ‘Six Counties’, so what do you call the bit governed from Dublin under a republican constitution? If ‘Ireland’ only includes the 26 counties, where does the northern bit belong? Have you set it adrift? (Not that I’d blame you if you did!)

        • Yeah – and that’s also why no country in the world considers NI an occupied territory.
          How can it be occupied if it’s not claimed by any other country or government?

      • Irish people too stupid or inculcated to centuries of deference towards all things British to dare contradict the customs of their former masters.
        Aren’t most of you like that?
        People who speak only the language of the invader, teach their kids English and nothing else and use place names that were imposed upon them by their masters,..

  2. I have to renew my Driving License but under the new regime I have so-far been unable to find out how to do it. I have made all correspondance and tests etc for this in Irish since 1968 but I am still awaiting a response from the appropriate Government Department as to what I need do to renew.

  3. I’ve been to Baltimore, it’s where you get the boat to Clear Island, down the road from Skibbereen 🙂

  4. James Fox/Seamus Sionnach and Janis Lapsa – a superb singles partnership – one with his easily returnable shots, manipulating the point for the other to hit a smash. A singles partnership Macca, whatever do you mean? Well… oh hold on, isn’t talking to yourself considered one of the first signs of being a loony?

    • That’s why I generally talk to the cat … it’s only on the days when she answers that I need to start worrying 🙂

    • Macca, not quite my name, nor is that Janis’ surname (as far as I know), however what is the point you are making? Do you believe that we rehearse or co-ordinate our discussions before typing them out?

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