Extraordinary Entrepreneurs: Dialann

Ireland - Mountmellick

This year, we’re highlighting some of the remarkable stories behind some of Ireland’s Extraordinary Entrepreneurs. Check out the story of Dialann below!


When I was in school I wasn’t very good at Irish. It wasn’t until my final 2 years when I was switched to Miss Guinan’s class that Gaeilge finally caught my interest. I still couldn’t speak it, but at least recognised some value in it. At the ripe age of 17, I thought it was too late for me. Ha!

So life goes on. I left Irish behind, but always had this aspiration at the back of my mind; one day, I will learn to speak Irish. Lá amháin. After about another 17 years, I tired of this niggling thought. Lá amháin. I booked myself on a weekend immersion course to see how I would get on. I was massively impressed with how much came back to me. I didn’t know I knew that much at all!

In the last few years, I’ve continued to visit the Gaeltacht for immersion courses, to build up my familiarity with Irish. Living entirely amongst English speakers, I always found it difficult to retain what I was learning. If I don’t use it enough, my brain begins filing away the focloir again. To stop this happening, I began writing my notes and reminders and shopping lists in Irish. I scribble everything down into my diary, and this is how my diary became an important component of my life, with Irish as a teanga beo. This time last year I could not find an Irish language diary, except with Irish like a foreign language, even in Ireland. I thought a practical working diary should be available for the Irish speaking community.

I left Irish behind, but always had this aspiration at the back of my mind; one day, I will learn to speak Irish. Lá amháin.

I decided to create my own. I wanted a practical work diary that was also engaging. I wanted it to be, at once accessible to learners and enjoyable for fluent speakers. A friend of mine, who is an artist, also speaks Irish, so I thought of including the works of Irish-speaking artists in the diary, and set about finding more willing participants. Then I thought it would be helpful to have a business directory to connect with the many products and services available bilingually. I enjoyed compiling phrases and sayings for each day of the year. Dialann 2022 began to take shape over the summer of 2021, and so Gaeltachtín was born.

The whole concept is about connecting to Irish. A diary gives me a connection to Irish everyday. This diary is designed to be a practical diary, an added connection for those for whom Irish is their everyday language. It is also designed to inspire aspiring learners to keep going, to nurture Irish as a living part of their lives.

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