Gaeilge worth over €136m to Galway
By Róisín Ní Fhlatharta A.C.A.
It’s Seachtain na Gaeilge 2023 (in reality 18 days – but sin scéal eile), and it’s worth examining how the Irish language can have a positive impact on your business.
Brand Loyalty (Dílseacht Bhranda)
A few years ago, Gaillimh le Gaeilge published a report showing that the Irish language was worth over €136m annually to Galway with €46m of this benefitting the city.
One of the key findings is the brand loyalty generated by doing business through Irish, not only from customers from Gaeltacht areas but also from other clients including tourists.
“Signage in Irish and using a few words as Gaeilge with customers promotes better engagement,” said Kenneth Walsh of Food for Thought in the city.
“Engaged customers will be loyal as well as great advocates for your business.”
Irish is local and authentic to Galway county and city – Ireland’s only bilingual city – so this presents a unique branding opportunity for businesses which adopt the language, even in a small way.
“Gaeilge has great appeal for tourists as well,” says Bríd Ní Chonghóile, CEO of Gaillimh le Gaeilge.
“Galway’s everyday use of the language in retail, hospitality, culture and visitor attractions differentiates us from other destinations, emphasising the uniqueness of our culture. It improves the visitor experience, making it more memorable.”
Winners of Gradam Seosaimh Uí Ógartaigh – an annual award for organisations which promote the use of Gaeilge in Galway – include DHKN clients Big O Taxis and the King’s Head.
Deireann íar-chataoirleach le Big O Taxis, Frank Fahy: “Cathair dhá theangach í Gaillimh. Tá sé go híontach go bhfuíl ár dteanga fhéin againn. Taithníonn sé go mor le na turasóirí cúpla focal a fhoghlaim sa tacsaí. Ár dteanga, ár nduchas.”
Inclusiveness and Respect (Ionchuimsitheacht agus Meas)
Using the language is more than just good for business, it’s also about inclusiveness and respect. Many Gaeltacht natives are more relaxed in their everyday language and will respect those who try to engage with them as Gaeilge.
“Respect is one of our core values and when we communicate with native Irish speakers in Irish it reinforces that,” says Colette Coughlan of Cope Galway a charity supporting homeless, seniors and domestic abuse survivors.
“It nurtures that sense of culture, diversity and inclusiveness that underlies all that we do.”
“It’s also been a great and fun way of engaging staff from across the organisation, many of whom were not brought up in Ireland.”
Give it a Go (Bain triail aisti)
No one expects a business to transform overnight to an organisation that uses Irish fluently in all its dealings.
But it’s surprising what can be achieved with a little focus and effort, engaging colleagues and customers alike.
Paul Mescal showed recently that you don’t have to be fluent, or even comfortable. You just have to give it a go!
Bain triail aisti!