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An Irish translation of the Old Testament, commissioned by Bishop Bedell, was published after 1685 along with a translation of the New Testament.Otherwise, Anglicisation was seen as synonymous with 'civilising'" of the native Irish.

Irish is spoken as a first language by a small minority of Irish people, and as a second language by a larger group of non-native speakers.Modern Irish, as attested in the work of such writers as Geoffrey Keating, may be said to date from the 17th century, and was the medium of popular literature from that time on.From the 18th century on, the language lost ground in the east of the country.At the end of the 19th century, they launched the Gaelic revival in an attempt to encourage the learning and use of Irish, although few adult learners mastered the language.The vehicle of the revival was the Gaelic League (Conradh na Gaeilge), and particular emphasis was placed on the folk tradition, which in Irish is particularly rich.Down to the time of the Great Famine and even afterwards, the language was in use by all classes, Irish being an urban as well as a rural language.

This linguistic dynamism was reflected in the efforts of certain public intellectuals to counter the decline of the language.

By the 10th century, Old Irish had evolved into Middle Irish, which was spoken throughout Ireland and in Scotland and the Isle of Man.

It is the language of a large corpus of literature, including the Ulster Cycle.

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Irish has been the predominant language of the Irish people for most of their recorded history, and they have brought it with them to other regions, notably Scotland and the Isle of Man, where Middle Irish gave rise to Scottish Gaelic and Manx respectively.