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on 5 February 2012
This is a wonderful way to start learning Irish as an adult. The themes throughout the book are those which would naturally occur in general conversation and the setting is always entirely relevant to daily life. At the same time, the approach to grammar is much more relaxed. As a result the intention seems to be to instil the patterns of the language by hearing and seeing them in action. Occasionally you are left wondering why a phrase is worded in the way that it is: and this is probably the sort of question that is best left to a more rigorous course.
After doing all the lessons and exercises, I can say that I've got a good general understanding of how Irish works, and - with plenty of revision - a fairly useful vocabulary to practise with. The sounds of Irish words, which are often reported to trouble beginners, are sorted by the 4 CDs covering all the words and dialogues. These are recorded by native speakers, and they include interviews with interesting Irish speakers, unconnected with the course as such. Dialogues however are spoken at regular conversational speed and I needed plenty of re-listening to detect all the words and to hear how they were pronounced in context.
There are two very good indexes at the back on topics and grammar. As you work through the book, you really need to make your own vocabulary list for revision purposes. The exercises are a mixture of spoken and written questions: the answers to the latter are all given in a Key section at the end. With each lesson there are hints for the learner and there is a wealth of information about where further study, reading and contact can be made with the language.
I highly recommend this book to all enthusiasts of the language and I look forward to attempting the follow-up Lower Intermediate book in this series.
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on 6 April 2013
I was really excited about this book as saw a great review video of it online. I've now been using it for about a month.

Positives:
- The voices on the CD speak at a natural pace, giving you the chance to hear what you should actually sound like if you want to seriously learn to speak and understand Irish.
-The book includes lots of natural speech phrases, e.g. I'll talk to you tomorrow, sorry to hear that etc.

Negatives:
- It is laid out in sections such as Myself, Family, Hobbies and Interests.... so each unit is essentially teaching new vocabulary rather than building upon sentence structure and grammar.
-There is little explanation of how things fit together, or how certain phrases are formed, when this would definitely help you remember or at least understand the Irish more.

I'm using a range of materials at the minute to learn Irish but BY FAR the best resource I've come across yet is a free online course:
[...]

I've now finished all these lessons (45 altogether) and genuinely enjoyed learning the language with it. If anyone knows of any books or CDs that follow this sort of structure in language learning, I would happily pay good money for it.

Oh, I'm not sure if you can access this site fully outside of Northern Ireland... :(

Hope this helps- again- some people might find this is exactly what they are looking for- I find it fairly dull and monotonous...
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