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Irish is given recognition by the Constitution of Ireland as the national and first official language of the Republic of Ireland (English is the other official language).

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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.

Irish was not marginal to Ireland's modernisation in the 19th century, as often assumed.In the first half of the century there were still around three million people for whom Irish was the primary language, and their numbers alone made them a cultural and social force.Irish enjoys constitutional status as the national and first official language of the Republic of Ireland, and is an officially recognised minority language in Northern Ireland.It is also among the official languages of the European Union.The public body Foras na Gaeilge is responsible for the promotion of the language throughout the island of Ireland. The modern spelling results from the deletion of the silent dh in the middle of Gaedhilge, whereas Goidelic, used to refer to the language family including Irish, is derived from the Old Irish term.Other forms of the name found in the various modern Irish dialects (in addition to south Connacht Written Irish is first attested in Ogham inscriptions from the 4th century AD; this stage of the language is known as Primitive Irish.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.