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Irish Sign Language (ISL)

Like British Sign Language (BSL), Irish Sign Language (ISL) is a complete language which has developed over hundreds of years. It has its own set of signs, grammatical rules and cultural traditions, and is the first or preferred language of around 5,000 deaf people in Ireland. In 2017, the Irish Sign Language Act was passed, recognising ISL as a language. 

In Northern Ireland, BSL and ISL are recognised equally under the 2016 Sign Language Framework. 

What's the difference between BSL and ISL?

BSL and ISL are completely separate languages, with separate histories and cultures. In fact, ISL is closer to French Sign language than to BSL! For a BSL user, learning ISL would be similar to an English speaker learning another spoken language. 

To find out more about Irish Sign Language, including how to access ISL lessons, visit the Irish Deaf Society. You could also download the Irish Deaf Society's app, ISL Everywhere, to learn signs in ISL.