160 years ago in Dublin, there were two schools built for Deaf people. One was for boys and the other was for girls. The buildings were close to each other but boys and girls could never mix which was how the Christian Brothers and Dominican nuns did it back in the day. Amazingly, because the students couldn’t communicate two different types of Irish Sign Languages developed. Ireland is the only country in the world that developed male and female sign languages. Nowadays the two dialects have emerged, but some differences still remain. It’s really interesting to meet some older deaf couples. You can tell who wears the trousers at home by which sign language the couple use. The differences and challenges don’t stop there. In Northern Ireland, Irish Sign Language (and British Sign Language) is officially recognized; Sadly in Ireland Irish Sign Language still isn’t legally recognized. It’s a constant struggle to get ISL Interpreters in areas like court and hospital. Hopefully, this will change soon.


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