Notre dame is the only university in North America to offer the Irish language as a major, and department heads say it's on the rise. It's an extremely difficult language to learn, but one with a rich history.
In time for Saint Patricks Day, Professor O'Chonchubair told us it was Irish-Americans who actually increased the popularity of holiday festivities in the U.S.
"The notion of a language dying is very much a Darwinian concept, the idea of the strongest survive, the weak die,” says Irish Language Professor at Notre Dame Brian O'Chonchubair. “That isn't very applicable for languages. Languages don't die they simply stop being spoken.”
He says there are about 1.7 million people who are capable of speaking Irish, but only close to 400,000 actually use it.