An Gúm
An Gúm was an Irish state company tasked with the publication of Irish literature
Modern literature in Irish
Although Irish has been used as a literary language for more than 1500 years , and in a form intelligible to contemporary speakers since at least the sixteenth century, modern literature in Irish owes much to the Gaelic Revival, a cultural movement which began in the late nineteenth century.-Early...

, especially educational materials.
The agency is now part of Foras na Gaeilge
Foras na Gaeilge
Foras na Gaeilge is the governing body of the Irish language, responsible for the promotion of the language throughout the island of Ireland. Its name can be translated into English as "The Irish Language Body", although the body has no official English-language name...

. Its mission statement is "To produce publications and resources in support of Irish-medium education and of the use of Irish in general." It is the largest publisher of books in Irish in the country. Seosamh Ó Murchú is the current Senior Editor.


An Gúm was founded in 1925 as part of the Department of Education  by Ernest Blythe
Ernest Blythe
Ernest Blythe was an Irish politician.Ernest Blythe was born to a Presbyterian and Unionist family near Lisburn, County Antrim in 1889, the son of a farmer, and was educated locally. At the age of fifteen he started working as a clerk in the Department of Agriculture in Dublin.Blythe joined the...

, then Minister for Finance
Minister for Finance (Ireland)
The Minister for Finance is the title held by the Irish government minister responsible for all financial and monetary matters. The office-holder controls the Department of Finance and is considered one of the most important members of the Government of Ireland.The current Minister for Finance is...

 in the Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

Its purpose was to ensure a supply of textbooks and general books which would be required to implement the policy of reviving the Irish language
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

. Many of the early publications were translations of famous and contemporary English-language books, such as Dracula
Dracula is an 1897 novel by Irish author Bram Stoker.Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula's attempt to relocate from Transylvania to England, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and women led by Professor...

. There were some translations of other European authors, and, of course, Irish authors who wrote in English.
The agency provided financial support for native Irish-language writers and published original writing in Irish by authors such as Máirtín Ó Cadhain
Máirtín Ó Cadhain
Máirtín Ó Cadhain was one of the most prominent Irish language writers of the twentieth century.-Career:Born in Connemara, he became a schoolteacher but was dismissed due to his IRA membership. In the 1930s he served as an IRA recruiting officer, enlisting fellow writer Brendan Behan...

, Seosamh Mac Grianna
Seosamh Mac Grianna
Seosamh Mac Grianna was an Irish writer, in his early career under the pen-name Iolann Fionn. He was born into a family of poets and storytellers, which included his brothers Séamus Ó Grianna and Seán Bán Mac Grianna, in Ranafast, County Donegal, at a time of linguistic and cultural...

 and Tomás Ó Criomhthain
Tomás Ó Criomhthain
Tomás Ó Criomhthain was a native of the Irish-speaking Great Blasket Island off the coast of County Kerry in Ireland. He wrote two books, Allagar na h-Inise written over the period 1918–23 and published in 1928, and , completed in 1923 and published in 1929...

. An Gúm regularly publishes new editions of many books written and published in the 1920s and 1930s.
An Gúm remained part of the Department of Education until 1999 when, with the Belfast Agreement
Belfast Agreement
The Good Friday Agreement or Belfast Agreement , sometimes called the Stormont Agreement, was a major political development in the Northern Ireland peace process...

, its functions were moved under the cross-border body, Foras na Gaeilge, which has a statutory obligation in respect of the publication of Irish language materials for education.


An Gúm was based on O'Connell Street
O'Connell Street
O'Connell Street is Dublin's main thoroughfare. It measures 49 m in width at its southern end, 46 m at the north, and is 500 m in length...

, Dublin, for much of the 20th century, before moving to premises in a building on North Frederick Street, shared with the National Educational Psychological Service, among others. Irish is the working language of the office, which is laid out over two floors. The office incorporates a library of past publications.

Lexicographical publications

The most famous book published by An Gúm is the ("Pocket Dictionary"). Many other dictionaries came out of An Gúm, such as those by Niall Ó Dónaill
Niall Ó Dónaill
Niall Ó Dónaill was an Irish language lexicographer from Loughanure, County Donegal, Ireland. Ó Dónaill is most famous for his work as editor of the 1977 Irish-English dictionary Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla which is still widely used today. He received his education in St Eunan's College in Letterkenny...

 (Irish-English Dictionary) and Tomás de Bhaldraithe
Tomás de Bhaldraithe
Tomás de Bhaldraithe was an Irish language scholar and lexicographer born Thomas MacDonagh Waldron in Limerick. He moved to Dublin with his family at the age of five. He was named after Thomas MacDonagh one of the signatories of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, who had been executed after...


Current projects

As well as ongoing publication and re-publication of fiction and textbooks in Irish, with the necessary editorial work, An Gúm is home to several larger ongoing projects.

Foclóir Nua Béarla-Gaeilge

An Gúm is working on a project to develop a New English-Irish Dictionary. New Step 1, of planning and design, was completed in autumn 2004 and Step 2, writing of the dictionary, is currently in progress.

Séideán Sí

As part of its remit to develop educational materials and textbooks in Irish, An Gúm is developing an "integrated, enjoyable and child-centred course for the teaching of Irish which aims to develop the language, cognitive, emotional and creative skills of the child". The syllabus is specifically, but not exclusively, designed for use in Gaeltacht
is the Irish language word meaning an Irish-speaking region. In Ireland, the Gaeltacht, or an Ghaeltacht, refers individually to any, or collectively to all, of the districts where the government recognises that the Irish language is the predominant language, that is, the vernacular spoken at home...

 schools and gaelscoil
A gaelscoil is an Irish-medium primary school in Ireland, of a sort found outside the traditionally Irish-speaking regions, especially in urban areas....

eanna, where teaching takes place through the medium of the Irish language.
Séideán Sí is a joint initiative of Foras na Gaeilge and the Department of Education. A wide range of materials are available, including books, posters, workbooks and cards.


The word "gúm" means "plan", "scheme" or "project". The agency was also known, in its early days, as An Scéim Foillsiúcháin (The Publication Scheme).
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