Irish Sign LanguageIrish Sign Language

Another important aspect of Deaf Culture for Deaf people is their language - ISL.
Most Deaf people spend the majority of their lives with people who do not know ISL.

It is only when Deaf people are in the presence of other Deaf people that all communication barriers are removed.

It is obvious to most people that ISL is a visual language. What is not so obvious is how the visual nature of the language impacts on the rules for communication. In spoken languages there is no requirement for eye contact between the speaker and listener. In fact, we spend very little time looking at each other. We are not used to maintaining eye contact for long periods of time. Also, we often allow environmental noises to take our attention and we divert our eyes. In a signed conversation the ’listener’ must always look at the ’speaker.’ From a Deaf perspective, broken eye contact or the lack of eye contact shows indifference.

Most hearing people do not freely and effectively use their face and body to communicate so Deaf people see their communication as lifeless and lacking emotion. Facial expression and body language are integral parts of ISL. Deaf people have an exceptional ability to use and read non-verbal communication. They pick up on very subtle facial and body movements. An important aspect of body language is the use of touch. Touching another person is used in Deaf Culture to greet, say goodbye, get attention and express emotion.

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Contact details of the main sign language interpreting agencies are as follows:

Sign Language Interpreting Service (SLIS)

Deaf Village Ireland, Ratoath Road, Cabra, Dublin 7, Ireland.

  • Tel: (+353) 0761 07 8440
  • Mobile: 087 980 6996
  • Fax: 01 838 0243
  • Email:
  • *Bridge Interpreting
  • Tel/Text: 087 904 6594
  • Email:

CSL Centre for Sign Language Studies

  • Call: 071-96-22577
  • Text: 087-3284623

more...Approximately 3,000 Deaf people are Irish Sign language users.


Legal, Compliancy & Security


Registered Office:, 35 North Frederick Street, Dublin 1, Ireland.

Tel: +353 (0)1 8175700 Minicom: +353 (0)1 8175777 Fax: 01 8723816 Text: 087 922 1046

Charity Number:
CHY 5633 Charities Regulatory Authority (CRA) Number: 20008772
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