I’ve seen a lot of useless books in my life. I’ve even read a few. But I’m sad to report that this one trumps anything I’ve seen before.
Irish is the native tongue of only a small minority here, but it is a compulsory subject right through primary and secondary school, so after 14 years of exposure, all Irish people will have a certain familiarity with it, although most will leave school unable to hold a simple conversation. Perhaps in a later post I will address the reasons for that.
But even if only a small proportion of people have Irish as their mother tongue, what is so useless about this book? Well, let's ask ourselves, what is the purpose of a phrase book? It is not a grammar, nor does it contain any structured approach to actually learning the language in question. It is simply intended as a practical tool to aid communication between people who have no language in common.
How does this book not fit that purpose? Quite simply, there are no speakers of Irish who are not already fluent in English. So if an English-speaker starts struggling to get their tongue around phrases in Irish, their interlocutor may indulge them for a minute, but naturally, the conversation will soon switch to the language both are more comfortable in: English. This book is about as useful as a Latin phrasebook. Or perhaps not even, because someone buying this book may be under the illusion that it will actually be possible to use it in parts of Ireland. They will, sadly, be destined for disappointment.