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Welcome to the home of the 'United States-Gaeilge'
keyboard layout for Windows XP.

1. Who should use the United States-Gaeilge keyboard layout?

Are you running Windows XP?

Do you have a US physical keyboard, as shown below?

Do you want to write Irish using the long accent (síneadh fada) and the leniting dot (ponc séimhithe), as in the text shown below?

If the answer to these questions is "yes", then the United States-Gaeilge keyboard layout is for you!

2. What does the United States-Gaeilge keyboard layout do?

With this keyboard layout installed on your computer, you will be able to set text in the traditional Irish script using any Unicode-compliant font that contains the necessary letters.

The keyboard layout contains three "dead keys": the slash (/), the grave accent (`) and the backslash (\). These are called "dead keys" because no letter is entered when they are pressed. Instead, the effect of a dead key is only seen when a second key is struck: a special character is produced by hitting the dead key and another letter in sequence (not simultaneously). The following table shows a full list of the special characters that are available with the Unites States-Gaeilge keyboard layout:


























B dot


b dot


C dot


c dot


D dot


d dot


F dot


f dot


G dot


g dot


M dot


m dot


P dot


p dot


S dot


s dot


T dot


t dot






















long r


long s


long s dot


Tironian "et" (7)







Note that a slash, a grave accent or a backslash can be obtained by striking the appropriate dead key twice.

3. How do I download the United States-Gaeilge keyboard layout?

Just click on (254 KB) to download a compressed zip file which contains the keyboard layout.

4. How do I install the United States-Gaeilge keyboard layout on my computer?

The United States-Gaeilge (Unicode) keyboard layout is compressed in a zip file and must first be extracted using WinZip or a similar utility.

Having unpacked the zip file, click on the setup.exe file in order to install the keyboard layout.

Finally, you should select the keyboard layout in the usual way. In Windows XP, go to Control Panel > Regional and Language Options > Languages > Details > Add. Select English (United States) in the box entitled Input language and select United States-Gaeilge (Unicode) in the box entitled Keyboard layout/IME.

5. Where can I get fonts that will work with the United States-Gaeilge keyboard layout?

Any font encoded according to the Unicode international standard and containing all the required letters will work with this keyboard layout. The number of suitable fonts is increasing all the time as compliance with the Unicode standard improves and all good quality fonts will contain the accented vowels but many fonts currently lack some of the dotted consonants. Arial Unicode MS, which comes with Windows XP, is a suitable Roman-style font, and an excellent example of a suitable open source font (Gentium) can be downloaded here. If you want Irish-style fonts, some suitable examples can be downloaded from the Gaelchló website and fonts in a more general Celtic style are available at the Breton site An Drouizig.

6. Will the KBDUSGA keyboard layout work with any other versions of Windows?

The keyboard should also work with Windows Vista, Windows NT4 and Windows 2000. It will not work with Windows 3.1x, Windows 95 or Windows 98.