The NASCANNA Keyboard

Now there is a choice, to use the British keyboard or the “Nascanna” keyboard. If you write frequently in Irish, you might consider investing in the “Nascanna” keyboard. Long vowels (i.e. vowels with a fada) are easier to select, and - by means of the AltGr key - there is easy access to the dotted consonants, a major feature of older texts, if you wish. As a bonus, you can also easily type the two technical symbols, miú µ and degree “°”, which are used frequently in Engineering and which also feature on some Continental keyboards.)

This is the layout of the new “Nascanna” keyboard:

Note: This drawing is based on a drawing downloaded from the Wikipedia.

These are the main characteristics of the keyboard:

  • It is necessary to download a driver, or canvas, from our site in order to make the keyboard operate correctly.
  • It was designed for the Windows system, but it also works on the Mac.
  • There is a unique key for each letter of Irish, including the long vowels (á, ú, ó, é, í). The location of any existing letter was not changed, so there is no effect on the writing of English.
  • No major punctuation mark was moved, save for the question mark which was moved one place to the left.
  • In order to make space for the symbols, these were moved to the régime of the “AltGr” (and normally on the same key). These are characters that are (normally) not used very often. Therefore, for any symbol shown in blue, it is necessary to first select AltGr with the corresponding key. For some symbols, it is necessary to also select the Shift key, which is slightly more complex (but see the next point).
  • It is also possible to access other characters, not shown on the physical keyboard, such as the dotted consonants and some symbols that would otherwise require three contemporaneous key presses, also through the use of the AltGr key. These are shown on the drawing above, in red.
  • It is also possible to select vowels with a fada the old way (i.e. AltGr with the vowel key), and also vowels with the grave accent (à, ù, ò, è, ì), but these are not shown on the drawing above.

More Information

There is comprehensive information on the keyboard to be found here.

LibreOffice - The Choice for Irish

An Foclóir Beag (Dictionary)