"UK Ireland Extended" — Extended UK Keyboard Layout for Windows 2000/XP/Vista etc

The (free) solution for typing Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic, Manx Gaelic, Welsh, Esperanto.

Ciarán Ó Duibhín

Note: UK in the name of this layout is in distinction to US (which has a differently-engraved physical keyboard), not in distinction to Ireland (which has the same physical keyboard as UK). This layout is intended for use in Ireland as well as in the UK.

This is a software keyboard layout intended for use under Windows 2000/XP/Vista etc, with keyboards engraved in the UK manner (e.g. £ is engraved on shift/3), as used both in Ireland and in the UK. It is simple to install, and extends the normal "United Kingdom" software layout supplied with Windows, to facilitate convenient keying of typographical characters, and of the accented characters required for Irish Gaelic (including dotted consonants), Scottish Gaelic, Manx Gaelic, Welsh and Esperanto, as well as characters required for occasional foreign words. (several further assignments were added in June 2013 and December 2017.)

• Are you using a Windows keyboard engraved in the US manner? (e.g. # on shift/3) Go here.
• Are you using Windows 95/98/ME? Go here.
• For a comparison of software keyboard layouts for Gaelic under Windows, go to the table here.

What you can key with this layout

In compliance with the ISO/IEC 9995 standard, no keying requires simultaneous depression of more than two keys.

Deadkey assignments

The layout, when installed, will give:

If any of the characters # ` ^ ¬ \ ~ is required to be input, just press the key once followed by the space bar.
Corrected December 2017: # space wrongly gave # space; now gives just #

Pressing a deadkey followed by a character to which it does not apply (e.g. # followed by q) will result in the two-character sequence, e.g. #q.

AltGr assignments

The layout uses the AltGr key to type some other characters, as follows.  In case you have to use an application which reserves AltGr keyings, deadkey alternatives are provided.

broken vertical bar AltGr and ` (as with "United Kingdom" layout) or \ then `
euro sign AltGr and 4 (as with "United Kingdom" layout) ` then 4
double low 99 quote (added June 2013) AltGr and (digit) 1 ` then (digit) 1
double left (high 66) quote AltGr and 2 ` then 2
double right (high 99) quote AltGr and 3 ` then 3
en-dash AltGr and - ` then -
em-dash AltGr and = ` then =
single low 9 quote (added June 2013) AltGr and (letter) l ` then (letter) l
single left (high 6) quote AltGr and ; ` then ;
single right (high 9) quote AltGr and ' ` then '
bullet AltGr and , ` then ,
ellipsis AltGr and . ` then .

Note that some Irish Gaelic fonts may separately encode long-r ($027C), long-s ($017F), long-s-dot ($1E9B), 7-agus ($204A). This layout provides the following keyings for this encoding:

long-r AltGr and r or ` then r
long-s AltGr and s ` then s
long-s-dot \ then AltGr and s ` then S
7-agus AltGr and 7 ` then 7

However, separate encoding for these four symbols is discouraged, and it is suggested you obtain them by using a font which displays them as the images of lowercase-r, lowercase-s, lowercase-s-dot and ampersand respectively.

To install the "UK Ireland Extended" keyboard layout (Windows XP)

This installation guide has been developed for Windows XP. Other Windows versions may differ slightly.  See How to add an input locale or keyboard layout? for further details.

Locale = Language + Region

For handling typed input, your computer uses terms like "English (United Kingdom)" or "English (Ireland)" — these are known as "locales" and they pair a language with a region.  We will not be changing your present locale; your region will stay the same, and (perhaps surprisingly) so will your language. The reason is that we don't want to make your computer unsuitable for inputting English, and we won't have to.

Keyboard Layout

But under a locale, different keyboard layouts are allowed.  Under the "English (United Kingdom)" locale, your present layout is likely to be called "United Kingdom", while under the "English (Ireland)" locale, your present layout is likely to be called "Irish".  We will be changing to a keyboard layout called "UK Ireland Extended" . It will be very easy for you to change back and forward between"UK Ireland Extended" and your present layout — though we don't expect you will need to.

What to do

1. Download the file gaelicuk.zip and unzip the contents to any convenient folder.

2. Double-click on setup.exe to install the "UK Ireland Extended" layout.  (If you omitted to unzip in step 1, but just double-clicked setup.exe inside the zip file, you may get an error that "gaelicuk.dll" is not found.)  Click the Close button when complete.  You can then delete the things you copied to the folder in step 1.

Now, to activate "UK Ireland Extended" as your current keyboard layout:

3. Go to Start/Control Panel/Regional and Language Options/Languages tab/Details button. This will pop up the "Text Services and Input Languages" window.

4. Under the "Settings" tab you will see your current locale and keyboard layout under "Default input language", probably as "English (United Kingdom) — United Kingdom" or "English (Ireland) — Irish".  The same information is repeated further down in "Installed services": your locale "English (United Kingdom)" or "English (Ireland)" at the top and then, under "Keyboard", your keyboard layout, "United Kingdom" or "Irish".  To change your keyboard layout, click the Add button to popup the "Add Input Languages" window.

5. You will see your locale again in the box labelled "Input language"; leave it unchanged — e.g. English (United Kingdom) or English (Ireland).  Click on "Keyboard layout/IME".  Choose "UK Ireland Extended" from the dropdown list, and click the OK button to close the "Add Input Languages" window and return to the "Text Services and Input Languages" window.

6. Go back up to "Default input language" and choose the line combining your locale and "UK Ireland Extended" from the dropdown box.

7. Before leaving the "Text Services and Input Languages" window, it is worthwhile displaying the "language bar". Click the button labelled "Language Bar" — it may be a tab on some versions of Windows — and set to display the language bar, including text labels; the language bar may appear either floating at the top of the screen, or docked (minimised) in the taskbar along the bottom of the screen. The language bar allows quick changing among the installed locales and layouts without entering the control panel maze. (We do not envisage ever changing the locale through the language bar.)

8. Now, click OK to leave the "Text Services and Input Languages" window, and leave the cascade of control panels.

To deactivate the "UK Ireland Extended" layout without uninstalling it, return to the "Text Services and Input Languages" window, go to the "Default Input Language" panel, and select the line combining your locale with the original keyboard layout, e.g. "United Kingdom" or "Irish".  To go a step further, go to the "Installed Services" panel of the "Text Services and Input Languages" window, select each appearance of "UK Ireland Extended" in the panel, and click the Remove button.  To uninstall the "UK Ireland Extended" keyboard from the machine, either run setup.exe again, selecting the "Remove UK Ireland Extended" option; or use Control Panel/Add or Remove Programs.


• The keyboard layout suddenly stops working, reverting to the default layout (and may suddenly start again).

This is likely due to accidental pressing of some unintended key combination, such as Ctrl+Shift, which makes Windows knock off the keyboard layout (actually, it cycles through the installed keyboard layouts). The easiest way to check which layout is current, and to change it, is using the Windows Language Bar (floating or minimised), as we advise to install at numbered point 7 above. (We do not envisage ever changing the locale through the language bar.)


This layout is intended for use with Unicode fonts, which includes all fonts normally used in Windows 2000/XP/Vista. However, some Unicode fonts may still not contain all the characters referenced, but you will easily find others which do.

This layout is not optimal for use with 8-bit fonts, which were designed for older versions of Windows.  If it is so used, dotted consonants, accented w, accented y except for ýÿÝ, circumflexed consonants, saucered u may be rendered in a different (Unicode) font, such as Arial. If you have to use 8-bit fonts under Windows 2000/XP and a UK-engraved keyboard, Vincent Morley provides a free Win2000/XP keyboard to use with 8-bit fonts. (He also provides a free Win2000/XP/Vista keyboard to use with Unicode fonts, called gaelach.zip, similar in scope to this one.)

For more information on Gaelic fonts, see here.


This keyboard layout was made using the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator version 1.4.6000.2. If you require further information about this program, see here.

Feel free to forward this keyboard layout to others. However, please note that:

  1. you are not allowed to make any charge for it
  2. this file must accompany the layout

Ciarán Ó Duibhín
Úraithe 2017/12/17
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