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

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

Ciarán Ó Duibhín

This is a software keyboard layout intended for use under Windows 2000/XP/Vista, with keyboards engraved in the US manner (e.g. # is engraved on shift/3). It is simple to install, and extends the normal "US" soft layout — even further than the "US-International" soft 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.

• Are you using a Windows keyboard engraved in the UK manner? (e.g. £ on shift/3) Go here.
• Are you using Windows 95/98/ME? Sorry, I can't help, but look here anyway.
• 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, other than the Ctrl and Alt assignments, for which standard-compliant deadkey alternatives are provided..

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.

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.

Ctrl and Alt assignments

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

broken vertical bar Ctrl and Alt and ` or \ then `
euro sign Ctrl and Alt and 4 ` then 4
double left quote Ctrl and Alt and 2 ` then 2
double right quote Ctrl and Alt and 3 ` then 3
en-dash Ctrl and Alt and - ` then -
em-dash Ctrl and Alt and = ` then =
single left quote Ctrl and Alt and ; ` then ;
single right quote Ctrl and Alt and ' ` then '
bullet Ctrl and Alt and , ` then ,
ellipsis Ctrl and Alt 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 Ctrl and Alt and r or ` then r
long-s Ctrl and Alt and s ` then s
long-s-dot \ then Ctrl and Alt and s ` then S
7-agus Ctrl and Alt and 7 ` then 7

However, separate encoding for these four symbols is discouraged, and it is suggested that you use a font which will display them as the images of lowercase-r, lowercase-s, lowercase-s-dot and ampersand respectively.

To install the "US 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 States)" — 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 States)" locale, your present layout is likely to be called "US".  We will be changing to a keyboard layout called "US Ireland Extended" . It will be very easy for you to change back and forward between"US Ireland Extended" and your present layout — though we don't expect you will need to.

What to do

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

2. Double-click on setup.exe to install the "US 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 "gaelicus.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 "US 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 States) — US".  The same information is repeated further down in "Installed services": your locale "English (United States)" at the top and then, under "Keyboard", your keyboard layout,"US".  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 States).  Click on "Keyboard layout/IME".  Choose "US 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 "US Ireland Extended" from the dropdown box.  Click OK to leave the "Text Services and Input Languages" window, and leave the cascade of control panels.

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


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.  I do not know of any layout for this situation.

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 2009/03/09
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