I am planning a trip to Ireland in August and have been talking to people about their experiences there. One couple I spoke with told me that they found themselves in small towns where only Irish was spoken.
Seems to me that not only is it not a dead language, but it would be very useful to learn some basics prior to visiting there - just as one would want to do when travelling in any country where your language (in my case, American English) is not the primary language spoken.
I picked up a book for learning Gaelic, but it turned out to be Scottish and also was not well thought out in its teaching. If anyone can recommend a book with or without tapes/cds, it would be much appreciated.