Viridzen wrote:What exactly is the purpose of the Gaeltacht? Are they the places with a majority of Irish speakers, or where it's used officially? I'm not sure.
Generally, it's an area with significantly higher numbers of native Irish speakers than the national average and where the government, at least nominally, tries to focus it's efforts in providing support to the Irish-speaking community.
Viridzen wrote:Okay, so I got "Learning Irish", and I have to say it's not very good on its own. It doesn't really do much in the way of explaining grammar; it keeps using this word "bhfuil" and I have absolutely no idea what that even means. It kind of expects me to figure it out, but it's the second lesson and I should be told the meaning of the word. The first lesson goes over slender consonants and broad consonants, and then doesn't tell much about the pronunciation (you have to go to the fold-out in the back for it, and that doesn't work well enough), and it uses some strange pronunciation I don't get. I would really need something to go with it.
I suggest using an introductory grammar book in addition to the course book, either that or you can ask questions here. As for pronunciation - the rules for pronunciation of the written form in Irish are not that straightforward, so you won't find any simple explanation that you can learn easily and apply universally. The course book does give IPA AFAIK, so if you have questions about why something is spelled a certain way you can ask here. Actually, there's a thread for pronunciation around here somewhere.
Viridzen wrote:Plus, I'm not even sure if I actually will go on the trip to Ireland, but, even if I do, I can just use English.
Sure, and you will have to most of the time. Personally, I think it would be more enjoyable for someone interested in languages if you did learn some Irish, but it's your holiday.