Ireland is an unusual post-colonial country in that few of its citizens speak its original language as their first tongue. On a daily basis just 1.7 percent of Irish residents speak Irish, whereas 12 percent speak a language other than Irish or English. What does this mean? It would be crass to suggest that national or cultural identity rests only on the ability to speak one’s language, but it would be equally facile to pretend that the loss of a national language has no impact on one’s identity. Why did the (already small) number of Irish speakers rapidly decline with Irish independence from British rule? Why has a de jure bilingual state produced a de facto monolingual population? And, more importantly, what are the consequences of this situation: what does being Irish without Irish mean? Jacques Derrida describes nationalism as a “philosopheme” and one that cannot be separated from questions of linguistic identity. In this chapter I draw on the work of Derrida and Barbara Cassin to describe the connection between nationalism, language, and philosophy. I then go on to examine the role of the Irish language in imaginings of Irish identity and nationalism. I argue that Ireland’s strange and disjointed relationship to its own tongue provides hope for the most hospitable kind of nationalism and the most philosophical kind of identity.