It is important, if you come across very old handwritten notes that look like a foreign language, that you not throw them away. They could be important family information from the time of your great-great-great grandparents etc. ,who were 100% Irish and spoke Irish Gaelic in daily life. Although often they were not themselves able to read or write, they always knew someone who could do so.
For those relatives on the Judge side of the family, particularly those that immigrated to the USA and I also believe to Canada. It is said by experts, historians, etc., that the main language of the Avalon Peninsula in Canada up until the 1820s was not English, but IRISH.
The Irish language is said to have come from the Celts, a diverse group of tribal societies in Iron Age Europe who inhabited the Alps of Central Europe. They arrived in Britain and Ireland around 500BC. Over many thousands of years their culture spread and Irish was first called ‘Gaelic’ or ‘Goidelic’ (‘Gaeilge‘ is the Irish word for the language).
Between the 8th and 10th centuries Ireland was invaded by Vikings, with a variety of typically Scandinavian peoples. Also the Normans in the 12th century had an influence on the language. Later under English rule the many Irish chieftains and teachers were forced to cease teaching or using the language. Because of this a number of underground or illegal ‘hedge schools’ were established. In the early 19th centre the english conducted an ordnance survey and with the help of locals established the anglicised versions of place-names.
The Irish cultural revolution, or ‘renaissance’, began around the end of the 19th century and Conradh na Gaeilge (The Gaelic League) was founded in 1893 with the principle aim of reviving the Irish language.
Some useful information can be found here about the history of the language.