Although some things about Irish came naturally enough, the language had a number of surprises for me. Sometimes this was a question of false friends - "sa" means "in the" in Irish, but I'm used to it meaning "with" in Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian, so have to mentally readjust every time I see the word (which is often). Likewise "mar", which means "because" in Irish, but which I keep reading as the Dutch "maar" meaning "but". The fact that "mé" means "me" is helpful; but that it also means "I", since personal pronouns don't decline, is somehow confusing. It is neat that "sí" means "she" and is pronounced the same, but I never quite worked out when one drops the initial "s". And I will not quickly forgive the letter "f". But as I worked through the final exercise on the use of the past habitual (bhíonn, bhíteá, bhíodh, bhímis, bhíodh, bhídís), I felt a certin sense of triumph.
Not knowing much else about Irish, it's difficult for me to judge how well Ó Sé and Sheils cover the subject. I thought it was a decent and mostly engaging course of 21 lessons, and can only blame myself for the long time it took me to get through the final two, on the conditional and past habitual. (I turned to the BBC to keep my momentum going.) It is a bit irritatingly scrappy in places - answers which don't match the exercises, illustrations which are too blurry or small to read, glossary which isn't enough to match the lesson (you need to buy a separate dictionary as well). I could have done with more drilling on the basics (though outside a classroom environment I suppose again I have only myself to blame) and still feel very shaky indeed on the personal forms of prepositions (which should have been indexed or consolidated in one of the appendices) or on the questions of eclipsis and lenition (the modification of the first letter of the word, if it is b, c, d, f, g, m, p, s or t, depending on context). But at least I know the issues and have a place to look them up.
Based on other people's recommendations I may now invest in Turas Teanga to take me a bit further, though I have a couple of DIY courses in other languages (mainly Asian) sitting on the shelves, which are a higher priority.