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Bunús na Gaeilge - Basic Irish Language

There is no other way to revive Irish than for a crowd of people to spread it.
- Douglas Hyde

Note: The spellings and pronunciations used are based on Aideen's own natural use of Connemara Irish but they have been kept simple, so as to be understood where there are differences in the language.
For example, the word 'feicfidh' is used only in Connemara Irish; in Leinster, Ulster and Munster the word is 'cífidh'. There are two pronunciations; Leinster/Munster - kee-fee; Ulster - chee-fee.

The biggest problem for people whose native language is English is that the soft 't' and 'd' are in Irish, but not in English; it's difficult to 'reproduce' them in writing. Where I use 'th' and 'dh' here, they are best achieved by putting your tongue gently behind your front upper teeth."

Click here for our words & phrases Index.

Lesson 67: The Big Dinner

With the holidays right around the corner, this month's lesson focuses on the all-important festive feast. Our resident Irish speaker gave this offering a most appropriate title: An Dinnéar Mór - The Big Dinner.
Photo Credit: Ivan Elsas

Irish: An Dinnéar Mór
on din-ayr mohr

Word: Dinner
Irish: dinnéar

Phrase: Dinner Party
Irish: dinnéar chóisir
din-ayr kohsh-ir

Phrase: Holiday dinner
Dinner: dinnéar ócáide
din-ayr oh-kaw-dje (literally: an 'occasion' dinner)

Word: Table
Irish: bord

Phrase: Place Setting
Irish: cur suíomh (literally: seating place)
kurr seev

Word: Knife
Irish: scian

Word: Fork
Irish: forc

Word: Spoon
Irish: spúnóg

Word: Teaspoon
Irish: taespúnóg

Phrase: Carving knife
Irish: scian sníodóireachta
shkeen snee-oh-dhoh-ir-ukth

Phrase: Dinner service
Irish: foireann dinnéir
fwirr-un din-ayr

Word: Plate (as in dinner plate)
Irish: pláta

Word: Dish (as in food item/course)
Irish: mias

Phrase: Bread Plate
Irish: pláta aráin
plaw-thah ah-raw-in

Phrase: Soup Bowl
Irish: babhla anraith
bow(as in cow) ahn-rah

Phrase: Salad Bowl
Irish: babhla sailéid
bow(as in cow) sahl-aydh

Word: Glass
Irish: gloinne

Irish: Crystal criostal

Phrase: Wine glass
Irish: gloine fíona
glinne feen-ah

Phrase: Champagne flute
Irish: cuisleann seaimpéin
kwish-lunn champagne

Qord: Cocktail
Irish: manglam

Word: Aperitif or Starter/Appetizer
Irish: greadóg

Word: Silver (cutlery)
Irish: sceanra airgid
shkahn-rah ahr-gidh

Phrase: Linen Tablecloth
Irish: línéadach boird
leen-ay-dhukh bwirdh

Word: Napkin (Serviette)
Irish: naipcín

Word: Centrepiece (flowers)
Irish: gréagán bhláthanna
gray-gawn blaw-ah-nah

Word: Candles
Irish: coinnle

Phrase: Candle sticks
Irish: coinnleoiraí

Phrase: Full-course meal
Irish: béala lán-chúrsa
bay-lah lawn-khoor-sah

Word: Dessert
Irish: milseog

Word: Cake
Irish: ciste

Phrase: Rich fruit cake
Irish: ciste torthaí saibhir
kish-theh thur-hee sever

Word: Host/Hostess
Irish: óstach/beanóstach
ohs-thukh/ bahn-ohs-thukh

Word: Gift
Irish: bronntanas

Word: Guest(s)
Irish: Aoí (Aoíeanna)
ee (ee-unn-ah)

Phrase: It's fun to set a holiday table
Irish: Nach brea an spraoi é an bord saoire a chur in eagrú
nahkh on burdh see-reh ah khur in ah-groo

Phrase: We polish the silver right before all the big holidays
Irish: Cuireann muid snas ar an sceanra airgid díreach roimh na saoire móra
kwirr-un mwidh snahs err on shkahn-rah ahr-gidh djeer-ukh rev nah see-reh moh-rah

Phrase: We always bring out (use) our best linen, dinner service, cutlery and crystal during the holidays
Irish: Bíonn an línéadach, sceanra, foireann dinnéir, shkahn-rah agus criostal is fearr in úsáid againn i rith na saoire
bee-un on leen-ay-dhukh, shkahn-rah, fwirr-un din-ayr ah-gus kris-thahl iss fahr inn oo-sawdj ah-ginn ih rih nah see-reh

Phrase: We've invited the entire family for dinner
Irish: Thug muid cuireadh don chlann uilig teacht le haghaidh dinnéar
Hug mwidj kwirr-eh dhun khlahn ill-ig

Phrase: We will serve dinner at 8 o'clock
Irish: Beidh dinnéar á ndáil againn ag a h-ochth a chlog
bye din-ayr aw naw-il sh-ginn egg ah hukth ah khlug

Phrase: Is everything ready in the kitchen now?
Irish: Bhfuil gach rud réidh sa chistin anois?
will gahkh rudh ray sah khish-thin ah-nish?

Phrase: Has everybody got a drink?
Irish: Bhfuil deoch ag gach éinne?
will diokh egg gahkh ayn-yeh?

Phrase: Who will say Grace?
Irish: Cé tá chun an Ghrásta a rá?
kay thaw on ghraws-thah (hard 'g) ah raw?

Note: This caught our eye. Yes, we know it isn't gaeilge, but it is fascinating. If nothing else, it is certainly language (and Irish language as well.)
by Bernard Share
...for all 'decent skins', 'crawthumpers', horse-protestants', 'hard chaws' and 'strong farmers'...a dictionary of Irish slang that's as amusing as it is informative.
Click here for Slanguage

For More Basic Irish please click here: Irish Index

Image: Gaeilge Beo from
All Posters and Prints.


Thu, Jul 9, 2015
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Irish Grammar
by Noel Mogonagle

This book is excellent for beginners who are wanting a book that gives basic grammar without all the extra information that confuses beginners. The book is well laid out, with information very easy to find. Amazon Reviewer

Here is a good follow-on to our words and phrases.
Click for Irish Grammar.

Irish - English
English - Irish

Note: We have yet to see a dictionary with phonetic pronunciations for each word. We suspect this is partly due to the variations. Providing for all four 'green fields' (Connacht, Leinster, Ulster and Munster), would be cumbersome at best. Still, someone may do it some day. Until then, these are all very good and recommended. Serious students will have more than one; they are inexpensive.

These two (either or both) are the handy-references needed to go with a good grammar or 'teach yourself' course.
We would need both (and some other help) if found wandering in a Gaeltacht late at night.
Amazon has an offer of either one combined with a grammar for a reduced price.
Click for Collins Gem
Click for Oxford Pocket.

Children's Irish Dictionary
by Hippocrene Books

As a total beginner in Irish, this has taught me quite a few words. The illustrations are beautifully done, and best of all, each word is given a rough English spelling of its pronunciation. Edited from an amazon review.
Click here for Kid's Irish Dictionary.

Wicked Irish
by Howard Tomb

While I wouldn't recommend you use many of these phrases, this is a terribly funny book. I picked it up after leafing through it at the store and finding phrases about sheep and inns and the hazards of driving in Ireland without insurance. Each little section starts out innocuously enough, then quickly degenerates into truly funny comments. If you like Monty Python or BlackAdder, this will really make you laugh. If you liked the Father Ted tv show, this little book will make you keel over giggling. Ah, go on, ya eejit, buy it already! Amazon Reviewer
(We want this, you may see a few on these pages - watch out).
Click for Wicked Irish

Teach Yourself Irish Complete Course
by Diarmuid O'She & Joseph Sheils

An easy-to-use program for learning on your own, or can be used as supplemental material for your classes. These new editions have been thoroughly revised and updated to include the engaging dialogues and helpful exercises you have come to expect from the Teach Yourself series.
Click for Teach Yourself

Learning Irish
by Micheal O'Siadhail

The Best Irish Course Available! Three years ago I decided to learn Irish, and in the next two years I bought three different courses. The first two were simply useless, (that's the obvious reason for my buying new courses) you could learn some phrases, but not construct sentences yourself. Learning Irish, on the other hand, is an excellent book, which gives you a thorough vocabulary and grammatical knowledge. It consists of 36 lessons, all containing vocabularies, grammar instructions, texts and excercises. Amazon Reviewer.

Click for Learning irish


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