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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 53: Outdoor Countryside

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, this time of year often finds us hibernating and longing for sunny days when we can enjoy the great outdoors again. It's also when many people begin planning their summer holidays; so, we thought it would be appropriate to offer a lesson that focuses on words and phrases associated with land, water, and related activities.

Word: Outdoors
Irish: Amuigh faoin Aer
ah-mwuih fween air

Word: Land
Irish: talamh

Word: Field
Irish: gort

Word: River
Irish: abhann

Phrase: River bank
Irish: bruach abhann
broo-ukh ow-ahn

Word: Stream
Irish: sruthán

Word: Mountain
Irish: sliabh

Phrase: Mountain range
Irish: sliabhraon

Word: Mountaineer
Irish: sliabhadóir

Word: Road
Irish: bóthar

Word: Rock
Irish: carraig

Phrase: Rock face
Irish: éadán carraige
ay-dhawn kahr-ig-eh

Word: Canoe
Irish: curach

Word: Sea
Irish: farraige

Word: Beach
Irish: trá

Word: Waterfall
Irish: bás uisce
baws ish-geh

Word: Sailing
Irish: seolthóireacht

Word: Fishing
Irish: iascaireacht

Word: Bog
Irish: portach

Word: Climbing
Irish: dreapadóireacht

Word: Sky
Irish: spéir

Word: Sun
Irish: grian

Word: Cloud
Irish: scamall

Word: Star
Irish: réalta

Word: weather
Irish: aimsir

Phrase: On land and on sea
Irish: ar muir agus ar tír
err mwirr ah-gus err tcheer

Phrase: We are going mountaineering next week.
Irish: Táimid ag dul ag sléibhtheoireacht an tseachtain seo chugainn
thaw-muidj egg dhull egg shlayv-thohr-ukhth on tshock-thin shuh hug-inn

Phrase: Do you know what height is that mountain?
Irish: Bhfuil fhios agat ar chén airde ata an tsliabh sin?
will iss ah-guth err khayn eer-djeh ah-thaw on tshleeve shin

Phrase: Be careful, I heard a warning that the wind is rising
Irish: Bí/bígí (you singular/plural) cúramach, chuala mé fógra go bhfuil an gaoth ag árdú
bee/bee-gee (hard 'g') koo-rah-mukh, khool-ah may foh-grah guh will on gwee egg awr-dhoo

Phrase: We are all going sailing (boating) tomorrow.
Irish: Taimid uilig ag dul ag curachóireacht amárach
thaw-mwidj ill-ig egg dhull egg kur-ukh-thoh-ir-ukhth ah-mawr-ukth

Phrase: On retirement from business, he intends to sail the seas
Irish: Ar éirí as cúrsaí gnóthaí, tá sé d'intinn aige na fairrigí a shiúil (literally: to walk the seas)
err eye-ree oss koor-see gnoh-hee, thaw shay dhin-chin eh-geh nah fahr-i gee (hard 'g') ah hi-oo-ill

Phrase: It's difficult rowing against the stream
Irish: Tá sé deacair bheith ag rámhadh in éadan an tsruth
thaw shay dja-kirr veh egg raw-vah inn ay-dhahn on tsruh

Phrase: I'd love to be living beside the sea
Irish: Ba bhreá liom a bheith im chónaí chois fharraige
bah vrhah li-um ah veh im khoh-nee khush ahr-ih-geh

Phrase: We'll go out under the shade of night and watch the stars.
Irish: Rachaimid amach i ndorchadas na hoíche agus dul a' breathnú ar na réaltaí
rahkh-ah-mwidj ah-mahkh ih nurr-khah-dhahs na hee-heh ah-gus dhull ah brah-noo err nah rayl-thee

Phrase: Isn't it well (nice) for those who have a river flowing through their land.
Irish: Nach aoibhinn dóibh a bhfuil abhann á snitheach tríd a dtalamh.
nokh eev-inn dhoh-iv ah will ow-ahn aw shnih-ukh threedj ah dtahl-uv

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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