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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 66: More Creepy Words

In reviewing previous lessons for this time of year, we realized that we were missing more than a few essential creepy words appropriate to the season. So, in combination with lessons 22 and 48, we think we're now set for Samhain. If you think of more, please write and tell us - but keep in mind that exclamations like "Boo" are about the same in most languages.

Word: Bat
Irish: sciathán
Pronunciation: shkee-hawn

Word: Strange/Weird
Irish: ait or aisteach
Pronunciation: atch ash-thukh

Word: Sinister
Irish: drochtuarach
Pronunciation: dhrukth-oor-ukh

Word: Scare/Scared/Fright/Frightened/
Irish: scanradh/scanraithe
Pronunciation: skahn-rah/skahn-rah-heh

Word: Haunt/HauntedHaunting
Irish: gnáthóg/gnáthaithe/dodhcarmadra
Pronunciation: gnaw-hohg/gnaw-ah-heh/dudh-kahr-mah-dhrah

Word: Spectre/ Bogeyman
Irish: taibhseach or púca
Pronunciation: thyev-shukh or pook-ah

Word: Spirit
Irish: anam
Pronunciation: ah-nahm

Word: Ghostly/spooky
Irish: taibhsiúil
Pronunciation: thyev-shool

Word: Banshee
Irish: bean sí
Pronunciation: bahn-shee

Word: Scream/shriek
Irish: scréach
Pronunciation: shkraykh

Word: Howl
Irish: uaill
Pronunciation: oo-il

Word: Moon
Irish: gealach
Pronunciation: gi-ahl-ukh

Word: Moonlight
Irish: solas gealaí
Pronunciation: sol-ahs gi-ah-lee

Word: Dark
Irish: dorcha
Pronunciation: dhur-khah

Word: Shadow
Irish: scáth or scáil
Pronunciation: skaw or skaw-il

Word: Midnight
Irish: meán-oíche
Pronunciation: mi-ahn- ee-heh

Word: Tomb
Irish: tuama
Pronunciation: thoo-mah

Word: Grave
Irish: uaigh
Pronunciation: oo-ig

Word: Graveyard
Irish: reilg
Pronunciation: rell-ig

Word: Coffin
Irish: cónra
Pronunciation: kohn-rah

Word: Headstone
Irish: cloch chinn
Pronunciation: klukh kheen

Word: Skeleton
Irish: creatlach
Pronunciation: krath-lukh

Word: Monster
Irish: ollphéist
Pronunciation: ull-fayshth

Word: Nightmare
Irish: tromluí
Pronunciation: thrum-lee

Word: Vampire
Irish: deamhan fola
Pronunciation: djow-agn fulah

Word: Blood
Irish: foil
Pronunciation: fwill

Word: Werewolf
Irish: coinríocht
Pronunciation: kon-ree-ukth

Word: Devil/Demon
Irish: deabhal djowl
Pronunciation: Death bás baws

Word: Terror/Terrifying/Horrifying
Irish: uafás/uafásach
Pronunciation: oo-faws/oo-faws-ukh

Word/Phrase: Spider/ Spider's Web
Irish: damhán/damhán alla
Pronunciation: dhow-awn ah-lah

Word: Supernatural
Irish: osnádúrtha
Pronunciation: uss-naw-dhoor-hah

Phrase: All Soul's Day
Irish: Lá na Marbh
Pronunciation: law nah mahrv

Phrase: Will O' The Wisp
Irish: tine ghealáin
Pronunciation: tchin-eh yahl-aw-in

Phrase: He took fright
Irish: Ghlac scáth é
Pronunciation: ghlahkh scaw ay

Phrase: I'm frightened to death
Irish: Tá scanradh m'anam orm
Pronunciation: thaw skahn-rah mahn-um urm

Phrase: I'm frightened of the dark
Irish: Tá eagla orm roimh an ndorchadas
Pronunciation: thaw ah-glah urm rev on nur-khah-dhahs

Phrase: Shadow of death
Irish: Scáil an bháis
Pronunciation: skaw-il on wawsh

Phrase: This house is haunted
Irish: Tá taibhsí sa teach seo
Pronunciation: thaw thyev-shee sah chi-okh shuh

Phrase: She gave a howl of rage
Irish: Lig sí teann feirge
Pronunciation: lig she tchahn fer-ih-geh

Phrase: He was as white as a sheet
Irish: Bhí dath an bháis air
Pronunciation: vee dhah on wawsh err

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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