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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 48: Halloween and Samhain

It's Trick or Treat in the USA and Help The Hallowe'en Party in Ireland, but wherever you are, this week's lesson focuses on words and phrases associated with the day before the Celtic New Year - Samhain (sow-en).

Word: Hallowe'en
Irish: oíche shamhna
ee-heh how-nah

Word: Ghost
Irish: púca or taibhse
pookah or thyve-sheh

Word: Hobgoblin:
Irish: bobodha

Word: Costume
Irish: culaith

Word: Turnip
Irish: tornapa

Word: Pumpkin:
Irish: puimcín

Word: Bonfire
Irish: tine cnámha
chin-eh krawv-ah

Word: Fireworks
Irish: calaine

Word: Sparklers
Irish: spréachláin

Word: Mask
Irish: masc

Phrase: Trick or Treat
Irish: cleas nó cóir
class noh koh-ir

Phrase: Barm Brack
Irish: Bairín Breac or Arán Breac
bahr-een brack or ah-rawn brack

Word: Apples
Irish: úlla

Word: Nuts
Irish: cnó

Word: Sweets/Candy
Irish: milseáin

Word: Games
Irish: cluichí

Word: Party
Irish: cóisir

Word: Door
Irish: doras

Phrase: Door-step
Irish: leac doiris
lih-ahk dhur-ish

Word/Phrase: Witch/ Witch's Broomstick
Irish: cailleach/scuab chaillí
kyle-yeukh/scoob khyle-ee

Halloween Phrases.
For the fun of it,this lesson is all about Halloween. Once again, we are most grateful to Aideen, our native Irish speaker, for making this lesson possible.

Phrase: Halloween Night happens next Thursday
Irish: Titeann Oíche Shamhna Déardaoin see chugainn
Thith-inn Ee-heh how -na djayr-dheen shuh hug-inn.

Phrase: We'll have great fun at the party
Irish: Beidh spraoi mór againn ag an gcuireadh
Bye spree more og-inn egg on gwir-eh.

Phrase: We played games and ate our fill of cakes, apples and nuts.
Irish: Bhíomar ag imirt cluiche agus d'alp muid ár gcuid den chiste, chnónna agus úlla
Lvee-im-er egg im-irth cliff-eh ah-gus dholp muidge awr guidge djen kish-teh know-anah ah-gus oola.

Phrase: I got the ring in the Barm Brack tonight
Irish: Fuair mise an fáinne san Arán Breac anocht
Foo-ir mish-eh an fawn-nyeh san ah-rawn brack ah-nochth.

Phrase: Hurry up, or we'll be late for the bonfire
Irish: Brostaigh ort*/oraibh**, nó béimíd déanach le haghaidh an tine cnámha
brus-thee urth/ur-iv, noh bye-meedj jay-noch leh heye an chin-eh knaw-vah
*singular ** plural

Phrase: It's time to light the candles for the turnip
Irish: Tá sé in am na coinnle a lasadh don tornap
thaw shay in om na quin-leh a loss-ah dhun thurnap.

Phrase: I love to hear ghost stories at Halloween
Irish: Is breá liom beith ag éisteacht leis na scéalta taibhsí um Shamhain
Iss bra li-um veh egg aysh-thochth lesh nah shkayl-tha thigh-bh-shee um how-inn.

Phrase: The sky will be ablaze with the fireworks
Irish: Beidh an spéir ar lasadh leis na tine calaine
bye on spay-ir err loss-ah lesh nah chin-eh col-an-eh.

Phrase: It's I who got the ring in last year's Barm Brack but I'm still not married
Irish: Is mise a fuair an fáinne san Arán Breac anuraidh ach táim fós gan posadh
iss mish-eh ah foo-ir on faw-in-yeh sahn ah-rawn brack ah-nurr-ee okh thaw-im fohs gon pohs-ah

Phrase: We have great fun when the apples are bobbing on the water
Is mór an spraoi againne nuair a bhíonn na h-úlla ag bogadhál ar bharr an uisce
iss mohr an spree ah-ginn-eh noo-ir ah vee-un nah hoo-lah egg bug-ah-dhawl err war on ish-geh

Phrase: Have we permission to go from house-to-house outdoors in the night air?
Irish: Bhfuil cead again dul amach ó dhoras-godoras faoi aer na h-oíche?
will ki-ahdh ah-ginn dhul ah-mahkh oh ghur-ahs guh dur-ahs fwee air nah hee-heh

Phrase: Will we be able to see the witch on her broomstick in the dead of night?
Irish: An mbeidh deis againn an chailleach ar a scuab a fheiceáil i marbh na h-oíche?
on my dhesh ag-ginn an khyle-yeukh err ah scoob ah ek-aw-il i mahrv nah hee-heh

Phrase: It's not fair to play a nasty trick on people, nor make fun of them. Stop that now!
Irish: Níl sé ceart ná cóir mealladh gránna a bhaint as dhaoine ná ceap a magadh. Éirí as sin anois!
neel shay ki-arth naw koh-ir mahl-ah grawn-ah ah wahnch oss gween-ee naw ki-aho ah mah-gah. eye-ree oss shin ah-nish!

Phrase: I was scared stiff when they lit the turnip (pumpkin) with candles inside it
Irish: Bhí an t-anam scanraithe asam nuair a a las siad an tornapa (puimcín) leis na coinnle istigh ann
vee on thah-nahm skon-reh-hih oss-ahm noo-r ah loss sheedh on thurn-ah-pah (pim-keen) lesh nag cwinn-leh is-chee onn

Phrase: I recognised him immediately when he dropped the mask
Irish: D'aithnigh mé é chomh luath is a d-éirí sé as an gcur i gcéill
dhah-nee may ay khoh loo-ah iss ah dheye-ree shay oss on gur ih gale

Phrase: Children are full of devilment at Hallowe'en
Irish: Bíonn an diabhal i mboilg na bpáistí Oíche Shamhna
(literally: they have the devil in their bellies - nicely!!!)
bee-un on jowl ih mull-ig nah bawsh-thee ee-heh how-nah

Phrase: (You, plural) Be careful with those fireworks
Irish: Bígí cúramach leis na gcailní sin
bee-gee* koo-rah-makh lesh nah gahl-nee shin
* a hard 'g' sound, as in 'go' and not 'gym'

Phrase: I've never seen a ghost. Have you?
Irish: Ní fhaca me púca or taibhse riamh. Tú féin?
nee ahkh-ah may pookah or thyve-sheh reev. thoo hayn?

All holidays, including Halloween, are the perfect time to try essentials oils in your home. Bottles of essential oils like Cinnamon, Cloves, and Frankincense are popular scents, which can be used on Halloween and throughout the autumn season. Making your own fragrant blends in essential oil bottles wholesale can be a fun holiday activity for the whole family.

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.


Mon, Oct 10, 2016
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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.

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
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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.
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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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