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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

On these pages, we will make a valiant effort to provide you with useful words and phrases. One of our subscribers, Aideen, grew up speaking Irish at her mother's knee. She has generously agreed to help us with our lessons. We have put her comments and pronunciations in green.

Note: The spellings and pronunciations used by Aideen are based in her own natural use of Connemara Irish but they have been kept simple, so as to be readily understood in any part of Ireland 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 the Irish language, but not in the English language; it's difficult to 'reproduce' them in writing in English. 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 65: From Cottages to Castles

They say a man's house is his castle but man or woman, whatever you call your residence, now you can say it in Irish.

Word: House
Irish: teach

Phrase: Country House
Irish: teach sa tuath
chi-okh sah thoo-ah

Phrase: Private House (residence)
Irish: teach cónaithe
chi-okh kohn-nee-heh

(Note: The word "Áras" - aw-rahs - can be used for a house of special importance, such as Áras an Uachtaráin - aw-rahs on ookh-thahr-aw-in - the President's House in Ireland)

Word: Apartment/Flat
Irish: árasán

Word: Cottage
Irish: teachín

Word: Caravan (Trailer in US - or Mobile home) carbhán
Irish: kahr-wawn

Word: Bungalow
Irish: bungaló

Phrase: Town House
Irish teach baile
chi-okh bah-leyh

Word: Building
Irish: foirgneamh

Word: Castle
Irish: caisleán

Word: Shed/Shack
Irish: bothán

Word: Hovel
Irish bráca

Phrase: Do you know how old that castle is?
Irish: Bhfuil fhios agat cén aois atá ar an gcaisleán sin?
will iss ah-guth kayn eesh ah-thaw err in gahsh-lawn shin?

Phrase: We intend to build a new house there.
Irish: Tá se d'intinn againn teach nua a thógáil ansin
thaw shay dhin-chin ah-ginn chi-okh noo-ah ah hohg-aw-il ahn-shin

Phrase: There is no hearthside (home) like your own hearthside
Irish: Níl aon tinteáin mar do thinteain féin
kneel ayn chin-thawn mahr dhuh hin-thawn fayn
(Well-known Irish Proverb)

Phrase: The materials used in housing construction often reflect the resources of the area.
Irish: Caitheann na hábhartaí a chuirtear in úsáid i dtógáil tithe scáil ar achmhainn na háite
kah-hahn nah hawv-ahr-thee a kwirr-ther in oos-áwidj ih dhoh-gawil tchee-heh scaw-il err ahkh-vin nah haw-it-cheh

Phrase: We are going to convert our house to build an apartment for our grandmother
Irish: Táimid chun an teach s'againne a iompú chun árasán a thógáil le haghaidh ár seanmháthair
thaw-mwidj khun on tee-okh shog-inn-yeh ah um-poo khun awr-ahs-awn ah hohg-aw-il leh heye awr shahn-waw-hir

Phrase: The house will be going on the market soon
Irish: Tá an teach le dul ar an margadh go luath
thaw an tee-okh leh dhul err on mahr-gah guh loo-ah

Phrase: House For Sale
Irish: teach ar díol
chi-okh err djeel

Phrase: Cottage for Rent
Irish: teach ar chíos
chi-okh err khees

Phrase: Holiday Home
Irish teach saoire
chi-okh see-reh

Phrase: Summer House
Irish: teach Samhraidh
chi-okh sow (as in cow) -ree

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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Eoin is a native Irish speaker who you can listen to in the online lessons.
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Audrey has created conversation lessons to get you speaking Irish.
And last but certainly not least, they are proud of the Irish language and want more people to speak it.
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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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