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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 55: Common Ailments and Illness

It's still the season for colds and coughs in our part of the world, so our lesson this time focuses on Easláinte agus Tinneas Coitianta - Common Ailments and Illness.

Phrase: Common Ailments and Illness
Irish: Easláinte agus Tinneas Coitianta
ah-slaw-intcheh ah-gus tchin-ess kuh-tchee-un-thah

Word: Cold
Irish: slaghdán

Word: 'Flu
Irish: fliú

Word: Sneeze
Irish: sraoth

Word: Cough
Irish: casacht

Word: Coughdrop/lozenge
Irish: losainn chasachta
lohs-in khahs-ukth-thah

Word: High Temperature/fever
Irish: teocht árd/fiabhras
chokhth awrdh/feev-rahs

Word: Medication
Irish: cógas leighis
koh-gahs lyesh

Word: Doctor
Irish: dochtúir

Word: Virus
Irish: víoras (note: this is very rare use of the letter 'v' in Irish)

Word: Bronchitis
Irish: broinciteas

Word: Pneumonia
Irish: niúmóine

Word: Symptom(s)
Irish: airí

Word: Ache/pain
Irish: pian

Word: Nausea
Irish: samhnas goile
sow-nahs gwell-eh

Word: Headache
Irish: tinneas cinn
tchin-ess keen

Word: Pale
Irish: bángnéitheach (note: this is very rare instance where a slender vowel follows a broad one after a consonant)

Word: Contagious
Irish: gabhálach
gow (as in cow)- awl-ukh

Word: Prescription
Irish: oideas

Word: Antibiotic
Irish: frithbheathnach

Word: Chemist (Pharmacist)
Irish: poitigéir

Word: Pills/Tablets
Irish: piollaí

Word: Dose
Irish: sráideog

Word: Teaspoon
Irish: taespúnóg (note: this is very rare instance where a broad vowel follows a slender one after a consonant)

Phrase: Chicken soup
Irish: anraith sicín
ahn-reh shik-een

Phrase: You should wrap up warm and drink plenty of fluids
Irish: Ba chóir duit tú féin a chlúdach go maith agus raidhse leachtaí a shlógadh siar
bah khoh-ir dhitch thoo hayh ah khloo-dhukh guh mye ah-gus rye-sheh lahk-thee ah khloh-gah sheer

Phrase: I'm feeling under the weather (out of sorts)
Irish: Tá meathlaíocht éigin orm
thaw mah-lee-ukth ay-gin (hard 'g') urm

Phrase: I can't stop sneezing
Irish: Nílim i ndan cúl ar chur ar an sraoth
nee-lim ih non kool ah khur err on sree

Phrase: This cough syrup tastes terrible
Irish: Tá blas uafásach ar an sioroip casachta seo
thaw blahs oo-faws-ukh err on syrup kahs-ukth-thah shuh

Phrase: She's slightly feverish
Irish: Tá beagán teasa uirthi
thaw bih-ug-awn tchahs-ah ir-hee

Phrase: We really ought to call in a doctor
Irish: Ba chóir dúinn fios a chur ar dhochtúir
bah khoh-ir dhoo-in fiss ah khur err gukh-thoo-ir (hard 'g')

Phrase: You'll have to stay home from school
Irish: Caithfidh tú fanach sa mbaile ón scoil
kah-hee thoo fahn-ukth sah mahl-yeh ohn skwell

Phrase: I have to call in sick
Irish: Ní mór dom scéal a chur isteach go bhfuilim tinn
nee mohr dhum shkayl ah khur is-ti-okh guh will-im tchinn

Phrase: I'm all stuffed up (congested)
Irish: Tá brúnn ar a chéile inim
thaw broon err ah khay-leh in-im

Phrase: Take your medicine - it will make you feel better
Irish: Gabháil an cógas leighis agus tiocfaigh feabhas ort
gow (as in cow) - aw-il on koh-gahs lyesh ah-gus chuck-ee fi-ow-us urth

Phrase: This cold has gone down into my chest
Irish: Tá an slaghdan seo tar éis imirce im ucht
thaw on slye-dhawn shuh thahr aysh im-ir-keh im ukth

Phrase: You must stay in bed for a couple of days
Irish: Ní mór dhuit fanacht sa leaba le haghaidh cúpla lá
nee mohr gwitch fahn-ahkhth sah li-ahpag leh hye coop-ah law

Phrase: The worst is over
Irish: Tá an chuid is measa thart
thaw on kwidj is mahs-ah hahrth

Phrase: I'm feeling much better
Irish: Tá biseach mór orm
thaw bish-ukh mohr urm

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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