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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 69: A New year

A New Year, A New You? Whether or you succeed in taking off the pounds or giving up the smokes, why not make this year the year you resolve to learn some Irish? We have close to seventy lessons, beginning with the very basics all the way to greetings and toasts! Athbhlian faoi mhaise! (Happy New Year! (pronunciation: Ah-vleen fwee wash-eh)

Word: Smoking
Irish: caitheamh tabac
kah-huv thah-bahk

Word: Weight
Irish: meachan

Word: Exercise
Irish: aclaíocht

Word: Diet (food)
Irish: aiste bia
ash-theh bee-ah

Word: Job
Irish: post

Word: Drinking
Irish: ól or ólachán
ohl or ohl-ah-khawn

Word: A drink
Irish: deoch

Word: Debt
Irish: fiach

Word: Credit (as opposed to debt)
Irish: creidiúna

Word: Organise
Irish: eagrú

Word: Course
Irish: cúrsa

Word: Programme
Irish: clár

Word: Promise
Irish: geallúint

Phrase: New Year's Resolutions
Irish: Deá-Ruinna thbhliana
djah-roo-in nah hah-vleen-ah

Phrase: New Year's Day
Irish: Lá Coillte
law kwell-cheh

Phrase: I'll start on New Year's Day.
Irish: Tosnóidh me Lá Coillte.
thuss-noh-ee may law kwell-cheh

Phrase: I intend to.......
Irish: Tá sé de rún (or ar aigne or d'intinn agam)...........
thaw shay dheh roon (or err ahg-neh or dhin-chin ah-gum)

Phrase: I must lose some weight.
Irish: Ní mór dom roinnt meachain a chailliúint.
nee mohr dhum rinch mah-khun ah khahl--oo-inch

Phrase: I'm going to take more care of my body by taking exercise.
Irish: Táim chun níos mó cúram a dhéanamh ar mo chorp tré aclaíocht a chleachtadh.
thaw-im khin nees moh koo-rahm ah yay-nuv err muj khurp thray ahk-lee-ukth ah khlahk-thah

Phrase: Can you recommend a good diet programme for me?
Irish: An féidir leat clár aiste bia mhait a mholadh dom?
on fay-djir lih-ahth klawr ash-theh bee-ah wye ah wull-ah dhum

Phrase: I intend to quit smoking.
Irish: Tá sé de rún (or ar aigne or) d'intinn agam éirí as chaitheamh tabac.
thaw shay dheh roon (or err ahg-neh or dhin-chin ah-gum) eye-ree oss khah-huv thah-bahk

Phrase: I don't want to stop drinking alcohol altogether but I intend to cut down.
Irish: Ní theastaíonn uaim éirí as ólachán alcól go hiomlán ach tá sé de rún (or ar aigne or) d'intinn agam é a laghdú
nee hahs-thee-un wem eye-ree oss oh-ah-khawn guh hum-lawn okh thaw shay dheh roon or err ahg-neh or dhin-chin ah-gum ay ah lye-dhoo

Phrase: I'd like to look for a new job soon.
Irish: Ba mhaith liom post nua a lorg go luath.
bah wye lih-um pisth noo-ah ah lurg guh loo-ah

Phrase: I've enrolled for an educational course.
Irish: Táim tar éis chlárú le haghaidh chúrsa oideachais.
thaw-im thahr aysh khlaw-roo leh heye khoor-sah edj-okh-ish

Phrase: I promised my husband/wife that ...........
Irish: Thug mé geallúint dom fhear chéile/bhean chéile go...........
hug may gi-ahl-oo-inch dhum ahr-khay-leh/vahn khay-leh guh.......

Phrase: I will spend more time with my family and friends.
Irish: Beidh mé ag caitheamh níos mó ama lem' chlann agus mo cháirde
bye may egg kah-huv nees moh ah-mah lem khlahn ah-gus muh khawr-djeh

Phrase: I'm in debt, so I will cancel my credit cards.
Irish: Táim i bhfiaich, dá bhrí sin, táim chun mo chártaí chreidiúna a chur ar ceal.
thaw-im ih vee-ukh, dhaw vree shin, thaw-im khun muh khawr-thee khredj-oon-ah ah khur err kih-ahl

Phrase: I'm going to organise my life better.
Irish: Táim chun mo shaol a eagrú níos fearr.
thaw-im khun muh heel ah ahg-roo nees fih-ahr

Phrase: I will eat more healthy food.
Irish: Ithfidh mé bia níos sláintiúla.
ih-hee may bee-ah nees slaw-in-choo-lah

Phrase: I must help other people.
Irish: Ní mór dom daoine eile a chabhrú.
nee mohs dhum dhee-nee el-eh ah khow (as in cow)-roo

Phrase: I'd like to enjoy life more.
Irish: Ba maith liom níos mó aoibhneas a bhaint as mo shaol.
bah wye lih-um nees mo eev-ness ah wahnch oss muh heel

Phrase: I'm going to ask for a raise.
Irish: Táim chun chur isteach ar árdú tuarastal.
thaw-im khun khur iss-tshi-ahkh err awr-dhoo thoor-ahs-thahl

Phrase: I have no new year resolutions.
Irish: Níl aon deá-rúin na hathbhliana agam.
neel ayn djah-roo-in nah hah-vleen-ah ah-gum

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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Why Learn Irish with Bitesize Irish Gaelic?
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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