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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.

Occupations A to Z.
No, not really. The truth is, a lesson on careers is too big a category to handle in one of our basic lessons. And that’s the bottom line - these are supposed to be basic - not all inclusive. That job, all puns intended, belongs to a professional language instructor teaching a comprehensive class. After all, we wouldn’t want to be taking away from his or her livelihood, would we now?

It would appear we made a mistake and did this lesson twice. Nevertheless, they are different. So, until we decide what to do about it, click here for the other version of the same topic: Work.

Word: Job
Irish: post
Pronunciation: pusth

Word: Profession
Irish: gairm
Pronunciation: gahrm

Word: Trade
Irish: gnó
Pronunciation: gnoh

Word: Accountant
Irish: Cuntasóir
Pronunciation: cunth-ah-soh-ir

Word: Artist
Irish: Ealaíonthóir
Pronunciation: ahl-ee-ohn-thoh-ir

Word: Barman/woman
Irish: buachall/cailín tábhairne
Pronunciation: boo-chall/kahl-een thawr-ni-oh-ir

Phrase: Bus/Train Driver
Irish: Tiománaí bus/traein
Pronunciation: thuh-mawn-ee bus thrain

Phrase: Civil Servant
Irish: Stát Sheirbhíseach
Pronunciation: stawth herr-veesh-ukh

Word: Dentist
Irish: fiacloir
Pronunciation: fee-ukh-loh-ir

Word: Doctor
Irish: dochtúir
Pronunciation: dhukh-thoo-ir

Word: Engineer:
Irish: innealtóir
Pronunciation: inn-ul-thoh-ir

Word: Farmer
Irish: Feirmeoir
Pronunciation: firm-ioh-ir

Irish: Iascaire
Pronunciation: ees-kah-reh

Word: Inspector
Irish: Cigire
Pronunciation: kigg-ir-eh

Word: Journalist
Irish: Iriseoir
Pronunciation: irr-ish-oh-ir

Word/Phrase: Laborer/Construction worker
Irish:  oibrí or saothraí
Pronunciation: ebb-ree or see-ree.
NOTE: oibrí comes from the word 'oibir' which is pronounced ub-ir)

Word: Lawyer
Irish dlíodóir
Pronunciation: djlee-dhoh-ir

Word: Musician 
Irish: Ceoltóir
Pronunciation: kee-ohl-thoh-ir

Word: Nurse
Irish: banaltra
Pronunciation: bahn-ahl-trah

Word: Pilot
Irish: Píolata
Pronunciation: pee-luh-thah

Word: Policeman/woman
Irish: Gárda Síochána (Ban Ghárda)
Pronunciation: gawrdhah (bahn gawrdah) shee-ukh-awnah
(Note that is applicable and the only correct way used in Ireland/Irish. It literally means Guardian (man or woman) of the Peace.

Word: Postman
Irish: Fear a' Phoist
Pronunciation: fahr a' fwuishth

Word: Professor
Irish: Ollamh
Pronunciation: ull-ahv

Word: Publican
Irish: Tábhairneoir
Pronunciation: thawr-ni-oh-ir

Word: Sailor   
Irish: Máirnéalach 
Pronunciation: mawr-nay-lukh

Phrase: Ship's Captain
Irish: Captaen Loinge
Pronunciation: cahp-thayn ling-eh

Word: Singer
Irish: Amhránaí
Pronunciation: ow-rawn-ee

Word: Soldier
Irish: saighdiúr
Pronunciation: seye-djoo-ir

Word: Teacher
Irish: m úinteoir
Pronunciation: moon-tchoh-ir

Word: Secretary
Pronunciation: rúnaí
Pronunciation: roo-nee

Word: Shopkeeper:
Irish: Duine a' tsiopa
Pronunciation: dhinn-eh ah tshup-ah
(literally: person of the shop)

Word: Veterinarian
Irish: Dochtúir beithíoch
Pronunciation: dhukh-thoo-ir beh-ee-ukh

Word: Waiter/waitress 
Irish: Freastalaí/cailín freastail 
Pronunciation: frahs-thal-ee, kahl-een frahs-thahl

Word: Writer 
Irish: Scríbhneoir
Pronunciation: schreev-noh-ir

Word: References
Irish: Tagartaí
Pronunciation: thahg-ahr-chee

Word: Salary
Irish: Tuarastal
Pronunciation: thoor-ahs-thahl

Phrase: What do you do?(for a living)
Irish: Cén gnó atá ort?
Pronunciation: kayn gnoh ah-thaw urth?

Phrase: "I am a ______________"
Irish: "Is ___________ mé. " 
Pronunciation: iss ____________ may

Phrase: There will be plenty of opportunity for advancement/promotion. Irish: Beidh neart deiseanna ann dul ar aghaidh.
Pronunciation: bye ni-ahrth desh-ahn-ah on dhull err eye

Phrase: I love my job
Irish: Is breá liom mo phost.
Pronunciation: iss braw li-um mo fusth

Phrase: I hate my job
Irish: Is fua liom mo phost.
Pronunciation: iss foo-ah li-um mo fusth

Phrase: He makes more money than I do (earn).
Irish: Tuillin sé níos mó airgead ná mar a thillim.
Pronunciation: Thill-in shay nees moh ahr-gahd naw mahr a hill-im

Phrase: I deserve a raise.
Irish: Tá breis airgid tuilteanach agam.
Pronunciation: thaw bresh ahr-gid thill-ti-ahn-ukh ah-gum

Phrase: I'm applying for a new job.
Irish: Táim le cur isteach ar phost nua.
Pronunciation: thaw-im le kur iss-ti-ahkh err fusth noo-ah

Phrase: I'm including my resume (curriculum vitae).
Irish: Tá m'athcholmriú ag gabháil leis seo.
Pronunciation: Thaw m'ah-khohlm-ri-oo egg gah-wah-il lesh shuh

Phrase: Would you mind giving me a reference/May I use you as a reference?
Irish: Bhfuil cead agam thú a úsáid mar réiteoir?
Pronunciation: will ki-ahdh ah-gum hoo ah oos-awidj mahr ray-tchoh-ir

Phrase: You're hired.
Irish: Tá tú fostaithe.
Pronunciation: thaw thoo fuss-thee-heh

Phrase: You will be entitled to four weeks' holiday time per year.
Irish: Beidh ceart agat ceithre sheachtaine saoire a bheith agat chuile bhliain.
Pronunciation: Bye ki-arth ah-guth keh-reh hahkh-theh-neh see-reh ah veh ah-guth khuile vleen

Phrase: The company will pay for $X of your health care.
Irish: Íocfaidh an comhluadar le haghaidh $X dod chúram shláinte.
Pronunciation: Ee-ukh-ee on koh-loo-dar le heye $X dudh khoo-ram hlawn-tcheh

Phrase: You're fired!
Irish: Tá tú scaoilithe.
Pronunciation: thaw thoo skweel-ih-heh


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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Here is a good follow-on to our words and phrases.
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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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