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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 #25 - Words and Phrases for the Holiday Season - Part 1
The Holiday Season covers many days. St. Nicholas day, then Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year's and last, Epiphany(January 6th, we exchange our presents then - what's good enough for the Three Wise Men is good enough for us).
With all that, there are many words, and one lesson turned out to be too little. Here is the first batch and we will go on to another (and maybe another) before the holidays run through.
Photo Credit: Small-leaved Shamrock

Word: Christmas
Irish: Nollaig
Pronunciation: null-ahg

Phrase: Happy Christmas to you
Irish: Nollaig Shona dhuit/dhíbh*
Pronunciation: null-ig hun-ah gwich/yeev

Phrase: Seasons Greetings
Irish: Beannachtaí an tSéasúir
Pronunciation: BAN-ock-tee on Tay-zure

Phrase: And to you*
Irish: Go mba hé duit
Pronunciation: guh mah hay gwich/yeev*
Note: This is a suitable response for all pleasant greetings

Phrase: Christmas Eve
Irish: Oíche Nollaig
Pronunciation: ee-he null-ig

Phrase: Christmas Day
Irish: Lá na Nollaig
Pronunciation: law nah null-ig

Phrase: St Stephen's Day
Irish: Lá Stiofáin
Pronunciation: law sthiff-aw-in

Word: Turkey
Irish: turcaí
Pronunciation: thur-kee

Word: Goose
Irish: gé
Pronunciation: gay

Word: Ham
Irish: Ioscaid
Pronunciation: us-kidh

Phrase: Christmas Pudding
Irish: putóg na Nollaig
Pronunciation: puth-ohg nah null-ig

Phrase: Christmas cake
Irish: Ciste Nollaig
Pronunciation: kish-the null-ig

Phrase: Mince pies
Irish: pióga mhionra
Pronunciation: pee-og-gah vyun-rah

Phrase: Present (gift)
Irish: bronntanas
Pronunciation: brun-than-us

Phrase: Christmas stocking
Irish: stoca na Nollaig
Pronunciation: sthuk-ah na null-ig

Word: Mistletoe
Irish: drualas
Pronunciation: dhroo-ah-lus

Word: Holly
Irish: cuileann
Pronunciation: qwill-un

Phrase: Midnight Mass
Irish: Aifreann Meán Oíche
Pronunciation: af-runn mahn ee-he

Word: Carols
Irish: carúil
Pronunciation: cahr-oo-il

Word: Choir
Irish: cór
Pronunciation: kohr

Word: Crib/Manger
Irish: Máinséar
Pronunciation: maw-in-share

Word: Candle
Irish: coinneal
Pronunciation: quin-ell

Phrase: Christmas Cracker
Irish: pléascóg Nollaig
Pronunciation: playz-kohg null-ig

Word: Reindeer
Irish: réinfhia
Pronunciation: rain-ee-ah

Phrase: Christmas cards
Irish: cártaí Nollaig
Pronunciation: cawr-thee null-ig

Phrase: Christmas tree
Irish: crann na Nollaig
Pronunciation: kronn nah null-ig

Phrase: Decorations
Irish: ornáidí
Pronunciation: ur-naw-djee

Phrase: Father Christmas
Irish: Deaide na Nollaig
Pronunciation: daddy na null-ig

Word: Snowman
Irish: fear sneachta
Pronunciation: fahr shnock-thah

Word: Bells
Irish: cloigín
Pronunciation: klegg-een

Phrase: Nativity Play
Irish: Dráma faoi Bhreith Chríost
Pronunciation: dhraw-mah fwee vreh khree-usth

Epiphany (twelfth day- January 6th)
Irish: Lá Chinn
Pronunciation: law khyi -inn

Lesson #26 - Words and Phrases for the Holiday Season - Part 2
This is part 2 of our holiday words and phrases. While it's not likely that people will actually learn and say the following phrases, what is of great value is the pronunciation of the Irish words - and comparing how the words are written in Irish.

Phrase: We start our Christmas cookery as far back as October
Irish: Cuireann muid tús ar an gcócaireacht Nollaig chomh fada siar is Deireadh Fomhair
Pronunciation: quir-enn mu-idge thoos err on goh-cahr-okth null-ig khoh fah-dhah sheer iss djer-eh foh-ir

Phrase: I have written a long letter to Santa Claus (Father Christmas)
Irish: Táim tar éis litir fada a scríobh ag Deaide na Nollaig
Pronunciation: Thaw-im thahr aysh li-chir fah-dah a shcreeve egg daddy na null-ig

Phrase: All my family are coming to see the Nativity Play at school
Irish: Tá mo chlann uilig ag teacht leis an Dráma faoi Bhreith Chríost a fheiscint ag an scoil
Pronunciation: thaw muh khlonn ill-ig egg chee-ahkth lesh an dhraw-mah fwee vreh khree-usth ah esh-kinch egg on skull

Phrase: Have you finished all your shopping for Christmas presents yet? Irish: Bhfuil an siopadóireacht le h-aghaidh bronnantanais na Nollaig críochnaithe agat go fóill?
Pronunciation: will shup-ah-dhoh-ir-ukth leh heye brun-than-ish nah null-ig cree-ukh-knee-heh ah-guth guh foh-il?

Phrase: I hope we will have snow for Christmas
Irish: Tá súil agam go mbeidh sneachta againn le h-aghaidh na Nollaig
Pronunciation: thaw soo-il ah-gum guh meye shnok-thah ag-ginn le heye nah null-ig

Phrase: I love to go to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and to listen to the carol singing
Irish: Is breá liom dul ag an Aifreann Meán Oíche um Oíche Nollaig is éisteacht leis an gcantaireacht charúil
Pronunciation: iss braw li-um dhul egg on af-runn mahn ee-he um ee-heh null-ig iss aysh-thukth lesh on gahn-thar-okth khahr-ool

Phrase: I helped to put up the lights and the decorations and lights on our Christmas tree
Irish: Chabhraigh mé leis na h-ornáidí agus na soilsí a chur in airde ar chrann na Nollaig
Pronunciation: khow-ree may leis na hur-naw-djee ah-gus na syel-shee ah khur inn eer-djeh ar khronn nah null-ig

Phrase: We will have a big candle in the window on Christmas Eve
Irish: Beidh coinneal mór againn sa bhfuinneog Oíche Nollaig
Pronunciation: bye quin-ell mohr ah-ginn sah vuin-nee-ohg ee-heh null-ig

Lesson #27 - Words & Phrases for the Season - Part 3
This lesson concludes our holiday lessons.

Phrase: The New Year
Irish: An t-athbhlian
Pronunciation: on thah vleen

Phrase: Epiphany/Twelfth Day
Irish: Lá Chinn/Lá Dá Dhéag
Pronunciation: law khin/law dhae yay-g

Phrase: Wasn't the choir singing at Midnight Mass so wonderful?
Irish: nach aoibheann cantaireach na córa ag an Aifreann Meán Oíche aréir?
Pronunciation: nock eev-inn kon-thahr-akhth na coh-ra egg on ah-frahnn myawn ee-heh ah-rayr?

Phrase: The youngest child in the house shall light the Christmas candle in the window
Irish: is an páiste is óige a lasfaidh an coinneal sa bhfuinneog
Pronunciation: iss on pawsh-the iss oh-ee-geh a lahs-ee an quin-yell sa vwinn-yee-ohg

Phrase: Father Christmas came down the chimney last night
Irish: tháinig Deadaí na Nollaig síos an tsimléar aréir
Pronunciation: haw-nig daddy nah null-ig shee-os on chim-layr ah-rayr

Phrase: Christmas dinner will be ready at six o'clock
Irish: Beidh dinnéar na Nollaig réidh ag a sé a chlog
Pronunciation: bye djinn-ayr nah null-ig ray egg ah shay ah khlug

Phrase: Thank you so much for that great meal!
Irish: Go raibh míle buíochas leat as an fhir de bhéile sin
Pronunciation: guh row (as in cow) mee-le bwee-khus liahth oss on irr dhe vay-le shin

Phrase: Don't forget to write thank you letters for your presents
Irish: ná déan dearmaid litreacha buíochais a scríobh as bhfúir mbrontannais
Pronunciation: naw djayn djar-muidh lith-ree-uckha bwee-khish ah shcreev ahs woo-ir mrun-thahn-ish

Phrase: Let's go outside to listen to the New Year bells
Irish: gabhmaid amach chun éisteacht le chloiginí na h-athbhliana
Pronunciation: goh-muidh ah-mokh khun aysh-thokhth leh khlig-een-ee nah hah-vleen-ah

Phrase: May we be alive at this time next year
Irish: Go mbeire muid beo ar an am seo arís
Pronunciation: go merr-ih-meedh bee-oh err on om shioh ah-reesh

Phrase: A prosperous New Year to you (singular/plural)
Irish: Athbhliain faoi mhaise duit/dhíbh
Pronunciation: ah-vleen fwee wash-eh gwich/yeev

For More Irish words & phrases 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.

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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