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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 58: Irish Festivals

From the jazz festival in Cork to the oyster festival in Galway, Ireland's calendar is filled with literally hundreds of ways to celebrate everything from food to folklore. So, the topic for this lesson focuses on related words and phrases.

Word: Festival
Irish: Féile or Fleadh
fay-leh or flah

Word: Music
Irish: ceol

Word: Dance
Irish: rince

Word: Literature
Irish: litríocht

Word: Books
Irish: leabhair

Word: Poetry
Irish: filíocht

Word: Opera
Irish: ceoldráma
ki-oh-il dhraw-mah

Word: Sports
Irish: spóirt

Word: Culture
Irish: cultúr

Word: History
Irish: stair

Phrase: Arts and Crafts
Irish: ealaíne agus ceird
ah-leen ah-gus kerdj

Word: Folklore
Irish: béaloideas

Word: Films (Movies)
Irish: scannáin

Word: Theatre
Irish: amharclann

Word: Food
Irish: bia

Word: Oysters
Irish oisrí

Word: Jazz
Irish: snagcheol

Word: Dates
Irish: dátaí

Word: Location
Irish: ionad

Word: Participants
Irish: rannpháirtí

Word: International
Irish: idirnáisiúnta

Word: Entertainment
Irish: siamsa

Word: Competition
Irish: comórtas

Phrase: Art Exhibition
Irish: taispeántas ealaíne
thash-pawn-thahs ahl-een-eh

Word: Tickets
Irish: ticéidí

Phrase: Is it possible to buy tickets on the Internet?
Irish: An féidir ticéidí a cheannach ar an Idirlíne?
on fay-djir thick-ay-dhee ah khi-ahn-akh err on idjir-leen-eh?

Phrase: The programme will be published three months beforehand.
Irish: Beidh an clár á fhoilsiú trí mhí roimh ré.
by on klawr aw eyel-shoo three vee rev ray

Phrase: Where is information available about that festival?
Irish: Cá bhfuil eolas ar an bhféile sin ar fáil?
caw will ohlahs err on vay-ley shin err faw-il?

Phrase: We must book accommodation early.
Irish: Ní mór dúinn lóistín a chur in áirithe go lua.
nee mohr dhoo-in lohsh-theen ah khur in awr-ih-heh guh loo-ah

Phrase: We'll meet you (singular/plural) at the side entrance.
Irish: Casfaimid leat/libh ag an dtaobh-bhealach isteach.
kash-ih-meedj lih-ath/liv egg on dheev-vah-lahkh iss-tsiokh

Phrase: This year's festival is spread out over twenty locations.
Irish: Tá an fhéile scartha thart ar scór ionaid i mbliana.
thaw on ay-leh skahr-hah hahrth err skoht un-idh ih mblee-neh

Phrase: As usual, the festival will start with a parade through the town. Irish: Mar is ghná, tosnóidh an fhéile le paráid tríd a' bhaile.
mahr is gnaw, thuss-noh-ee on ay-leh leh pahr-aw-idj threedj a' wahl-yeh

Phrase: Have you entered that competition yet?
Irish: Ar chuir tú isteach ar an gcomórthas sin fós?
err khwirr thoo iss-tsiokh err on gum-ohr-thahs sinn fohs

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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