Common Irish Phrases


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`There is no nation without a language'

The great thing about Modern Irish Gaelic orthography is that it doesn't present the complete beginner with any really nasty surprises, once he/she has mastered a few very simple rules. It may look very odd on the screen at first (particularly to someone whose only language is English) but it really does match reasonably closely the sounds it is meant to represent! Here are some of the commonest sounds a beginner needs to tackle first:

á is pronounced as in English word "drawl"

é is pronounced as in English word "say"

í is pronounced as in English word "see"

ó is pronounced as in English word "home"

ú is pronounced as in English word "too"

Dead easy, so far? Then read on:

fh in most cases has no sound, so

"d'fh-" = "d-";

"b'fh" = "b-".

ng is is pronounced as in English word "sang".

ch is pronounced as in Scottish word "loch", German word "ach".

mh, bh can be either as "w" or "v" as in English words "woe" or "vote".

s after/before "i" or before "e" is pronounced as in English "shy";

s after/before "o", "a", "u", is pronounced as in English "dress". like "s".

All consonants come in two forms, known as slender and broad: slender consonants sit right next to "i","e" in the spelling, though it has to be noted that "e" is also commonly used to "broaden" an "i"; broad consonants sit right next to "a","o","u". gc- bp- dt- nd- mb- ts- are apparently impossible (to an English speaker) combinations which are dealt with by the very simple rule of ignoring the second of the pair at the beginning of words.


Common Irish Greetings/Farewells

As in other countries, Ireland has many different greetings which are used, depending on the occasion and the part of country you are in.

In the following examples the greeting is listed first, and then the appropriate reply is listed underneath. A literal translation is given on the right hand side.

Dia duitGod to you.
Dia is Muire duit God and Mary to you. (reply)
Go mbeannaí Dia duitMay God bless you.
Go mbeannaí Dia is Muire duitMay God and Mary bless you.
Bail ó Dhia ortThe blessing of God on you.
Bail ó Dhia is Mhuire duitThe blessing of God and Mary on you.
Cad é mar a tá tú?How are you? (Tír Chonaill)
Cén chaoi 'bhfuil tú ?How are you? (Connacht)
Conas atá tú ?How are you? (Momhan)
Tá mé go maith.I'm doing well.
Slán leatGood Bye (said to the person leaving)
Slán agatGood Bye (said to the one remaining)
For the following greetings Gurab amhlaidh duit (The same to you) is a common reply;
Oíche mhaith (duit)Good night
Codladh sámh (duit)A pleasant sleep
Nollaig shona duitHappy Christmas
Nollaig faoi shéan is faoi mhaise duitA prosperous and pleasant Christmas
Athbhliain faoi mhaise duitA prosperous new year
Terms Of Endearment

The following are the terms that are most commonly used when talking to your loved ones. They are even more common in letters.

a ghrá
a rún
a stór
a thaisce
a chroí
a chuisle mo chroí
... my dear darling / love / treasure
... sweetheart
a ghrá mo chroí... love of my heart
Irish Curses

Curses in any language should be used with care. The same applies here.
Imeacht gan teacht ort.May you leave without returning.
Titim gan éirí ort.May you fall without rising.
Go n-ithe an cat thú is go n-ithe an diabhal an cat. May the cat eat you, and may the cat be eaten by the devil.

Some of the best and most culturally rich Irish is to be found in the old Irish proverbs. (Seanfhocal)

Níl aon tintéan mar do thintéan féin.There's no place like home.
Scileann fíon fírinne.Lit. Wine lets out the truth.
Is fear rith maith ná drochsheasamh.A good run is better than a bad stand.
Fillean meal ar an meallaire.Evil returns to the evil doer.
Aithníonn cíaróg cíaróg eile.Lit. One beetle recognices another beetle
Ní hé lá na gaoithe lá na scolb.A windy day is not the day to be fixing your thatch (roof).
Ná bac le mac an bhacaigh is ní bacfaidh mac an bhacaigh leat.Don't bother with the beggars son and he won't bother with you.
Nuair atá an cat amuigh bíonn na luch ag damhsa.When the cat is away, the mice will play. (Lit dance)
Meallan muilte Dé go mall ach meallan siad go mion.God's mill may grind slowly, but it grinds finely.

This is a collection of the bits and pieces that did not fit in anywhere else.

Maith thúWell done / Way to go etc.
Sláinte chugatGood health to you.
Go raimh maith agatThanks.
Go dtaga do ríochtMay thy kingdom come.
Nár laga Dia do lámhMay God not weaken your hand.
Gura slán an scéalaiMay the bearer of the news be safe.
Gurab amhlaidh duit The same to you.
Tá failte romhatYou are welcome.
Gabhaim pardún agatI beg your pardon.
Gabh mo leithscéalPardon me (Lit. Accept my excuse).
Más é do thoil éIf you please.
Le do thoilPlease.
Saol fada chugatLong life to you.
Irish Language Links

Common Phrases in Gaeilge

General Irish Phrases

A Beginner's Guide to Irish Gaelic Pronunciation


Learning Irish

My Topical Vocabulary Lessons

Scottish, Irish, and Manx Names

The Blackboard Courses

The IrishPage.Com

The Language of the Celts-Irish Gaelic for use at the court of the Chieftain!

My Topical Vocabulary Lessons

A Beginner's Guide to Irish Gaelic Pronunciation

The IrishPage.Com

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