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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 42: Horse Racing

Horse-racing is extremely popular in Ireland. To give an example - the attendance for Ladies' Day at the Galway Races is always in the tens of thousands, rain or shine.So, whether or not you fancy an occasional flutter, we hope you enjoy our latest lesson.
Photo Credit & Related Story about the Galway Races: Pat Martin

Phrase: Horse-racing
Irish: rásaíocht na gcapall
raw-see-ukth nah gopp-ull

Word: Jockey
Irish: marcach

Word: Reins
Irish: sriain

Word: Stirrup
Irish: stioróip

Word: Saddle
Irish: diallait

Word: Colours
Irish: dathanna

Word: Bet
Irish: geall

Word: Bookmaker
Irish: geallghlachadóir

Word: Trainer
Irish: Ceansaitheoir

Word: Stable
Irish: stábla

Word: Fence
Irish: clai

Word: Jump
Irish: léim

Word: Racecourse
Irish: rás chúrsa
raws khoor-sah

Word: Steeplechase
Irish: léimrás

Phrase: Horse-box
Irish: bosca capall
buhs-kah copp-ull

Word: Whip
Irish: eachlasc

Phrase: Veterinary surgeon
Irish: dochtúir beithíoch
dhukh-thoor beh-hee-ukh

Phrase/Proverb: It's a good horse that never stumbles
Irish: Níl coill ar bith gan broscna a loiscthe
kneel quell err bih gahn brusk-nah ah lushk-heh

Phrase: She's always full of horse-talk
Irish: Bíonn sí i gcónaí ag caint ar chapaill
bee-un she ih gohn-ee egg cah-intch err khopp-ull

Phrase: He was thrown out of the saddle
Irish: Cuireadh as an diallait é
quirr-ooh oss on djeell-ith ay

Phrase: He lost his stirrup
Irish: D'imigh and stioróip uaidh
djim-ee on sthirr-ohp wye

Phrase: I'm going to have a bet on the favourite in this race
Irish: Táim chun geall a chur ar an gceannán sa rás seo
thaw-im khun gih-ahl ah khur err on gih-ahn-awn sah raws shuh

Phrase: He's the best jockey to put a horse over a fence
Irish: Is é an marcach is fearr capall a chur thar an léim
iss ay on mahr-kahkh is fiharr copp-ull ah khur hahr on lay-im

Phrase: He rode more winners this year than anyone else
Irish: Mharcaigh sé níos mó capaill bhainte rása i mbliana ná éinne eile
wahr-kee shay nee-us moh copp-ill wahn-cheh raw-sah ih mbleen-ah naw ayn-yeh ell-eh

Phrase: He was led into the winner's enclosure
Irish: Tugadh i gcathú é i mhainnéar na mbuaitheoirí
thug-oo ih gah-hoo ay ih wahn-ayr nah moo-ih-hohree

Word: Paddock
Irish: banrach

Phrase: "They're off!"
Irish: "Siúd ar siúl iad!"
shoodh err shool eedh!

Phrase: He won by a length
Irish: Bhí fad capaill de thosach aige
vee fahdh copp-ill dheh huss-ukh egg-eh

Word: Odds
Irish: buntáistí

Phrase: Win, Place or Show
Irish: bua, áit nó láthair
boo-ah, aw-itch noh law-hirr

Phrase: First, Second, Third, Fourth (place)
Irish: céad, dara, tríú, ceathrú (áit)
kaydh, dhah-rah, three-oo, kih-ah-roo (aw-itch)

Note: Click here for Basic Irish on Horse Shows.

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.

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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