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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

On these pages, we will make a valiant effort to provide you with useful words and phrases. One of our subscribers, Aideen, grew up speaking Irish at her mother's knee. She has generously agreed to help us with our lessons. We have put her comments and pronunciations in green.

Note: The spellings and pronunciations used by Aideen are based in her own natural use of Connemara Irish but they have been kept simple, so as to be readily understood in any part of Ireland 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 the Irish language, but not in the English language; it's difficult to 'reproduce' them in writing in English. 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 43: Horse Shows

In Ireland, August is the month for major horse-racing meets, pony shows and horse fairs. So, since we've already done a lesson on horse-racing, this time around we're focusing on words and phrases related to shows.
Photo Credit: Irish Times/Anthony Devlin/PA Wire and Olivia Harris/Reuters

Phrase: Horse Show
Irish: Taispeántas Marcaíochta
thahs-pawn-thahs mahr-kee-ukh-thah

Word: Equestrian (rider)
Irish: marcach

Word: Ring (arena)
Irish: láthair

Word: Jodphurs
Irish: triús marcaíochta
throos mahr-kee-ukhth-thah

Word: Cup/Trophy (presentation cup)
Irish: corn

Word: Judge (adjudicator)
Irish: moltóir

Word: Points
Irish: poncanna

Word: Faults
Irish: lochtanna

Word: Score
Irish: scór

Phrase: The Big (high) Wall
Irish: an Falla Sár-Árd
on fah-lah sawr-awrdh

Word: Obstacle
Irish: constaic

Word: Bar
Irish: barra

Word: Height
Irish: airde

Word: Spread
Irish: fairsinge

Word: Mare
Irish: áir

Word: Foal
Irish: searrach

Word: Stallion
Irish: stail

Word: Hunter
Irish: capall seilge
copp-ull shell-geh

Word: Thoroughbred
Irish: capall folúil
copp-ull ful-oo-ill

Word: Speed
Irish: luas

Word: Style
Irish: galántacht

Phrase: Pony Club
Irish: Club Ghearrchapaill
club gih-ahr-khopp-ill

Word: Yearling
Irish: capall bliana
copp-ull blee-nah

Phrase: Parade of Champion Jumpers
Irish: Paráid na gCapall Árdléime
pahr-aw-idj nah gcopp-ull awrdh-lay-meh

Phrase: Ladies' Day
Irish: Lá na mBan
law nah mahn

Word: Sportsmanship
Irish: Cothrom na Féinne
kuh-rum nah fay-inn-yeh

Word: Team
Irish: foireann

Phrase: Our Pony Club will be organising a trip to the Horse Show next week
Irish: Beidh turas á eagrú ag an gClub Ghearrchaill s'againne ag an Taispeántas Marcaíochta an tseachtain seo chugainn
bye thrus aw ahg-rú egg on glub shahg-inn-yeh egg on thahs-pawn-thahs mahr-kee-ukh-thah on tshokh-thin shuh hug-inn

Phrase: The most exciting feature is always the Big Wall. How high will it be this year?
Irish: Is é an Falla Sár-Árd an ceannaithe is fearr i gcónaí. Cén airde a bhéas sé i mbliana?
shay on fah-lah sawr-awrdh on kiann-ih-heh iss fahr ih goh-nee. kayn eer-djeh ah vays shay i mbleen-ah?

Phrase: Isn't there always such wonderful sportmanship among the riders at Horse Shows?
Irish: Nach dtugann na marcaí Cothrom na Féinne íontach dá chéile ag na taispeántais marcaíochta?
nahkh dthug-ahnn nah mahr-kee kuh-rum nah fay-inn-yeh een-thukh dhaw khay-leh egg nah thahs-pawn-thish mahr-kee-uk-thah?

Phrase: The Aga Khan Cup is the premier competition at the Dublin Horse Show
Irish: Is é Corn an Aga Khan an príomh chomorthas ag Taispeántas Marcaíochta Bhaile Átha Cliath
shay kurn on Aga Khan on preev-khum-ohr-thahs egg thahs-pawn-thahs mahr-kee-ukh-thah wahl-yeh aw-hah klee-ah

Phrase: That was a wonderful round of jumping
Irish: Ba uasladh an timpeallacht léime sin
bah oos-lah on tjim-pahl-ukhth lay-meh shin

Phrase: She had no faults there
Irish: Ní raibh aon lochtanna aici ansin
nee row (as in cow) ayn luhk-thah-nah ek-ee ah-shin

Phrase: That hunter is a marvellous jumper
Irish: Gearrann an capall seilge sin léim sár-mhaith
giarr-ahn on copp-ull shell-geh shin laym sawr- wye

Phrase: On Ladies' Day, the results of judging the elegance of the hats is as important as the marks scored by the teams!
Irish: Ar Lá na mBan, bíonn an moltóireact ar ghalántacht na hataí ar chomh-chéim thábachta le poncanna na fóirne!
err law nah mahn,bee-unn on mul-thoh-ir-ukhth err ghah-lawn-thukth nah hah-thee ar khoh-khaym leh punk-ah-nah fohr-nyeh

Note: Click here for Basic Irish on Horse Racing.

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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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).
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Teach Yourself Irish Complete Course
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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.
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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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