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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 5
The Language of Love - in Irish

This is a revised and updated version of our St. Valentine''s Day offering. The difference is that some of the following words and phrases can be used at any time of the year, whenever romance is in the air.

Phrase: St Valentine's Day
Irish: Lá Fhéle Vailintín
law ay-leh val-in-theen

Phrase: Happy St Valentine's Day
Beannachtaí na Fhéle Vailintín
Ban-ochth-thee na Fay-leh val-in-theen
Literally, Blessings of St. Valentine

Word: Card
Irish: cárta

Word: Anonymously (without signature)
Irish: gan ainm ar bith or gan síne
gahn an-im err bih or gan sheen-eh

Word: Love
Irish: grá

Phrase: My love
Irish: A grá
ah ghraw

Word: Lover
Irish: Leannán

Word: Darling
Irish: a stór
ah sthohr

Phrase: Soul mate
Irish: Anam Cara
ah-nahm khara

Phrase: I love you
Irish: Tá cion agam ort
thaw kiuhn ag-gum urth

Phrase: My love to you
Irish: Mo grá thú
muh ghraw hoo

Word: Darling
Irish: a stór
ah sthohr

Phrase: Love of my heart
Irish: a stór mo chroí
ah sthohr muh khree

Word: Heart
Irish: croí

Word: Rose
Irish: rós

Phrase: My love/My dear
Irish: A ghrá
Pronunciation: Ah ghraw

Phrase: My sweetheart
Irish: Mo mhuirnín
Pronunciation: Muh voor-neen

Phrase: Kiss me
Irish: Póg mé
Pronunciation: Pogue may

Phrase: Hugs and kisses
Irish: Barróga agus póga
Pronunciation: Bahrogue-ah ah-guss pogue-ah

Phrase: I'd give you the blood of my heart
Irish: Thabharfainn fuil mo chroí duit
hohr-hinn fwill muh khree gwitch

Phrase: Will you marry me?
Irish: An bpósfaidh tú mé?
on bohs-ee thoo may?

Phrase: Yes, I will marry you
Irish: Cinnte (certainly), pósfaidh mé thú
kinn-tcheh, pohs-hee may hoo

Phrase: I think I'm in love
Irish: Ceapaim go bhfuilim i ngrá
kih-ahp-im guh will-im ih ngraw

Would you like to go out with me?
Irish: Ar mian leat siúl amach liom?
err veen lih-ath shool ah-mahkh lih-um?
(literally: would you like to walk out with me)

Phrase: I adore you
Irish: Ádhraím thú
aw-reem hoo

Phrase: She is (He is) the love of my life
Irish: Is grá mo shaol í (é).
iss graw muh heel ee (ay)

Connemara pickup line: I prefer you to a hundred milk cows!
Irish: B'fhearr liom thú nó céad bó bainne!
Pronunciation: Barr lum hoo no kaydh boh bahn-nyah

Phrase: I got four anonymous Valentine cards
Irish: Fuair mé ceithre chártaí Vailintín gan ainm ar bith orthu
foo-ir may keh-reh cawr-thee val-in-theen gahn an-im err bih ur-hoo

Phrase: He sent me a bouquet of a dozen red roses
Irish: Chuir sé crobhaing de dhosaen rósanna dearga chugam
khuir shay kruv-eng djeh gus-ayn rose-ahnah djahr-gah hug-ahm

Phrase: I love you
Irish: Tá cion agam ort
thaw kiuhn ag-gum urth

Image: First Kiss by Kim Anderson from All Posters

Lesson #6
Sending a card for a birthday or other occasion? These phrases will come in handy. According to Aideen, they are generally written rather than spoken; apparently Irish speakers are not this formal in everyday conversation. So use these when you want to write a special greeting.

Phrase: Happy Birthday
Irish: Lá Breithe Shona
Pronunciation: Law breh-heh huna

Phrase: Happy Anniversary
Irish: Comhgáirdeas bhur gceiliúradh
Pronuniation: koh-gawr-jeas wur gel-oor-ah*
* This is not specifically 'anniversary' but 'celebration' and could be used for many such occasions. In the singular it would be:
do cheiliúradh, pronounced dhuh chel-oor-ah

Phrase: Happy St. Patrick's Day
Irish:Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig
Pronunciation: Ban-ochth-thee na Fay-leh Paw-drig

Phrase: Good luck and best wishes
Irish: Sláinte agus Saol Agat (Agaibh*)
Pronunciation: Slaw-intche agus seel ah-guth (ah-geev*)
Literally means '(good) health and life to you' *plural

Phrase: Happy Easter
Irish: Beannachtaí na Cásca
Pronunciation: Ban-ochth-thee na caws-ca

Phrase: Merry Christmas
Irish: Nollaig Shona
Pronunciation: Null-ig huna

Phrase: Happy New Year
Irish: Athbhlian faoi mhaise
Pronunciation: Ah-vleen fwee wash-eh

According to Aideen, one of the easiest and nicest catch-all phrases, suitable for any occasion would be:

Irish: Sláinte agus saol agat* - Health (good implied) and life (long implied) to you
Prounciation: Slaw-in-che ah-gus seel ah-guth
*agaibh (plural) ah-giv

but with one 'amendment' - in the case of a new baby the blessing would be to the parents for the child and would be:
Irish: Sláinte agus saol ar bhur leanbh nua
Pronunciation: Slaw-in-che ah-gus seel er wur lan-iv noo-ah

Lesson #7 - Basic Irish: A selection of toasts
From the classic Slainte and how to pronounce it to a few other not so common ones and how to pronounce those, too, you're sure to impress family and friends at the next social event when you toast the gathering in the Irish!

Toast: May God not weaken your hand
Irish: Nár laga Dia do lámh
Pronunciation: Nar lah-ga Djee-ah dhu lawv

Toast: May we be alive at this same time again
Irish: Go mbeirimíd beo ar an am seo arís
Pronunciation: Guh mer-i-meedh bee-oh er an am shu areesh

Toast: May you live and may you wear it out
Irish: Go mairir is go gathair
Pronunciation: Guh mah-rir is guh gah-hir

Toast: Health and life to you
The woman of your choice for you
A child every year for you
And may you die in Ireland

Irish: Sláinte agus saol agat
Bean ar do mhian agat
Leanbh gach blian agat
Agus bás n Éireann

Pronunciation: Slaw-in-tche agus seel ah-guth
Ban er dhuh veen ah-guth
Lan-v goch bleen ah-guth
Agus baws in Ay-run

Toast: Health to the men and may the women live forever
Irish: Sláinte na bhfear agus go maire na mna go deo
Pronunciation: Slaw-in-tche na var agus guh mara na m-naw guh djeo

Toast: Health! (Could be to one or to a crowd)
Irish: Sláinte
Pronunciation: Slaw-in-tche

For More Irish words & phrases please click here: Irish Index

Image: Gaeilge Beo from All Posters and Prints.


Tue, Feb 7, 2017
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Here is a good follow-on to our words and phrases.
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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.
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Click for Oxford Pocket.

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(We want this, you may see a few on these pages - watch out).
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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.
See our Article A Bit of the Blather
Click here for Slanguage

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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.

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