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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 #32 Mothering Sunday

According to our native speaker, Aideen, a special day for mothers has become just as commercialized in Ireland as it has in other countries - whether you celebrate it in Ireland on the third Sunday before Easter, or elsewhere on the second Sunday in May. It's also a relatively new holiday, and while the history books do show that mothers were honored in special ways at a certain time of year, the concept of saying "Happy Mother's Day" is a contemporary custom. For that reason, Aideen cautions us that the following Mother's Day phrases have been translated into literal Irish; they aren't in common usage among native Irish speakers. So, while this isn't exactly an "authentic" Irish lesson, the value lies more in seeing how Irish words and phrases are put together and in learning how they are pronounced.

Phrase: Mother's Day (written)
Irish: Lá Fhéile an Mháthair
law ay-leh on waw-hirr

Phrase: Mother's Day (spoken)
Irish: Lá an Mháthair
law on waw-hirr

Phrase: Mothering Sunday
Irish: Domhnach Féile na Máthar
dhoh-nokh fay-leh nah maw-hahr

Word: Mother
Irish: máthair

Phrase: Mother-in-law
Irish: máthair chéile
maw-hirr khay-leh

Word: Gift
Irish: bronntanas

Word: Card
Irish: cárta

Phrase: Bouquet of flowers
Irish: dornán bláthanna
dhur-nawn blaw-ahnn-ah

Phrase: Bottle of Perfume
Irish: buidéal cumhráin
bwid-yayl koo-raw-in

Phrase: Box of Chocolates
Irish: bosca seacláidí
bus-kah shock-law-idj-ee

Phrase: Thank you
Irish: tá fáilte romhat
Pronunciation: thaw fawl-cheh roh-th

Phrase: Dearest Mum
Irish: A Mham/Mhamaí dhíl
ah wahm/wahmee yeel

Phrase: Happy Mother's Day
Irish: Lá an Mháthair faoi shona dhuit
law ay-leh on waw-hirr fwee hun-ah gwitch

Phrase: The whole family will go out for lunch on Mother's Day
Irish: rachaidh an chlann uilig amach le h-aghaidh lóin ar Lá an Mháthair
rah-khee on khlah-nn ill-ig ah-mahkh leh heye loh-in err law on waw-hirr

Phrase: I gave my mother a gift of..........
Irish: bhronn mé mo mháthair
vrun may.......err muh wah-hirr

Phrase: He gave me a gift of.........
Irish: thug sé bronntanas de........dom
hug shay brun-thahn-ahs djeh........dhum

Phrase: We're giving our mother breakfast in bed on Mothering Sunday
Irish: beidh muid ag freastal bricfeasta sa leaba dom mháthair ar Lá an Mháthair
bye mwidj egg frah-sthahl brick-fahsthah sah liabah dhum waw-hirr err law on waw-hirr

Phrase: I got cards from all the children and grandchildren
Irish: fuair mé cártaí ó na páistí agus na garchlainne go léir
foo-irr may cawr-thee oh nah paw-ish-chee ah-gus nah gahr-khlinn-eh guh lay-ir

Lesson #33 Lent & Easter
This lesson features words and phrases related to giving up favorite foods like chocolate for Lent. Is
Easter imminent? Our lesson covers appropriate words and phrases from Palm Sunday to Easter Monday.

Word: Lent
Irish: Carghas

Word: Fasting
Irish: troscadh

Phrase: Good Friday (literally Crucifixion Friday)
Irish: Aoine an Chéasta
een-neh on khay-sthah

Phrase: Holy Saturday (Easter Saturday)
Irish: Satharn Chásca
sah-hahrn khaw-skah

Word: Fish
Irish: Iasc (singular) Éisc (plural)
ee-usk (singular) ayshg (plural)

Irish: The priest will celebrate Mass in Irish
Irish: Beidh Aifreann as Ghaeilge á cheiliúradh ag an tsagart
bye ah-frunn oss gway-il-geh aw khell-oor-ah egg an thog-ahrth

Phrase: What did you give (are you giving) up for Lent?
Irish: Cad as a bhfuil tú ag staonadh le haghaidh an charghais?
kodh oss a my thoo egg sthay-nah leh high an khahr-ish?

Phrase: I gave (have given) up _____ for Lent (insert word from list below)
Irish: Táim ag staonadh ó____le haghaidh an charghais
thaw-im egg sthay-nah oh____leh high an khahr-ish

Word: Sweets
Irish: milseáin

Word: Beer
Irish: beoir

Word: Sugar
Irish: siúcra

Word: Chocolate
Irish: seacláid

Word: Smoking
Irish: caitheamh tabac
kah-iv thuh-bahk

Phrase: We will be taking part in (doing) the Stations of the Cross
Irish: Beidh Turas (literally 'journey') na Croise a dhéanamh againn
bye thur-ahs nah krush-eh aw yay-nev ah-ginn

Word: Easter
Irish: An Cháisc
On Khaw-ishk

Phrase: Easter Sunday
Irish: Domhnach Cásca
dhoh-nukh caw-skah

Phrase: Holy Thursday
Déardaoin Cásca
djayr-dheen caw-skah

Phrase: Maundy Thursday
Irish: Déardaoin Mandála
djayr-dheen mahn-dhawla

Phrase: Good Friday
Irish: Aoine Cásca
ee-neh caw-skah

Phrase: Easter Saturday
Irish: Satharn Cásca
sah-hahrn caw-skah

Phrase: Easter Monday
Irish: Luan Cásca
loo-un caw-skah

Phrase: Palm Sunday
Irish: Domhnach na Pailme
dhoh-nukh nah pah-il-meh

Phrase: Easter egg
Irish: cúbóg or clúdóg
koo-bohg or kloo-dhohg

Phrase: Chocolate eggs
Irish: uibheacha seacláide
iv-ekh-ah shockh-lawi-dj-eh
Word: Lamb
Irish: uaineoil

Word: Chicken
Irish: sicín

Word: Ham
Irish: ioscaid

Word: Rabbit/Bunny
Irish: coinín

Word: Lily
Irish: lile

Phrase: Easter Bonnet
Irish: boinéad na Cásca
bwinn-aydh na caw-skah

Phrase: Stations of the Cross
Irish: Turas na Croise
thruss nah kresh-eh

Phrase: Paschal Candle
Irish: Coinnle na Cásca
kwenn-leh nah caw-skah

Phrase: May the blessings of Easter be on you
Irish: Beannachtaí Ná Cásca ort (singular) or oraibh (plural)
Bann-akh-thee nah caw-skah urth (singular) or ur-iv (plural)

Phrase: We will be having roast lamb for Easter Sunday lunch
Irish: beidh uaineoil rósta againn le h-aghaidh lón Dhomhnach Cásca
bye oo-in-oh-il rohsthah ah-ginn leh heye lohn goh-nukh caw-skah

Phrase: The altar will be decorated with lilies for Easter
Irish: beidh an altóir maisithe le lilí le le h-aghaidh na Cásca
bye on awl-thoh-ir mahsh-ih-heh leh heye na caw-ska

Phrase: Have you got the paint and brushes to colour the Easter eggs?
Irish: bhfuil an péint agus na scuaib agat leis na chúbóíg (or chlúdóig) a dhathú?
will on pay-inth ah-gus nah skoo-ib ah-guth lesh nah khoo-boh-ig (or khloo-dhoh-ig) a gah-hoo

Phrase: I'm glad the fasting days are now finished
Irish: tá athas orm go bhfuil na laetheanna troshcaidh thart
thaw aw-hahs urm guh will nah lay-hanna thrus-kah hahr-th

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

Image: Gaeilge Beo from
All Posters and Prints.


Thu, Jul 9, 2015
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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.

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We would need both (and some other help) if found wandering in a Gaeltacht late at night.
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