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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 34 - Eating Out - words and phrases for food and drinks away from home.
With tourist season now well on its way, we thought it would be fun to explore how one might say typical expressions related to dining out in Irish. If you're planning a trip, don't worry about actually having to use the following. The chances are excellent that if you tried, you just might get a very strange look from your server! Given the number of young people who go to work in Ireland during the 'high season', that cute red-headed waitress with the freckles just might be from Brussels! As with many of our basic lessons, our purpose for including this one is so you can get a feeling for the cadence and rhythm of the language. One exception: learning the phrase, "I'll buy this round" could be very useful and make you very popular in a Gaeltacht pub!

Phrase: Food and Drinks - Out (away from home)
Irish: Bia agus Dí - as baile
bee-ah ah-gus djee - oss bah-lieh

Word: Restaurant
Irish: proinnteach

Word: Cafe
Irish: caifé

Word: Hotel
Irish: óstán

Word: Menu
Irish: biachlár

Word: Table
Irish: bord

Phrase: Reserve/book
Irish: cur in áirithe
kurr inn aw-rih-heh

Word: Bar
Irish: tábhairne

Word: Restaurant-car
Irish: cárbad

Phrase: Bottle of wine
Irish: buidéal fíona
bwih-djayl fee-nah

Phrase: Vegetarian food
Irish: bia feoilséantach
bee-ah fee-oh-il-shayn-thukh

Word: Sandwich/sandwiches
Irish: ceapaire/ceapairí

Word: Chips (French fries)
Irish: sceallóga

Phrase: Soft drinks
Irish: deocha glasa
djeukh-ah glah-sah

Phrase: I'd like to reserve a table for four for 8 o'clock, please
Irish: ba mhaith liom bord do cheathrair a chur in áirithe le h-aghaidh a hocht a chlog, led' thoil
bah whye lih-um burdh dhuh khah-rir ah khur inn aw-rih-heh leh heye a hukhth ah khlug, ledh hell

Phrase: We would like to see the menu and wine list
Irish: ba mhaith linn breathnú ar an mbiaclár agus liosta fhíona
bah whye linn brah-noo err on mee-ah-khlawr agus lis-thah feen-ah ledh hell

Phrase: Do you have a children's menu?
Irish: bhfuil biachlár do pháistí agaibh?
will bee-ah-khlawr dhuh faw-ish-thee ah-giv?

Phrase: Is there a restaurant-car on this train?
Irish: bhfuil cárbad ar an dtreain seo?
will cawr-bahdh err on dtrayn sheuh?

Phrase: I'll buy this round of drinks
Irish: ceannóidh mé na deochanna seo don chuideachta
kyann-oh-ee may nah djeukh-ah-nah sheuh dhun khwidj-okh-thah

Phrase: Is any food served in that bar?
Irish: bhfuil greim le n-ithe ar thairiscint san tábhairne sin?
will grime leh nih-eh sahn thawrn-yeh shin?

Phrase: Do you take credit cards?
Irish: an nglacann sibh cártaí chreidimh?
on nglahk-unn shiv cawr-thee krehdj-iv?

Phrase: Please give me the bill (check)
Irish: Tabhair dom an cuntas led' thoil
thrum on cun-thahs ledh hell

Lesson 35 - May & The Month of Mary.
Our lesson this time features words and phrases related to the festival of Bealtaine (which is the word for May in Irish) and the Month of Mary. Even though modern-day Ireland isn't as religious as it was in the old days, you will still see lovely grottos in honour of Our Lady throughout the country; also, many families still say the Rosary together every evening and May is traditionally the month when Roman Catholic children make their First Holy Communion.

Word: May
Irish: Bealtaine

Phrase: May 1st (May Day)
Irish: Lá na Bealtaine
law nah bial-theh-neh

Word: Summer
Irish: Samhradh
sow (as in cow)-rah

Phrase: Bealtaine Bonfire
Irish: tine chnámh Bealtaine
chin-eh khnawv bial-theh-neh

Phrase: Nettle Soup
Irish: Anraith Neantóga
on-rih nian-thohg-ah

Word: Good People/Fairies
Irish: Síoga

Phrase: First Holy Communion
Irish: Céad Chomaoineach Naofa
kaydh khum-een-ukh knee-fah

Phrase: Communion Breakfast
Irish: Bricfeasta an Chomaoineach
brick-fahstah on khum-een-ukh

Phrase: Our Lady or The Virgin Mary
Irish: Muire or An Mhaighdean Muire
wirr-eh or on wye-djen wirr-eh

Phrase: Queen of the May/May Queen
Irish: Banríon na Bealtaine
bahn-reen nah bial-theh-neh

Phrase: May Altar
Irish: Áltóir na Bealtaine
awl-thoh-ir nah bial-theh-neh

Word: Flowers
Irish: bláthanna

Phrase: May Blossom
Irish: Bláth na sceiche gile
blaw nah shkeh-kheh gill-eh

Word: Grotto
Irish: uaimh mhaisithe
oo-iv wash-ih-heh

Phrase: I am making (literally 'celebrating') my First Holy Communion this Sunday
Irish: Beidh an Chéad Chomaoineach Naofa á cheiliuradh agam Dé Domhnaigh seo chugainn
bye on khaydh khum-een-ukh knee-fah aw khell-oo-ah ah-gum djay dhoh-nee shuh hug-inn

Phrase: Congratulations on your First Holy Communion
Irish: Comhgáirdeas ar do Chéad Chomaoineach Naofa
koh-gawr-djahs err dhuh khaydh khum-een-ukh knee-fah

Phrase: I'm looking forward to the First Communion Breakfast
Irish: Táim a' súil len bhricfeasta Chéad Chomaoineach
thaw-im eh soo-il len vrick-fahs-thah on khaydh khum-een-ukh

Phrase: We'll be visiting all of the relatives on Communion Sunday
Irish: Tabhairimid cuairt (or rachaimid thart) ar na ghaoil uilig Domhnach an Chomaoineach
thuhr-ih-midj coo-irtch (or rokh-ih-midh hahrth) err nah gweel ill-ig dhoh-nock an khum-een-ukh

Phrase: May Bonfires were lit in Ireland hundreds of years ago
Irish: bhéadh Tinte Chnáimh Bealtaine á lasadh in Éirinn na céadta bhliain ó shoin
vay-ukh chin-theh khnawv bial-theh-neh aw loss-ah inn ayr-inn nah kaydh-thah vleen oh hin

Phrase: Don't cast a clout 'till May is out
Irish: Ná cas na ceirte roimh dheireadh na Bealtaine
naw cos nah kerr-tcheh rev yerr-ah nah bial-theh-neh

Phrase: We have gathered the most beautiful flowers for the May Altar
Irish: Tá bláthanna chomh-haoibhinn sinn balaithe agaainn d'Áltóir na Bealtaine
thaw blaw-nah khoh heeve-inn shin bahl-ih-heh ah-ginn dhawl-thoh-ir nah bial-theh-neh


English: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee,
Irish: Sé do bheatha a Mhuire, atá lán de ghrásta, tá an Tiarna leat,
Shay dhuh vah-hah ah wirr-eh, ah-thaw lawn dheh graw sthah, thaw on cheer-nah liath

English: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Irish: Is beannaithe thú idir mná agus is beannaithe toradh do bhruinne lasa.
Iss ban-ih-heh who idjr nah mnaw ah-gus iss ban-ih-heh thur-ah dhuh vrinn-eh lah-sah.

English: Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Irish: A Naomh Mhuire, a Mháthair Dé, guí orainn na peacaithe, anois is ar uair ár mbáis. Amen.
Ah neeve wirr-eh, ah waw-hir djay. gwee ur-inn nah pahk-ih-heh ah-nish ah-gus err oo-ir awr maw-ish. Amen.

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


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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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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