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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 41: Weddings

Engaged to be married? Mother or father of the bride or groom? Invited to a wedding? Have fun with this lesson!
Click here for more about Wedding Customs & Traditions.

Phrase: We have three marriageable daughters
Irish: tá triúr iníon le cumhdach againn
thaw throor in-een leh koo-dhahkh ah-ginn

Phrase: Love and Marriage
Irish: Grá (or) Cion agus Pósadh
graw (kiuhn) ah-gus pos-sah

Word: Couple (as in love/marriage)
Irish: lánúin

Phrase: He asked for her hand in marriage (he proposed to her)
Irish: chuir sé ceiliúr pósadh uirthí
khuir shay kel-oor poh-sah ir-hee

Word: Engagement
Irish: gealltanas

Phrase: We are engaged (to be married)
Irish: tá muid dálta le chéile
thaw mwidge dhawl-thaj leh khay-leh

Phrase: Engagement Ring
Irish: fáinne gealltanais
fawn-yeh gi-ahll-thahn-ish

Phrase: They are marrying for love
Irish: Tá siad a' pósadh le teann grá
thaw sheedh ah' poh-sah le chan graw

Word: Marriage
Irish: pósadh

Word: Wedding
Irish: pósadh or bainis
poh-sah or bahn-ish
Note: The word 'pósadh' is generally used in relation to the actual wedding ceremony itself and 'banis' to other celebratory matters, in particular the wedding meal.

Phrase: Wedding day
Irish: lá pósta or bainise
law pohs-thah or bahn-ish-eh

Word: Bride
Irish: brídeach

Phrase: Wedding dress
Irish: gúna bainise
goo-nah bahn-ish-eh

Phrase: The flowers in the bouquet were from her own garden
Irish: is as a gháirdín féin a bhí na bláthanna sa chrobhaing
iss oss ah ghawr-djeen fayn ah vee nah blaw-nah sah khroh-vahng

Word: Bridesmaid
Irish: cailín coimhdeachta
coll-een kwev-djahkh-thah

Word: Bridegroom
Irish: fear nuaphósta
fahr noo-ah-fohs-thah

Phrase: Tuxedo/dinner jacket
Irish: seaicéad dinnéir
shak-aydh djinn-ay-ir

Phrase: Top hat and tails
Irish: hata árd agus culaith gléasta
hah-thah awrdh ah-gus cull-ah glays-thah

Phrase: Best Man
Irish: finné fir
finn-ay firr

Phrase: Bridal party (group)
Irish: lucht banise
lukth bahn-ish-eh

Phrase: The marriage ceremony will be in Irish
Irish: Beidh ord an phósta as Ghaeilge
bye urdh an fos-thah oss gwayil-geh

Phrase: A priest or minister or registrar or judge will marry the couple
Irish: beidh an lánúin a phósadh ag an tsagart or an ministéir or an gcláiraitheoir or an mbreitheamh
bye on law-noon ah foh-sah egg on thahg-ahrth or on min-ish-chair or on glaw-rih-hoh-ir or on mbreh-uv

Phrase: Wedding march
Irish: máirseáil bainise
mawr-shaw-il bahn-ish-eh

Phrase: Wedding ring
Irish: fáinne pósta
faw-in-yeh pohs-thah

Phrase: He gave his daughter in marriage to____
Irish: thug sé a iníon mar chéile do____
hug shay ah in-een mahr khay-leh dhuh____

Phrase: He gave her (to him) in marriage
Irish: thug sé mar chéile dó í
hug shay mahr khay-leg dhoh ee

Phrase: Who was his best man?
Irish: cé sheas leis?
kay hahs lesh?

Phrase: They signed the marriage certificate in the sacristy
Irish: shínigh siad an teastas pósta sa saicristí
hee-nee sheedh on tchahs-thahs pohs-thah sah sah-kris-thee

Phrase: The bride and bridegroom (newly-wed couple) are leaving the church
Irish: Tá an eaglais á fhágáil ag an lánúin nua
thaw on og-lish aw aw-ghaw-il egg on law-nooin noo-ah

Phrase: Wedding guest
Irish: aoi bainise
ee bahn-ish-eh

Phrase: Wedding gift
Irish: bronntnas pósta
brun-thahn-ahs pohs-thah

Phrase: Wedding feast
Irish: bainis

Phrase: Wedding party (celebration)
Irish: cóisir bhainise
koh-shir wahn-ish-eh

Phrase: Wedding cake
Irish: cáca or ciste banise
kaw-kah or kish-cheh bahn-ish-eh

Phrase: Let's drink a toast to the newly-wedded couple (literally 'drink the health')
Irish: Ólaimid sláinte an lanúin nua-phósta
ohl-ah-midj slawn-tcheh on law-noon noo-ah-fohs-thah

Word: Honeymoon
Irish: Mí na Meala
mee nah mahlah (literally, month of honey but used for any period)

Phrase: We will spend our honeymoon in Ireland
Irish: Beidh mí na meala á chaiteamh againn in Éireann
bye mee nah mahlah aw khath-iv ah-ginn in Ayr-run

Phrase: The honeymoon is being spent overseas
Irish: beidh mí na meala a chaitheamh thar lear
bye mee nah mahlah ah khah-thuv hahr lahr

Phrase: Don't forget to look at our wedding page
where you will find lots of information about Irish weddings and Bridget's book 'The Traditional Irish Wedding'.
Irish: Ná bain dearmaid breathnú ar ár leathnach bainise
áit a dtiocfaidh tú ar mórán eolais ar bhainise traidisiúnta na hÉireann agus leabhar Bridget 'The Traditional Irish Wedding'.
naw bwinn djahr-mwidj brah-noo err awr lah-nukh bahn-ish-eh
ah-gus li-ow-err Bridget 'The Traditional Irish Wedding'

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
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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
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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