Irish language

Take the plunge into the wonderful world of Irish

Teenagers are Coláiste Lurgan enjoying the Indian festival of Holi in the Conamara Gaeltacht, a joyous mixture of Irish and Asian cultures.
Robert McMillen

GO mbeannaí Dia daoibh agus bhur gcéad fáilte isteach chuig The Bluffer's Guide to Irish, Bliain a 0.

Yes, the Bluffer is getting back to basics for all you apprentice Irish speakers out there. so 2016 can be the you finish off with saying “tá Gaeilge agam” - I can speak Irish!

Have you pictured yourself chatting up a bean tábhairne - a barmaid in a Gaeltacht pub? Singing Seas suas do na hUlataigh - Stand up for the Ulstermen at Ravenhill/Kingspan or joining in to a TG Lurgan video? Or help your child out if they are attending a local gaelscoil - Irish-medium school?

Or what about learning about your local place-names, from Cionn Mhálanna/Malin head, the northernmost part of Ireland, to Ceann Bró/Brow Head, the most southerly part of the mainland.

(If you must know, it's Dún Mór/Dunmore Head the most westerly and An Bior/Burr Point on the Ards Peninsula which is the most easterly point in Ireland.)

As the Bluffer pointed out in the first edition on 27 September 1999, there may be over 2000 years of history and culture wrapped up in the Irish language, but learning it begins with a single step.

Each week, we'll be teaching you something new, phrases which you can practice on your own or you can Grab-A-Gael to get some practice in.

The best thing by far of course is to find an Irish class near you and that shouldn't be too difficult.

The first thing you will need to know is how to say hello. Formally, that's Dia duit, literally God to you. If someone says it to you, you reply Dia's Muire duit - literally God and Mary to you.

Feel free to practice this on friends and family, the postman, the parrot, anyone who'll listen.

Or you can start a conversation with Well and then the person's name as in Well, Jasper, cad é mar atá tú? - how are you?

This is normally followed with tá mé go maith - I'm fine or Tá mé go measartha - not too Craigavad or even tá mé go holc - I'm awful.

Other ways you could describe yourself is tuirseach - tired, tinn - sick or dúdóite - fed up.

Which one are you?

Once you've struck up a conversation, you can introduce whoever you're with by saying seo ... - this is...

So you could say Seo Seán - this is Seán or Seo Linda - this is Linda. Or you can elaborate, seo í mo bhean chéile - this is my wife, mo mháthair - my mother, mo dheirfiúr - my sister. For men, it's seo é m'fhear céile - this is my husband, m'athair - my father or mo dheartháir - my brother.

Notice that it is seo í for women and seo é for men.

To say who you are, you would say Is mise ... and then your name.

So now you have your feet in the door. You can say hello, introduce yourself and others who are with you. You are now well on your way to becoming part of the weird and wonderful world of speaking Irish.

Fáilte romhat isteach, a chara!


tá Gaeilge agam (taa gaylic ugum) - I can speak Irish

bean tábhairne (ban tavernya) - a barmaid

gaelscoil (gaylskull) - an Irish-medium school

Dia duit (jeea ditch)- hello

Dia's Muire duit (jeeas mwirra ditch) - hello (reply)

cad é mar atá tú? (cadge ay mar atta too) - how are you?

tá mé go maith (taa may gaw my) - I'm fine

Tá mé go measartha (taa may gaw masserha) - I'm fair

tá mé go holc (taa may gaw holc) - I'm awful

tuirseach (tirsakh)- tired

tinn (chin) - sick

dúdóite (dudoytcha) - fed up

Seo Seán (shaw shaan) - this is Seán

Seo Linda (shaw linda) - this is Linda

seo í mo bhean chéile (shaw ee maw vaan cayla) - this is my wife

mo mháthair (maw waher) - my mother mo dheirfiúr (maw yerafoor) - my sister

seo é m'fhear céile (shaw ay m'ar cayla) - this is my husband m'athair (maher) - my father

mo dheartháir (maw yaraher) - my brother

Is mise ... (is misha) - I am ...

Irish language

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