Irish language

Telling people where you live

Whether you live in a thatched cottage in the middle of nowhere or in a high-rise apartment in a sprawling metropolis, you’ll need to be able to tell people where you live
Robert McMillen

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

I think we are getting on famously and you might have got to use some of what we have learned already yesterday on Lá na Féile Vailintín - St Patrick's Day!

Let's move on to asking people where they are from.

Cá as tú? is the question you need to ask and the answer you get will start with Is as ,,,,

So cá as thú? - where are you from? Is as Béal Feirste mé - I am from Belfast.

Cá as é? - Where is he from? Is as Doire é - he is from Derry? Cá as í? Where is she from? Is as an Pholainn í - She is from Poland.

So learn off the name of the town or city or country you live in, put is as before it and you can tell people where you are from.

Of course, not everybody lives in the place where they were born. To ask someone where they live, you ask cá bhfuil tú i do chónaí? To say where you live you would say tá mé i mo chónaí i ...

So, tá mé i mo chónaí i mBeannchar - I live in Bangor.

Now, some of you will notice that there is an extra letter at the beginning of the place-name and this happens after the word i - in.

Ok, I'll tell you what letters to add.

Add m to b, g to c, n to d, bh to f, n to g, d to t. So i gCorcaigh - in Cork; i bhFear Manach - in Fermanagh etc.

If a name begins with a vowel - a, e, i, o, u - then the i changes to in.

Tá Pól ina chónaí in Albain - Paul is living in Scotland or Tá sé ina chónaí in Éirinn - he is living in Ireland.

Find out the name of where you live in Irish and see if you can work out how you would say you live in that place. Or ask someone else where they are from and see if you can add the correct letter to the beginning. It might not be as much fun as Twister but you can't learn Irish contorting yourself on a floor.

Of course, you might not want to tell people where you are living and leave things a bit more general?

For instance, if you are a culchie and proud of it, you would say “tá mé i mo chónaí faoin tuath” - I live in the country.

You might know the name of the townland in which you live and despite the coming of postcodes, people are still very attached to their local townland names which of course are of Gaelic origin and go back to before the Norman invasion.

A few come from the Normans, plantation divisions or were made up by the Ordnance Survey.

After intensive research, - okay, I looked up wikipedia - the total number of inhabited townlands in 1911 was 60,679 The total number recognised by the Irish Place Names database is 61,098, including uninhabited townlands, mainly small islands, as of 2014.

If you live in a completely different environment as a high-powered tech entrepreneur maybe, you would say tá mé i mo chónaí i lár na cathrach - I live in the city centre.

Lá na Féile Vailintín (laa ne fayla valencheen) - St Patrick's Day

cá as thú? (caa ass too) - where are you from?

Is as Béal Feirste mé (iss ass bayl farshta may) - I am from Belfast

Cá as é? (caa ass ay) - Where is he from?

Is as Doire é (iss ass dirra ay) - he is from Derry

Cá as í? (caa ass ee) - Where is she from?

Is as an Pholainn í (iss ass un foelin ee) - She is from Poland.

cá bhfuil tú i do chónaí? (caa wil too i daw khoenee) - where do you live

tá mé i mo chónaí i mBeannchar (taa may i maw khoenee i manakher) - I live in Bangor.

i gCorcaigh (i gorkee) - in Cork

i bhFear Manach (i vaar manakh) - in Fermanagh

Tá Pól ina chónaí in Albain (taa paul ina khoenee in alabin) - Paul is living in Scotland

Tá sé ina chónaí in Éirinn (taa shay ina khoenee in yerin) - he is living in Ireland

tá mé i mo chónaí faoin tuath - (taa may i maw khoenee fween tua) - I live in the country

i lar na cathrach (i laar ne cahrakh) - I in the city centre

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