Irish language

The Bluffer takes you on a first date to the bunrang of romance

PREGNANT PAUSE: Things can go awry when you discover the girls of your dreams hasn’t read any of Máire’s books or that the Ardrang hunk doesn’t know when to use the past habitual instead of the ordinary past tense 
Robert McMillen

GO mbeannaí Dia daoibh, hello young lovers, wherever you are and welcome to the Bluffer’s Guide to Irish.

Okay, just say you meet someone really nice at an dianchúrsa - the crash course or the bunrang - beginner’s class and you want to get to know them better.

You could suggest going out on a coinne - a date so you can practice your irregular verbs together.

Now, coinne also means an appointment like when you go to the fiaclóir - dentist or with your bainisteoir baince - bank manager.

So it’s best to say it’s a coinne rómánsúil - a romantic appointment, a tryst if you will.

But where is the best place to take a date?

In the words of the great philosopher cum matchmaker, Mungo Jerry: 

“If her daddy’s rich take her out for a meal, If her daddy’s poor just do what you feel.”

Do you remember your first dates, dear readers?

Normally, it would have involved a trip to the  pictiúrlann - the cinema and a béile - a meal and/or deochanna - drinks afterwards.

So, ar mhaith leat dul go dtí an phictiúrlann liom? - Would you like to go to the flicks with me? is what you would say after you have worked up the courage.

Then you will have to decide what kind of film  to take your date to. He might like scannáin aicsin - action movies and she might prefer a scannán grinn rómánsúil - a rom-com (or vice versa) but there are plenty of romantic comedies with car chases, gore, explosions and mass murder to keep everyone happy.

The meal is another minefield. For instance, younger people will know that a “cheeky Nando’s” is a thing.

The skill is in choosing the right sauce. No-one will respect you if you choose lemon and herb. Go for at least a medium. Choose one that is too strong and you will start to sweat and your nose will start running. This is not a good look on a first date. 

But all that is a bit of a cliché. People are very different and so you need to know what they are like before you take the plunge.

A perfect date for some might be a ziplíne - a zipline over Carlingford or a sesh in Madden’s or a dander along Ballycastle Beach.

Or you could just ask ar mhaith leat dul fá choinne cupán caifé? - do you fancy going for a cup of coffee?

Now asking someone out for a coffee is not a proposal of marriage, so don’t panic if you are doing the asking for the on being asked. 

Make sure they know that your intentions are honourable although making advances in Caffe Nero or Starbucks might be difficult and might also annoy the sensibilities of your socialist/anarchist/syndicalist date.

Don’t try to be ardnósach - swanky. Don’t suggest the Merchant hotel - especially if you can’t afford it.

Níl sé ar m’acmhainn - I can’t afford it and you don’t want to seem like Hillary Hamilton from Holywood and your date might want something less ostentatious.

Make sure there is lots of time where you can chat so a punk rock gig is not a good idea; karaoke is a bad idea unless you can sing like Boyoncé; and famously, Belfast men can’t dance. (It might be different in Derry and elsewhere.)

So good luck on your first date and every date after that. 


an dianchúrsa (un jeeankhoorsa) - the crash course

bunrang (bunraang) - beginner’s class

coinne (cunya) - a date 

fiaclóir (feeaklore) - dentist

bainisteoir baince (bainishtyore banka) - bank manager

coinne rómánsúil (cunya romaansool) - a romantic appointmen

pictiúrlann (pictoorlaan) - a cinema

béile (bayla) - a meal

deochanna (jawkhana) - drinks afterwards

ar mhaith leat dul go dtí an phictiúrlann liom? (er why lat dul gaw’gee un fictoorlaan lum) - Would you like to go to the flicks with me? 

scannáin aicsin (scanaan akshin) - action movies

scannán grinn rómánsúil (scanaan grin romansool) - a rom-com

ziplíne (zipleena) - a zipline 

ar mhaith laet dul fá choinne cupán caifé? (er why lat dul fa khunya cupaan caafay) - do you fancy going for a cup of coffee?

ardnósach (ardnosakh) - swanky

Níl sé ar m’acmhainn (neel shay er macwin) - I can’t afford it

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