Irish language

The Bluffer loves Christmas and wishes a Nollaig shona to you all

THE GENERATION GAME: From grannies and grandas to toddlers and teenagers, Christmas can be a time when the extended family can come together to bond over meal and a bevvie and a chat about the past and the future   
Robert McMillen

HAPPY DECEMBER 23 to yez all and welcome to a festive Bluffer’s Guide to Irish.

The Bluffer always looks forward to Christmas and this year is no exception.

There will be no yielding to the naysayers who are always complaining about chomh luath is a thosaíonn sé - how early it begins, chomh costasach is atá sé - how expensive it is; na coimhlintí teaghlaigh - the family feuds that sometimes arise at this time of year and an bharraíocht - the excess so you can keep your “bah humbug” to yourselves.

Yes, yes, it’s a cliché that Christmas ain’t what it used to be and it’s true but there are signs that people are wising up to the commercial monstrosity that the festive season has become and getting back to basics.

If you pare down na bronntanais mhórluachacha, - the expensive presents, corn na flúirse - the cornucopia of food and drinks and all the other symbols of generosity to a sensible level, then there’s no reason why Christmas stress can be kept to a minimum.

Tá mé faoi strus - I am stressed is a phrase you’ll hear from men who wouldn’t know a pair of straighteners from a hairdryer or a woman who doesn’t now what the latest Man U top is like.

The Bluffer’s household for the first time is employing a chap called Santa rúnda - secret Santa to curtail the insane obligated spending that occurs at this time of year.

Democracy rules, ok!

Tomorrow night is Oíche Nollag - Christmas Eve and a time of excited nervousness as children all over the world await the arrival of Daidí na Nollag - Daddy Christmas as he slides gracefully anuas an simléar - down the chimney.

(You can learn the words of Jingle Bells in Irish at

Then the big event comes, Lá Nollag - Christmas Day and some people go to religious ceremonies – yes, they still do that! – while others go out for a siúlóid - a walk before tackling the Christmas dinner.

But the day is mostly about the children as they open their presents and their little eyes lighten up at the sight of Resident Evil 2 or the shiny new pellet gun you promised little Jimmy.

Then, once you extract child one from the games console and child two from his sniper position, it will be time for the traditional big family dinner – turcaí agus gach a dtéann leis - turkey with all the trimmings and a chance to catch up with news about friends and family, especially those who might have passed away during the year.

It can also be a time for people to go siar bóithrín na smaointe - down memory lane.

With the warm glow of nostalgia (or is it the Bailey’s) and shared experiences, families can come closer together at this time of year like at no other time.

The following day, Lá Fhéile Stiofáin - St Stephen’s Day – or Boxing Day if you prefer – is a time for visiting friends and relations.

Of course as well as friends and family, the Bluffer has legions of loyal fans and so to each and every one of you, it’s Nollaig Shona - Merry Christmas.


chomh luath is a thosaíonn sé (kho looa iss a husseean shay) - how early it begins

chomh costasach is atá sé (kho costasakh iss ataa shay) - how expensive it is

na coimhlintí teaghlaigh (na kivlintche chaowlee) - the family conflicts 

an bharraíocht (un wareeakht) - excess 

na bronntanais mhórluachacha (na bruntanish wore-looakhakha) - the expensive presents

corn na flúirse (corn na floorsha) - the cornucopia

tá mé faoi strus (taa may fwee struss) - I am stressed excess

Santa rúnda (santa roonda) - secret Santa

Oíche Nollag (eeha nullug) - Christmas Eve

Daidí na Nollag (dadgee na nullug) - Daddy Christmas

anuas an simléar (anuass un shimalayr) - down the chimney

Lá Nollag (laa nullug) - Christmas Day 

siúloid (shooaloydge) - a walk 

turcaí agus gach a dtéann leis (turkee agis gakh a jayan lesh) - turkey with all the trimmings

siar bóithrín na smaointe (sheer boyhreen na smweentcha) - down memory lane

Lá Fhéile Stiofáin (laa ela shtifaan) - St Stephen’s Day

Nollaig Shona (nuleeg hunna) - Merry Christmas

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Irish language