Irish language

Time for everyone to have Good Relations with the Irish language

PARISH CHURCH: The surviving tower of the former parish church at Church Street in Ballymena, the town whose name comes from An Baile Meánach, the middle townland
Robert McMillen

GO mBEANNAÍ do Dhia daoibh uilig, hello Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, in fact to everyone of religion and to those of none, you’re all welcome to the Bluffer’s Guide to Irish.

It’s time to talk about caidrimh - relations today, as today sees the start of Good Relations Week or as we say in Irish, Seachtain an Dea-chaidrimh which is organised by An Comhairle um Chaidreamh Pobail - the Community Relations Council.

There are a couple of events which concentrate on Irish which are well worth a look.

Cad é atá ar siúl? - “What’s happening?” I hear you ask.

Well, on Wednesday, Dr Gordon McCoy will give a talk entitled Irish Place Names in Ballymena and Beyond which will examine the influence of the Irish language on local place names and their interpretations.

Logainm is a place name and there is a website called where you can find out the Irish for the place in which you live, anywhere in Ireland, whether it is a cathair - a city, baile - a town, sráidbhaile - a village or a baile fearainn - a townland. is also very good.

Gordon’s talk is on Wednesday between 12.30 - 1.30 in Ballymena Central Library.

(Spoiler alert: Ballymena comes from An Baile Meánach which means the middle townland.)

This evening between 7-9pm, the wonderful Turas organisation, based in the Skainos Centre on the Newtownards Road, is saying Fáilte go Gaeilge! - Welcome to Irish! 

The event is aiming at “promoting athmhuintearas - reconciliation through the shared experience of learning about the Irish language and its culture.”

Tá cuireadh ort - you are invited to “discover the Irish language and its influence on your everyday lives with guest speakers, music and more.”

Tomorrow, there is an Irish Language Taster Event between 7.30pm and 9pm in Larne Methodist Church.

Did you know that Latharna - Larne was named after Lathair, one of the 25 children of Úgaine Mór, a pre-Christian king of Ireland?

(Rí na hÉireann - the king of Ireland.)

Úgaine gave all his children land and Lathar was given the area in Ulster on the north-east coast.It is only in fairly recent times that the name has been used for an paróiste - the parish and town of Larne.

For more information, you can contact the Rev. Chris Skillen at

Líofa as we all know is the Irish for fluent and Ormeau Road Library is running a Líofa Irish Language Taster Session this Wednesday between 10.30am - 11.30am.

Booking is advised through Conor McKenna on 028 9050 9228.

Good Relations Week runs from today until Sunday with more than 180 events taking place across the north.

The initiative, which supports the Northern Ireland Executive’s Le Chéile: Ag Tógáil Pobail Aontaithe nó Together: Building a United

Community (T:BUC) strategy, sees government departments, community groups, local councils and many other organisers, host a wide range of events from exhibitions, talks, discussions, concerts, workshops and more.

So get along to one of the events, you’ll enjoy it.


caidrimh (cadgeriv) - relations 

Seachtain an Dea-chaidrimh (shakhtin un jaa-khadgeroo) - Good Relations Week 

An Comhairle um Chaidreamh Pobail (un khorlya um khadgeriv pubble) - the Community Relations Council

Cad é atá ar siúl? (cadge ay ataa er shooil) - “What’s happening?” 

logainm (luganyim) - a place-name

cathair (caher) - a city

baile (balla) - a town

sráidbhaile (srydgewalla) - a village

baile fearainn (balla farin) - a townland

An Baile Meánach (un balla maanakh) - Ballymena 

Fáilte go Gaeilge (faaltcha gaw gaylick) - Welcome to Irish

athmhuintearas (ah-wuntcheriss) - reconciliation 

Tá cuireadh ort (taa keroo ort) - you are invited 

Latharna (laherna) - Larne 

Rí na hÉireann (ree ne herin) - the king of Ireland

an paróiste (un paroyshtye) - the parish

líofa (leefa) - fluent

Le Chéile: Ag Tógáil Pobail Aontaithe (le cayla: eg togaal pubble aynteeha) - Together: Building a United Community

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