Frequently Asked Questions on soc.culture.irish with answers. Send corrections, suggestions, additions, and other feedback to The FAQ maintainer.
Irish is a language related to Scots Gaelic, Breton and Welsh amongst others. All belong the Celtic family, which is part of the Indo-European group of languages. (Irish is part of the "Q-Celtic" group of languages, with Scots Gaelic and Manx. Welsh, Cornish and Breton belong to the "P-Celtic" branch.)
Here are a few samples to whet your appetite. Note that even greetings vary between the dialects.
Dia duit (Lit. God to you)
Dia is Muire duit (Lit. God and Mary to you)
Go mbeannaí Dia duit May God bless you
Go mbeannaí Dia is Muire duit May God and Mary bless you
Bail ó Dhia ort The blessing of God on you
Bail ó Dhia is Muire duit The blessing of God and Mary on you
Go raibh maith agat Thanks (Lit. May there be good at you)
Go dtaga do ríocht May thy kingdom come
Nár laga Dia do lámh May God not weaken your hand
Gura slán an scéalaí May the bearer of the news be safe
Gurab amhlaidh duit The same to you
Tá fáilte romhat You are welcome
Cad é (Goidé) mar tá tú? How are you? (Tír Chonaill)
Cén chaoi 'bhfuil tú? How are you (Connacht)
Conas atá tu? How are you? (Mumhan)
Tá mé go maith I'm doing well
An bhfuil aon rud úr ag dul? What's new?
Aon scéal 'ad? What's new? (Connacht)
Slán leat Good Bye (said to one going)
Slán agat Good Bye (said to one remaining)
Sláinte chugat Good health to you
Gabhaim pardún agat I beg your pardon
Gabh mo leithscéal Pardon me (Lit. Accept my excuse)
Más é do thoil é If you please
Le do thoil Please
Breithlá shona duit Happy birthday to you
Saol fada chugat Long life to you
For the following greetings Gorab amhlaidh duit is a common answer:
Oíche mhaith duit Good night
Codladh sámh duit A pleasant sleep
Nollaig shona duit Happy Christmas
Nollaig faoi shéan is faoi A prosperous and pleasant
mhaise duit Christmas
Athbhliain faoi mhaise duit A prosperous New Year
Terms of Endearment
my dear darling/love/treasure
a ghrá mo chroí
love of my heart!
Ta grá agam duit.
I love you.
Imeacht gan teacht ort
May you leave without returning
Titim gan éirí ort
May you fall without rising
Fán fada ort
Long travels to you
Go n-ithe an cat thú is go n-ithe an diabhal an cat
May the cat eat you, and may the cat be eaten by the devil
NOTE: Additional information is available in the file RPAYNE1 TYIG via the LISTSERV@LISTSERV.HEA.IE with command GET RPAYNE1 TYIG Údar : Mícheál Ó Siadhail Teideal : LEARNING IRISH Foilsitheoir : Yale University Press -New Haven and London ISBN : 0-300-04224-8 For the accompanying tape set (four cassettes); Teideal : LEARNING IRISH CASSETTES ISBN : 0-300-04340-6 NOTE: Irish lessons to be used with above texts are available in the file IGSTENS1 TYIG via the LISTSERV@LISTSERV.HEA.IE with the command GET IGSTENS1 TYIG
As a learner, you might consider a set of cassettes and booklet titled BUNTÚS CAINTE. They come in three levels. This is convenient as you don't have to purchase all three at once. It is recommended that you use BUNTÚS CAINTE for pronunciation in combination with PROGRESS IN IRISH.
Údar : T. Ó Domhnallain
Teideal : BUNTÚS CAINTE Vol.(1, 2, or 3) Book and Cassettes
ISBN : X50153, X50154, X50155
Údar : Máiréad Ní Ghráda
Teideal : PROGRESS IN IRISH
ISBN : X71212
Conradh na Gaelige (The Gaelic League) welcomes all who are interested in learning/preserving Irish. They can be contacted at the following addresses.
12 Sillogue Rd.
6 Sráid Fhearchair
Phone: +353-1-475-7401, [book shop +353-1-478-3814]
P. O. Box 97742
Pittsburgh, PA 15227-0142
There's a list of Irish courses in other countries at
Neil McEwan has written some lessons that may be a useful start. These have been archived by Gerard Cunningham at
You can find more Irish related links at
Note: Additional information is available in the file IGSGUSA CLAS via the LISTSERV@LISTSERV.HEA.IE with the command GET IGSGUSA CLAS
Information concerning courses in spoken Irish (for adult learners) is available from the contact numbers given below. If you are thinking of visiting Ireland this summer, you might consider building into your holiday plans one of these short, intensive courses in Irish Gaelic.
Here are three snail mail addresses to write to for info on those summer courses for different dialects of Gaelic:
(a) Gaeilge Chúige Uladh: if you wish to learn Ulster Irish.
Gleann Cholm Cille,
Contae Thír Chonaill,
Fón: +353-1-213566 or +353-73-3005
(b) Gaeilge Chúige Chonnacht: if you wish to learn Connacht Irish.
Áras Mháirtín Uí Chadhain,
An Cheathrú Rua,
Contae na Gaillimhe,
(c) Gaeilge Chúige Mumhan: if you wish to learn Munster Irish.
Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne,
Baile an Fheirtéaraigh,
Here is a list of audio tapes (excluding music) available from...
Book Distribution Center
31 Fenian Street
Prices are in Irish pounds but do not include postage (which can be considerable for air mail orders). If you wish to order any of this material you should first write, phone (Dublin 616522), or fax (Dublin 616564), for a price that includes surface or air postage.
Note: In Ireland VAT (value added tax) does not apply to books, but does apply to tapes. However if you live outside the EU (European Union) you are exempt from VAT.
Am Scéalaíochta I
Stories for young children:
Sicín Licín; Na Trí Bhéar
Book and Tape £3.99
Am Scéalaíochta II
Stories for young children:
Na Trí Mhuc Bheaga
An Circín Beag Rua
Book and Tape £3.99
Foclóir Póca - Caiséad
Phonetic Tape prepared to accompany Foclóir Póca, an
English-Irish/Irish-English dictionary of the synthetic Standard
Irish dialect £4.00
Íosagán & Scéalta Eile.
Collection of short stories by Pádraig Pearse. £4.87 + vat
These stories are also available in print as "Short Stories of
Pádraig Pearse" which can be obtained for £4.95
Uair An Chloig Cois Teallaigh - AN HOUR BY THE HEARTH
Dual Language Book and Tape compendium of folk stories £10.00
Educational Services Teaching Cassettes
Irish/Gaelige. Two cassettes with a small phrase dictionary.
Educational Services Corporation
1725 K St., N.W., Suite 408
Washington, D.C. 20006
Review: This is a conversation course with minimal grammar (next to none). I'm finding it very useful to start off with, as it teaches phrases, which give me a useable foothold with the language, and it repeats the Gaelic twice after the English is spoken.
Note: Additional information is available in the files IGJTM1 BIBL and IGJTM2 BIBL via the LISTSERV@LISTSERV.HEA.IE with the commands GET IGJTM1 BIBL GET IGJTM2 BIBL Name: Irish Books Address: 580 Broadway, Room 1103, New York, New York 10012, USA Phone: (212) 274-1923 Name: Schoenhof's Foreign Books Address: 76A Mount Auburn Street Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA Phone: (617) 547 - 8855 Fax: (617) 547 - 8551
It's a fáinne, pronounced roughly "fawn-ye".
You'll find Irish computer terms (such as "líon domhanda" for "world wide web") at
You'll find them on the Gaeilge-A and Gaeilge-B mailing lists. Gaeilge-A is for fluent speakers, Gaeilge-B for learners. To subscribe to Gaeilge-B, send a mail message to email@example.com with the following command in the text of the message
SUBSCRIBE Gaeilge-B Your-firstname Your-surname
(If your name was "Joe Sixpack", this would be written as "SUBSCRIBE Gaeilge-B Joe Sixpack".)
To subscribe to Gaeilge-A, use the same command as above, but put "Gaeilge-A" instead of "Gaeilge-B"