Basic Irish (Gaeilge)

As you prepare for your adventure in the beautiful and historic land of Ireland, learning some basic Irish phrases can add an extra layer of enjoyment to your experience. While English is widely spoken, the Irish language – also known as Gaeilge – remains an important part of the country’s cultural heritage. In this article, we’ll introduce you to some simple Irish words and phrases that can help you connect with locals, navigate the country, and appreciate the country’s rich linguistic traditions.

Greetings and Pleasantries

  1. Hello – Dia dhuit (Dee-a gwit) A simple and friendly greeting, “Dia dhuit” can be used in most situations when you meet someone new or want to acknowledge their presence.
  2. Goodbye – Slán (Slawn) When it’s time to say farewell, you can use “slán” as a way to express your good wishes.
  3. Please – Le do thoil (Leh duh hull) Being polite is always appreciated, no matter where you are. Use “le do thoil” when making requests or asking for assistance.
  4. Thank you – Go raibh maith agat (Guh rev mah ugut) Express your gratitude with “go raibh maith agat” – a phrase that will undoubtedly be met with a warm smile.
  5. Excuse me – Gabh mo leithscéal (Gav muh leh-skale) Whether you’re trying to get someone’s attention or apologizing for a minor inconvenience, “gabh mo leithscéal” is a polite way to do so.
  6. Cheers – Sláinte (Slawn-cha) Raise your glass and toast to good health with the popular Irish phrase “sláinte.”

Navigating the Country

  1. Where is…? – Cá bhfuil…? (Caw will) If you’re searching for a particular place or item, start your question with “cá bhfuil” followed by the name of what you’re looking for.
  2. Left – Ar chlé (Er clay)
  3. Right – Ar dheis (Er yesh)
  4. Straight ahead – Díreach ar aghaidh (Deer-uck er eye) Knowing these three directional phrases will help you navigate your way through towns and cities with ease.
  5. How much is it? – Cé mhéad é? (Kay vayd ay) When shopping or dining out, this phrase will help you inquire about the cost of an item or service.

Common Phrases for Enjoying Ireland

  1. My name is… – Is mise… (Is meh-shuh) Introduce yourself to new friends with “is mise,” followed by your name.
  2. I don’t speak Irish – Níl Gaeilge agam (Neel Gale-geh og-um) In case you find yourself in a conversation with an Irish speaker, this phrase will let them know you’re not fluent in the language.
  3. I love Ireland – Is aoibhinn liom Éire (Is even lum Ay-ruh) Express your admiration for the Emerald Isle with this heartfelt phrase.
  4. Do you speak English? – An bhfuil Béarla agat? (On will Bare-luh ogut) In the rare event that you encounter someone who doesn’t speak English (like if you get transported back in time!), this phrase can help you find common ground.

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