Speak Irish: Beannachtai an tSéasúir

Speak Irish: Beannachtai an tSéasúir
By Bob Carney

It’s hard to believe Christmas is here! We’ve talked before about music being a good way to learn or even retain something, I still find my self humming the abc’s when I’m filing something. With all the Christmas music available in Irish, it’s a great way to enjoy the season and practice the language.

Silent Night
Silent Night has special meaning for my mother, so I would like to share the Irish version. Youtube has a few different covers of the song in Irish; it’s best to listen with the lyrics in hand and it won’t take long before you’re able to sing along. Our vocabulary also includes phrases of holiday greetings and wishes you can use, they’re also great for greeting cards.

OÍCHE CHIÚIN (Silent Night)
Oíche chiúin, oíche Mhic Dé,
Cách ‘na suan dis araon,
Dís is dílse ‘faire le spéis
Naoín beag gnaoigheal
Ceananntais caomh

Críost, ‘na chodhladh go séimh
Críost, ‘na chodhladh go séimh

Oíche chúin, oíche Mhic Dé,
Aoirí ar dtús chuala ‘n scéal,
Allelúia aingeal ag glaoch,
Cantain suairc i ngar is i gcéin

Críost an Slánaitheoir Féin
Críost an Slánaitheoir Féin

Oíche chúin, oíche Mhic Dé,
Cách ‘na suan dis araon,
Dís is dílse ‘faire le spéis
Naoín beag gnaoigheal

Ceanntais caomh

Críost, ‘na chodhladh go séimh
Críost, ‘na chodhladh go séimh

FOCLÓIR (fohk-lore) Vocabulary
Anfach (anfak) cool                                                  Báisteach (baw-shtach) rain

Gaofar (gwee-far) windy                                          Fuar (foo-er) cold

Sioc (shok) frost                                                        Sneachta (shnak-tuh) snow

Fear sneachta (far shnak-tuh) snowman                    geimhreadh (ghivrah) winter

Lá Nollaig (law null-ug) Christmas Day                   Crann Nollaig (krann null-ug) Christmas tree   

Oíche Nollaig (ee-ha null-ug) Christmas Eve Daidí na Nollaig (dad-ee na null-ug) Father Christmas

Íosa (ee-uh-suh) Jesus                                                 Muire (mwir-uh) Mary

Seosamh (shoh-sah) Joseph                                         Aingeal (ayn-gul) angel

Cuileann (kwill-un) holly                                            Drualas (dhroo-ah-lus) mistletoe

Carúil (kahr-oo-il) carol                                              Cór (khor) choir

Réalta (rayl-tuh) star                                                   Stoca na Nollaig (shtuka na null-ug)
                                                                                                           Christmas stocking   

Cloigin (klegg-een) bells                                              Aifreann Meán Oíche (af-run mahn ee-ha)
                                                                                                           Midnight Mass

Ornáidí (ur-naw-djee) decorations                               Cártaí Nollaig ( kawr-tee null-ug)  
                                                                                                          Christmas cards

Christmas FRÁSAÍ (frah see) PHRASES

Nollaig Shona Duit (null-ug hona gwit)  Merry Christmas to you

Nollaig Shona Daoibh (null-ug hona yeev)  Merry Christmas to you all

Beannachtaí an tSéasúir (ban-uhk-tee ahn tay-soor) Seasons Greetings  

Nollaig faoi shéan agus faoi mhaise duit/daoibh  (null-ug fwee hayn ah-gus fwee vosh-ah gwit/yeev)        Christmas happiness and goodness to you/you all

Nollaig Shona agus Athbhliain faoi mhaise duit  (null-ug hona ah-gus ah-vleen fwee voosha gwit)                Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you

Athbhliain faoi mhaise   (ah-vleen fwee voosha)  Happy New Year

Rath Dé ort (rah dat ort) God bless you

Beannacht Dé leat (ban-uhkt day laht) God’s blessing with you

Sláinte is táinte (slawn-cha iss tawn-cha) Health and wealth

Is fearr an tsláinte ná na táinte (iss far ahn tlwan-cha naw nah tawn-cha)

                         Health is better than wealth

Go mbeirimid beo ar an am seo arís (guh mare-ih midge byo ar ahn am sho areesh)

                         May we live to see this time of year again

Sláinte na bhfear agus go mara na mná go deo (slawn na are ah-gus guh mar-ah nah mraw guh jo)                    Health to the men and may the women live forever

We Live in the Shadow of One Another
Perhaps one that we all need to remember throughout the year, “Ar scáth a chéile a mhairimid” (ar ska ah kay-lee ah vare-ih midge).  “We live in the shadow of one another.”

To give of ourselves is the greatest gift we can give, sometimes a smile or a kind word can make a difference in someone’s life when it’s needed most. My mother used to tell us we influence everyone we encounter, it’s up to us if that’s positive or negative.
Nollaig shona daoibh.
We’ve talked many times in the past about sharing the language with others to learn more about their own backgrounds and traditions. On Saturday Dec. 11, from 4-8pm, the First Annual Polish Village Lights event will be held. There will be carolers, music , food and drink and participating businesses will have all manner of sales specials and giveaways. There will even be a visit from Santa at Rudy’s Strudel. 

My friend Michael and his wife, owners of, “The Current Year,” a record store on Ridge Road,  are the driving force behind the event, hoping to create a community much like we have at Kamm’s Corners. The event will be at the corner of Ridge and Virginia Avenue in Parma.

*Bob Carney is a student of Irish history and language and teaches the Speak Irish Cleveland class held every Tuesday at PJ McIntyre’s. He is also active in the Irish Wolfhound and Irish dogs organizations in and around Cleveland. Wife Mary, hound Rían and terrier Doolin keep the house jumping. He can be reached at [email protected]


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