Speak Irish: Celebrations in Irish Land

Speak Irish:  Celebrations
By Bob Carney

Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhaoibh! Happy St. Patrick’s Day, celebrations are a big part of our lives whether they are holidays or just spending time with family and friends. Food and drink are often at the center of these special times. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in the gaeltacht I hope you use some of this months vocabulary and phrases at your next celebration. New languages come slowly to most adults, we all have so many other things that require our time, but if we keep our approach simple, a word or two at a time, soon we will have amassed enough to carry on a conversation with others.


DEOCHANNA  (jahk-ahnn-ah) drinks

beoir/ an bheoir (byohr / ahn vyore) beer / the beer   There are two types of vowel groupings, broad and slender. A, O, and U, are broad, E and I are slender. A broad vowel would cause the lenited bh to be pronounced as a w, while a slender vowel cause a v sound.

leann  (lawhn) ale or beer

leann dubh (lawhn duv) stout or porter

pionta (pyunta) a pint

pionta beorach  (pyunta byor-ach) a pint of beer

beoir mhór (byohr wore) a  large beer

fíon / an fíon (fee-un /ahn fee-un) wine /the wine

buidéal fíona (boo-dale fee-un-ah) a bottle of wine

gloine fíona (glawn-ya fee-un-ah) a glass of wine

fíon dearg/ fíon bán (fee-un jer-ug/ fee-un bahn) red wine/ white wine

uisce (ish-ka) water

uisce sóide (ish-ka sowdja)   soda water

uisce beatha (ish-ka bah-ha) water of life, whiskey

cupán tae (kup-un tay) a cup of tea

caife (kah- fay) coffee

bainne (bahn-ya) milk

siúcra (shoo-kra) sugar

caife Éireannach  (kah-fay ayrin-nach)  Irish coffee

caife dubh mór (kah-fay duv more) a large black coffee

caife dubh beag (kah-fay duv byug)  a small black coffee


In Irish we usually say something is with us or on us, when the word for with, le (leh)is used with a pronoun, or the word for on, ar (air) is used we call that a prepositional pronoun.

liom  (lyum) with me                                                 leat (lyat)  with you

leis (lesh)  with him                                                    léi (lay-ih) with her

linn (lynn(g))   with us                                                libh  (liv) with y’all

leo (lyo)  with them

orm (or-um) on me                                                     ort (ort) on you

air (air) on him                                                             uirthi (ur-hee) on her

orainn (or-een) on us                                                  oraibh (or-iv) on y’all

orthu (or-huh)  on them

BIA  (bee-uh) food

práta (prah-ta) potato                                                 briosca (brish-ka) biscuit or cookie

arán (a-rawn) bread                                                     im (imm) butter

stobhach (sto-ukh) stew                                              sicín (shickeen) chicken

sicín rósta  (shickeen rows-ta) roast chicken            feoil (fee-oil) meat

súlach  (soo-lahk) gravy                                                brúitín (brootch-een) mashed potatoes*

glasraí (gloss-ree) vegetables                                      cabáiste  (ca-bash-ta) cabbage

trátaí (traw-tee) tomatoes                                           meacan (makan) root vegtable

bricfeasta  (brik-fesh-tuh) breakfast                           lón (lahn) lunch

suipéar (sup-air) supper

*Brúitin is most commonly associated with a dish known as champ,a potato dish made with scallions , tradionally served at Samhain. In some families it was customary to leave a bowl under  a bush for the fairies. Dinneen’s Dictionary has page upon page of words relating to the potato, in all of it’s forms.


ceart go leor (kyart guh lore) OK

Go mo

Tá tart orm. (taw tart or-um) I’m thirsty

Tá ocras orm. (taw ohk-rus or-um)  I’m hungry

Cad ba mhaith leat? (kahd ba wah lyat) What would you like?

Ba mhaith liom (ba wah lee-um)  I would like

Pionta Guinness le do thoil. (pyunta guinness lay duh hull) A pint of Guinness please

Ba mhaith liom pionta Guinness le do thoil. (ba wah lee-um pyunta guinness lay duh hull) I would like a pint of Guinness please.

Go raibh maith agat (guh rah mah ah-gut) Thank you

Gabh mo leithsceal (guh muh lesh-skale) excuse me

Ar mhaith leat ithe? (ar wah lyat ih-ha) Would you like to eat?

Cinnte (kinn-ta) certainly

Cén áit ar mhaith leat a ithe? (kayn aht ar wah lyat a ih-ha) Where would you like to eat?

Cathain ar mhaith leat a ithe? (ka-hinn ar wah lyat a ih-ha) When would you like to eat?

Anois (ah-nesh) now

Ní anois (nee ah-nesh) not now

An ólfá deoch? (ahn ol-fa jawhk) Will you have a drink?

Ar mhaith leat rud égin a ithe? (ar wah lyat rud a-ginn ah ih-ha) Would you like something to eat?

Ar mhaith leat rud égin a ól? (ar wah lyat rud a-gjnn ah ol) Would you like something to drink?

Ba mhaith (ba wah) I would

Níor mhaith (neer wah) I would not

Is maith liom (iss mah lee-um)  I like

Is maith liom Guinness. (iss mah lee-um guinness) I like Guinnesss

An mhaith leat Guinness? (ahn mah lyat guinness) Do you like Guinness?

Comhghairdeas (ka-vor-dess) congratulations

Breithlá shona (bray-la ho-na) happy birthday

Teaghlach (tchai lahk) family

Cara (kara) friend

Cairde (kardj-uh) friends

Sláinte (slawn-cha) health

Slán Go Foill! 

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

Click on icons below to share articles to social.

Recent issues

E-Bulletin Signup

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive news and event emails from: iIrish. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.
New to Cleveland Ad

Explore other topics