Speak Irish: Nollaig Shona Daoibh

                                       Speak Irish: Nollaig Shona Daoibh
By Bob Carney

Oh Come Let Us Adore Him
Taraigí a Phobail                                                         Oh Come All Ye Faithful                                                                                                                                                                                                           Taraigí a phobail le háthas agus mórtas                Oh come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant

Taraigí, taraigí go Bethlehem                                   Oh come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem

Taraigí ‘gus amharcaigí rugadh Rí ar aingil          Come and behold Him, born the King of angels


Taraigí ‘gus adhráimis é                                           Oh come, let us adore Him

Taraigí ‘gus adhráimis é                                           Oh come, let us adore Him

Taraigí ‘gus adhráimis é, Críost an Rí                    Oh come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord


Canaigí le lúcháir córacha na n-aingeal                  Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation,

Canaigí uile thuas ar Neamh                                     Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above

 Glóir do Dhia ins na harda                                       Glory to God in the highest


Repeat chorus

Fáilte a Thiarna ar an dea-mhaidin seo                Yea, Lord we greet thee, born this happy morning

A Íosa, a Íosa gach glóir duit                                   Jesus, to thee be glory given

Briathar an Athar anois I gcolainn dhaonna       Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing


Repeat chorus

It’s that time of year, Christmas music is everywhere you turn.  Hearing carols sung in Irish, however, requires a little bit of searching. With the technology of today at our disposal, you can find many of the carols you recognize and even some new ones by a variety of artists in Irish.

Find a  favorite and follow along. Our memory adapts easily to rhymes and melody. I can’t be the only one that hums the abc’s when I’m filing something.

Most of us can hear a song we haven’t heard in years and easily remember the chorus. So as you’re enjoying your favorite Christmas songs sung in the beautiful language of Irish, you may find improvement in your pronunciation and how you “hear” the language.

We’ll also work on some greetings and blessings that can be used this time of year, and some toasts that can be used year round. First some seasonal vocabulary.


sneachta (shnak-ta) snow                                                    fear sneachta (fihr shnak-ta)  snowman

sioc (shuk) frost                                                                  sa gheimhreadh (sa ghivra)  in winter

féirin (fayr-een) gift                                                            fuar (foo-ar) cold

crann Nollaig (krann null-ug) Christmas tree                     Lá Nollaig (law null-ug) Christmas day

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

Lá na Bliana Úire (law na bleena oora) New Years Day   réalta (rayl-tuh) star

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

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

cór (khor) choir                                                                   carúil (cahr-oo-il) carol

cuileann (qwill-un) holly                                              drualas (dhroo-ah-lus) mistletoe

stoca na Nollaig (shuk-ah na null-ug)                          Aifreann Meán Oíche (af-runn mahn ee-ha)

               Christmas stocking                                                         Midnight Mass

Ciste Nollaig (kish-ta null-ug) Christmas cake             iosaid (us-kidh) ham

gé (gay) goose                                                               turcaí (turkey   turkey

cloigín (klegg-een) bells                                                cártaí Nollaig (char-tee) Christmas cards

FRÁSA (frah-sa) PHRASE

Nollaig Shona Duit (null-ug hoe-na gwit)                     Merry Christmas to you (singular)

Nollaig Shona Daoibh (null-ug hoe-na yeev)                Merry Christmas to you all (plural)

Beannachtaí an tSéasúir (bahn-uhk-tuh an tay-soor)     Seasons Greetings (lit. Blessings of the   

Beannacht Dé Leat (bahn-uhkt day laht)                       God’s Blesssing with you

Rath Dé ort (rah day ort)                                                God bless you      

Nollaig faoi shéan agus faoi mhaise duit/daoibh    Christmas happiness and goodness to you/y’all

(null-ug fwee hayn ah-gus fwee vuh-shuh gwit/yeev)

Athbhliain faoi mhaise duit/daoibh                          A happy prosperous New Year to you/y’all

(ah-vleen fwee vuh-shuh gwit/yeev)


“Agus dúirt an t-aingeal leo: “Ná bíodh eagla oraibh: óir féach, tá dea-scéla agam daoibh a chuifidh áthas mór ar an bpobal uile: rugadh Slánaitheoir daoibh inniu – is é Chriost an é i geathair Dháiri.”

                                                                                                                              Lucás 2:10-11

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a savior, which is Christ the Lord.”

                                                                                                                               Luke 2:10-11

Merry Christmas to you all. The greatest gift we can give is of ourselves.

Síocháin agus Grá  Nollaig Shona Daoibh!  

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



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