Irish Lesson 52


Place names in Irish often differ from the English versions. You probably know that Baile Átha Cliath (blaw* KLEE-uh) is the Irish name of the capital of Ireland. Most other place names in Irish are not so much longer than the English form, however. We will start with Éire (AY-re), meaning "Ireland." Make sure that you give proper length to the first vowel in the word, or it will sound like (E-ruh), which would be a different word entirely.

In the possessive case, "Éire" becomes "na hÉireann" (nuh HAY*R-uhn), again with a long "É" vowel. Learn these examples:

Poblacht na hÉireann (POH-blahk*t nuh HAY*R-uhn), the Republic of Ireland.

Banc na hÉireann (bahnk), the Bank of Ireland.

Muintir na hÉireann (MWIN-teer), the people of Ireland, or the Irish people.

In these examples, the word "na" means "the", and when used in this way tells you to put the word "the" first in the translation. Irish puts "an" in front of many place and country names. For example, France is "an Fhrainc" (un RAHNK). The Bank of France is "Banc na Fraince", with an "e" added to "Frainc" to show the possessive case.

Most Irish nouns keep their basic form when they follow prepositions like "ag, ar, le". A few change, however, and "Éire" is one of these. "In Ireland" is "in Éirinn" (in AY*R-in). "To Ireland" is "chuig Éirinn" (hig AY*R-in) or "go hÉirinn" (goh AY*R-in). The word "go", meaning "to", causes an "h" to go before a word beginning with a vowel.

Ireland has four provinces or "cúigí" (KOO-ig-ee). These are:

Cúige Connacht (KOO-ig-e KOHN-uhk*t), Connaught

Cúige Mumhan (KOO-ig-e MOO-uhn), Munster

Cúige Uladh (U-luh), Ulster

Cúige Laighean (LEYE-uhn), Leinster

Munster is sometimes called "an Mhumhain" (un VOO-in), and "in Munster" is "sa Mhumhain" (suh VOO-in). "In Connaught" can be "i gConnachta" (i GOHN-uhk*t-uh).

To say that you come from one of the provinces: "Is ó Chúige ___________ mé" (is oh K*OO-ig-e __________ may*).

For the United States of America, you can say "na Stáit" (nuh STAW*-it), the States, or "Stáit Aontaithe Meiriceá" (STAW*-it AY*N-tuh-he MER-i-kaw*), United States of America.

In a few weeks, we will take up names of towns and geographical features, so that you will be able to understand some of the Irish place names and begin to use Irish names wherever possible.


Masculine Nouns

stróc (strohk), stroke (sickness)

taom de thinneas croí (tay*m de HIN-yuhs kree), heart attack

bille (BIL-e), bill

meicneoir (mek-NYOH-ir), mechanic

casúr (kah-SOOR), hammer

Feminine Nouns

uirlis, an uirlise (OOR-lish, un OOR-lish-e), tool, the tool

moill, an mhoill (mwil, un VWIL), delay, the delay

ordóg, an ordóg (ohr-DOHG, un ohr-DOHG), thumb

ullmhaigh, ag ullmhú (Ul-vwee, eg UL-vwoo), prepare

ullmhaím (UL-vweem), I prepare

leag amach, ag leagan amach (lag uh-MAHK*, uh LAG-uhn uh-MAHK*), prepare

glac, ag glacadh (glahk, uh GLAHK-uh), accept, take

socraigh, ag socrú (SOH-kree, uh SOH-kroo), arrange

oilte (IL-te), skilled

dílis (DEE-lish), faithful


Translate these verb forms. Look at the key only if necessary.

Caith amach é. Ní fhaca me riamh é. An mbearrfaidh sé é fein? Cailleann sé gach rud. Nár éirigh tú ar maidin? Buail arís é. Ar fhágamar ag baile é? Scuabfaidh siad an halla.

Key: kah uh-MAHK* ay*. nee AH-kuh may* reev ay*. un MAHR-hee shay* ay* fay*n? KEYE-luhn shay* gahk* rud. naw*r EYE-ree too er MAH-din? BOO-il uh-REESH ay*. er AW*G-uh-muhr eg BAHL-e ay*? SKOOP-hee SHEE-uhd un HAHL-uh.

Translation: Throw it out. I never saw him. Will he shave? He loses everything. Didn't you get up this morning? Hit it again. Did we leave it home? They will sweep the hall.

Reading Exercise

Chuaigh Brian isteach sa gharáiste agus d'ullmhaigh sé dá obair. Meicneoir gluaisteáin sea é, meicneoir sár-oilte dílis. Fuair sé a uirlisí, agus thosaigh sé ag obair. An Luan ba ea é, agus bhí mórán gluaisteáin fanacht lena ndeisiú. D'obair Brian go daingean (DAHNG-uhn), mar bhí sé macánta, le cois bheith oilte. Ní bhuaileann sé go minic a ordóg le casúr, mar a deirtear (DER-tyuhr).

San oifig, bhí na custaiméiri ag teacht agus ag imeacht. Fuair siad an bille, agus ansin fuair roinnt (rint) dóibh stróc nó taom de thinneas croí. Bhí na billí chomh hard sin. Ní féidir leo an obair a fháil in áit ar bith eile, áfach. Tá áthas ar Bhrian faoi sin, ar chor ar bith.

Translation: Brian went into the garage and prepared for work. An auto mechanic he is, a highly skilled and faithful one. He got his tools and began to work. It was Monday, and there were many autos waiting to be repaired. Brian worked steadily, for he was honest, in addition to being skilled. He doesn't hit his thumb with a hammer often, as it is said.

In the office, the customers came and went. They got the bill, and then some of them had strokes or heart attacks. The bills were that high. They can't get the work in any other place, however. Brian is happy about that, anyway.

(c) 1998 The Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.

Irish Lesson 51 Irish Lesson 53

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