Irish Lesson 80


Pronounce the letter group “ae” (ay*) as if it were “é”. The reason for this group is to allow a broad consonant to precede it. Examples:

lae (lay*), of day, the genitive form of “lá”; tae (tay*), tea; traen (tray*n), train; Gael (gway*l), Gael.

Note that a slender consonant before an “é” would give a different sound to the word above: “lé” would differ from “lae”, for which the broad “l” imparts a trace of (uh) sound between the “l” and “ae”.

té vs tae; tréan vs traen; géill vs Gael and its faint (uh) or (wuh) sound between the “g” and “ae”.


Continuing with the first declension of nouns, we now take up other aspects of formation of the possessive or genitive case.

If a first-declension noun begins with a vowel, the vowel remains unchanged in the genitive, but the last consonant or sound will change to a slender one. Examples:

adhmad, praghas an adhmaid (EYE-muhd, preyes un EYE-mwid); timber, the timber’s price

úll, blas an úill (ool, blahs un OO-il); apple, the apple’s taste

aonach, lá an aonaigh (AY*-nuhk*, law* un AY*-nee); fair, the day of the fair

If the word to be put into the genitive case begins with “s”, a “t” will be placed before it and eclipse the sound of the “s”, if the “s” is followed by a vowel or by “l”, “n”, or “r”. Learn these examples before trying to memorize the rule:

samhradh, lá an tsamhraidh (SOU-ruh, law* uh TOU-ree); summer, the summer day

sagart, teach an tsagairt (SAH-guhrt, tahk* uh TAH-girt); priest, the priest’s house

The genitive case follows many compound prepositions (having two words) in Irish. For example, “in aice” (in A-ke), means “near”, and “near the house” is “in aice an tí” (in A-kuh TEE).

Other examples:

tar éis (tahr AY*SH), after; tar éis an amhráin (tahr AY*SH un ou-RAW*-in), after the song

le linn (le ling), during; le linn an dinnéir (le LING uh din-YAY*R)

Several simple prepositions, too, take the genitive. Two of these are: chun (k*un), to; chun an aonaigh (k*un un AY*N-nee), to the fair

timpeall (TIM-puhl), around; timpeall an chnoic (TIM-puhl uh K*NIK), around the hill


From now on, we will give the genitive singular and the plural for all nouns. Learn all the forms of each. For this lesson, the list will contain only first-declension nouns, all masculine.

urlár (oor-LAW*R), an t-urlár, an urláir (un oor-LAW*-ir), na hurláir; floor, the floor, of the floor, the floors

leabhar (LOU-wuhr), an leabhar, an leabhair (un LOU-wir), na leabhair; book, etc.

bord, an bord, an bhoird (un VWIRD), na boird (nuh BWIRD); table, etc.

casúr (kas-SOOR), an casúr, an chasúir (un k*ah-SOO-ir), na casúir; hammer, etc.

lón (lohn), an lón, an lóin (un LOH-in), na lónta (nuh LOHN-tuh); lunch, etc.

fear (far), an fear, an fhir (un IR), na fir; man, the man, of the man, the men

corcán (kohr-KAW*N), an corcán, an corcáin, na corcáin; pot, etc.

doras, an doras, an dorais (un DUH-rish), na doirse (DIR-she); door, etc.

mac, an mac, an mhic (un VIK), na mic (nuh MIK); son, etc.

dinnéar (din-YAY*R), an dinnéar, an dinnéir (un din-YAY*R), na dinnéir; dinner, etc.

arán (uh-RAW*N), an t-arán, an aráin (un uh-RAW*-in), na haráin; bread, etc.

os cionn (ohs KYOON), above (with the genitive)

os comhair (ohs KOH-ir), in front of (with the genitive)


In the following word groups, say the noun and then combine it with the preposition taking the genitive. Example: for “lón, le linn”, say “an lón, le linn, an lóin”.

dinnéar, tar éis

bord, os comhair

casúr, in aice

teach, chun

leabhar, timpeall

samhradh, tar éis

Key to the drill: an dinnéar, tar éis an dinnéir; an bord, os comhair an bhoird; an casúr, in aice an chasúir; an teach, chun an tí; an leabhar, timpeall an leabhair; an samhradh, tar éis an tsamhraidh (uh TOU-ree).


Deasún (dya-SOON): Féach! (FAY*-ahk*) Tá fear an phoist (FWISHT) ag teacht timpeall an chúinne (K*OON-ye). Desmond: Look! The mailman is coming around the corner.

Cristín (krish-TEEN): Feicim é (FEK-im ay*). Tagann sé le linn an lóin i gcónaí. Cristine: I see him. He always comes during lunch.

Deasún: Ná bac leis (naw* bahk lesh). Sin litir in aice an dorais. Suigh síos in aice an bhoird (VWIRD) arís (uh REESH). Cá bhfuil an t-arán? (un tuh-RAW*N); Don’t worry about it. There’s a letter next to the door. Sit down next to the table again. Where is the bread?

Cristín: Os comhair an phláta (FLAW*-tuh). Cuir chugam píosa de, más é do thoil é (kir HOO-uhm PEES-uh de, MAW* shay* duh HIL ay*). In front of the plate. Pass me a piece of it please.

©1999 The Irish People

Irish Lesson 79 | Irish Lesson 80

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