Learn Irish

Learn how to discuss your education, work, and daily life in the Irish language. Join Divdyn Irish Language Courses

Irish is a Celtic language spoken by 138,000 people as a first language, and by another 1,000,000 people as a second language in Ireland, with 276,000 first-language speakers worldwide.

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This course is appropriate for language learners working towards an intermediate level of Irish. Improve your Irish language skills and learn more about the culture of Ireland.

Splendid Irish Vocabulary

Bothántaíocht (“boch-an-ti-ucht”)

An Irish word without an exact English equivalent, bothántaíocht is the practice of calling on all your neighbours just to catch up on all the gossip.

Sabhsaí (“sawh-see”)

Sabhsaí is someone who works outside no matter how bad the weather is.

Fáilte ("fawl-cha")

This word also translates to ‘joy, bliss or happiness’, but is mostly used to say ‘welcome’.

The Phonology of Irish

Vowels

Vowels can be short or long. In writing, long vowels are marked with an acute accent (known in Irish as síneadh fada or simply fada ‘long mark’), e.g., í, é, á, ú, ó. Vowel /ə/ occurs only in unstressed syllables.

Diphthongs

There are five diphthongs: /au, ai, ei, uə, iə/. Some dialects have additional diphthongs.

Consonants

Consonants can be broad or slender. During the articulation of the sound, broad consonants are pronounced with the back of the tongue pulled back and slightly up towards the soft palate. Slender (palatalized) consonants are pronounced with the tongue pushed up toward the hard palate.

Charming Irish Proverbs

There’s no fireside like your own fireside

Irish: Nil aon tintean mar do thintean fein.
This phrase means that there’s no place like home. The saying ‘home is where the heart is’ originally referred to the hearth of the fireplace.

The windy day is not the day for thatching

Irish: Ní hé lá na gaoithe lá na scolb.
While it literally means you can’t fix your roof on a windy day, this phrase is really saying you can’t leave things until the last minute and expect them to go as planned.

Tiredness goes away and the benefit remains

Irish: Imíonn an tuirse is fanann an tairbhe.
This is saying that even if the work is gruelingly hard, you’ll reap the benefits in the end.

Esme Dalton

Teacher at Divdyn Irish Language Courses

Starting with simple greetings and questions, we bring the learner into everyday situations and interactions.

Our classes are suitable for learners all over the world, including the Irish diaspora and non-natives with enthusiasm for Irish culture.

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