10 Irish phrases to get you through Christmas and New Year
Life & Style

10 Irish phrases to get you through Christmas and New Year

SÍ AN Nollaig í agus teastaíonn uait í a chéiliúradh as Gaeilge. Cad iad na nathanna cainte a chabhraíodh leat amhlaidh a dhéanamh?

Christmas is upon us and this year, you’re determined to give it an Irish flavour. What phrases will help you add a cúpla focal to your festive celebrations?

1. Nollaig shona duit/daoibh

This is the most common Christmas greeting and you’ll see and hear it everywhere in Ireland. You use Nollaig shona duit when speaking to one person and daoibh when speaking to more than one.

For those of you who are unsure how you’d pronounce such unfamiliar-looking words, here’s the closest English pronunciation: null-ig ho-nuh ghwich and null-ig ho-nuh jeev. Start practising now and you’ll have them off pat by the time Christmas is over.

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2. Gurab amhlaidh duit/daoibh

Unless you’re something of a Christmas Grinch, this is how you respond to being wished a merry Christmas. Essentially, it translates as ‘the same to you’ and it is pronounced as: guh-rub ow-lig ghwich/jeev.

3. Cá bhfuil mo bhronntanaisí?

Some of us still retain a childish sense of Christmas, which essentially means that the season is all about the presents or brun-tun-esh-ee. When Lá Nollag (law null-ug or Christmas Day) comes, you’re the first to rush to the crann Nollag (crown null-ug or Christmas tree).

Try to be grateful for all your presents, even if all Deaide na Nollag (the Irish Santa whose name is pronounced just like daddy) has left is a pair of socks.

christmasturkey-n Anyone for turcaí? Picture: iStock
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4. Remember to say guh-rev mah ag-ut for the dínnéar (dee-nare) too

Someone has slaved for hours over the turcaí (amazingly pronounced pretty much the same as Gaeilge and as Béarla), prátaí rósta (praw-tee roe-sta or roast potatoes) and the bachlóga Bhrúiséile (Brussels sprouts pronounced as Bach (like the composer) low-gah vrooh-shay-lah).

Make sure you get all of these words out before you start stuffing your face. They won’t be that easy to pronounce once your mouth is full!

5. Mind those table manners!

Sín chugham an salann, más é do thoil é is the Irish for pass the salt, please (sheen hug-um un sol-un, maw-sss ay the hul ay). If you’d like to politely request the roast potatoes, you’d say sheen hug-um nuh praw-tee roe-sta.

If you wanted the cranberry sauce, you’d ask for an anlann mónóige (un ow-n-lun moh-no-gih). And for yet another glass of vino, all you’d have to do is smile nicely and ask someone to pass an buidéal fíona (un buh-dale fee-nuh).

6. Don’t forget to make a toast

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A traditional one at this time of year is Go mbeirimid beo ag an am seo arís. It translates as ‘may we all be alive at this time next year’. Say it after me: guh meh-rim-eed be-o egg un am shuh ar-eesh.

A teen boy wearing a santa hat and holding mistletoe over his head. Isolated. Drulas is the Irish for mistletoe .Picture: iStock

7. Pucker up!

Anytime you see drualas (the Irish for mistletoe, rather unappetisingly pronounced drool-us, which is not really something you should do when kissing), you can a give conveniently-placed boy or girl a póg (a kiss or pogue).

8. Loosen that belt and eat your fill

There’s putóg na Nollag (put-ogue is pudding) and císte Nollag (key-steh is cake). There are píoga mhionra (pee-ogue-uh vun-ra or mince pies) and enough ceapairí turcaí (cap-ur-ee turk-ee or turkey sandwiches) to feed an army.

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January is looming with its healthy eating and diets. Make the most of the season of indulgence while you can.

9. Finally, bolg lán

It is time to collapse on the sofa (or tolg – tulg) to gorge on some seasonal television (or teilifís – tele-feesh).

Box of chocolates at hand and tissues at the ready, all you need now is a showing of Love Actually or It’s a Wonderful Life. Sí seasúr an Nollaig í! (It’s the season!)

10. By the time you’ve mastered all of that...

Oíche Chinn Bliana (New Year’s Eve or ee-heh cheen vlee-ana) will be looming and you’ll have a whole new phrase to master. Athbliain faoi mhaise duit/daoibh. Ah-vlee-in fwee wah-shuh ghwich/jeev is how we wish each other a prosperous New Year.

If you master all of these phrases, you’ll have celebrated Christmas and New Year in true Irish style and 2016 will have got off to a great start. Mar a deireann siad as Gaeilge; tús maith is ea leath na h-oibre!

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