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Easy Irish Words for Your Vacation | Traveling in Ireland Podcast Episode 178

While the main language you will hear in Ireland is English, you'll hear bits of Irish sprinkled into everyday chatter across the country.

If you visit a Gaeltacht, an area where Irish is the primary spoken language, it gives you a chance to hear Irish naturally spoken. Coincidentally (or not) these areas often have a rich cultural heritage, including traditional music, dance, and storytelling.

This podcast came from a question from Emily R. who asked about my sign off at the end of every podcast.

Is Irish the Same as Gaelic?

Irish and Gaelic are not the same but are related. “Irish” typically refers to the Gaeilge language spoken in Ireland.

“Gaelic” is a broader term used to refer collectively to the Goidelic languages, including Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx. These languages share a common Celtic ancestry and have many similarities, but they have also developed distinct characteristics and dialects over time.

So, while Irish is a form of Gaelic, the term “Gaelic” is used to encompass the Goidelic languages spoken in different regions, each with its unique linguistic and cultural nuances.

Road signs in Ireland on the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland

Easy Irish Words for Your Ireland Vacation

If you want to use your own ta cúpla focal (a couple of words) during your Ireland vacation, sprinkle these into your vocabulary.

Slán go fóill (slawn ga foal)
This is the sign off I use on my podcast. It means ‘goodbye for now'.

Slán (slawn)
Simple ‘goodbye'.

Sláinte (slawn-cha)
‘To your health' – say this instead of ‘cheers'.

Craic (crack)
A good time, fun. ‘We had great craic a the pub' or ‘Where's the craic tonight?'

Go raibh maith agat (go rev mah a-gut)
Thank you. If you want to express deeper thanks say ‘Go raibh míle maith agat' (go rev meal-a mah a-gut) which means ‘a thousand thank yous'.

A few other words to sprinkle into your sentences that make you sound a bit Irish

Fair play = good for you

Fierce = impressive

Bold = daring, possibly a bit stupid

Biscuit = cookie

Crisps = potato chips

Chips = fries

Want to hear more ‘Irishisms'? Check out podcast episode 109 with author Denise Deegan.

Where are Gaeltacht Regions in Ireland

The main Gaeltacht regions are along the western coast of Ireland, particularly in parts of counties Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Mayo, and Cork.

The Donegal Gaeltacht stretches along the county's Wild Atlantic Way from Fanad Head to Glencolmcille.

County Mayo has three small Gaeltacht areas that include Tourmakeady, parts of Achill Island, and the Erris Peninsula.

In County Galway you'll want to visit Connemara and the Aran Islands.

The Dingle Peninsula is County Kerry's Gaeltacht.

County Cork has two Gaeltacht regions, Muskerry and Cape Clear Island.

County Meath has a small Gaeltacht area in the village of Rath Chairn (Rathcairn) and Baile Ghib (Gibstown), as does Waterford between An Rinn (Ring) and An Sean Phobal (Old Parish).

Do you have an Ireland travel question? Email your questions to jody@irelandfamilyvacations.com – write Podcast Question in the subject line. Or message me on Instagram or Facebook @IrelandFamilyVacations. Don't forget to let me know how I can give you a shout out for sending it in!

Jody Halsted
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