Ireland is still officially bilingual, and learning the odd phrase in the native language shows a level of interest on the part of visitors that will be appreciated. Fair warning, though—don’t be surprised if you get a blank look in response, as Irish isn’t generally used on a day-to-day basis outside a few Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) areas.
Dia dhuit (“Dee-ah gwit”)
The standard Irish greeting, this phrase reflects the country’s religious history. Its literal meaning is “God be with you.”
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Conas atá tú? (“Cunnus ataw too?”)
Meaning: How are you?
Generally the second step in beginning a conversation as Gaeilge (in Irish). In some areas the “a” at the beginning of “atá” is left off, changing the phrase to “Conas tá tú?,” but the meaning is the same.
Tá mé go maith (“Taw may guh mah”)
Meaning: I’m well.
If you ask someone how they are, chances are they’ll be polite enough to ask how you are in return. This is the standard response if you’re feeling good. If you’re just okay on the day in question, switch out “go maith” for “ceart go leor” (“cyart guh lore”).
Cad is ainm duit? (“Cod iss anum doot” – doot pronounced like soot)
Meaning: What’s your name?
Asking the person you’re chatting with their name is this easy. To tell them your own, simply say your name followed by “is ainm dom,” e.g. “Kate is ainm dom” (“iss anum dum”).
Cá bhfuil an …? (“Caw will un…?”)
Meaning: Where is the …?
This is a handy one to have if you want to ask directions to the bus stop/toilet/post office, etc. Again, everyone speaks English in Ireland, but if you want to go whole hog and say the full sentence “as Gaeilge,” these are the words you’ll need.
Bus stop: stad an bhus (“stod un vus”)
Toilet: leithris (“leh-hriss”)
Post office: oifig an phoist (“if-ig un fwisht”)
Pionta Guinness, le do thoil (“Pyunta Guinness, leh duh hull”)
Meaning: A pint of Guinness, please!
If you want to order a pint of Ireland’s unofficial national beverage in Irish, just say the above. Obviously, the name “Guinness” can be switched out for Heineken or anything else you might like a pint of.
When you’re handed your pint of Guinness, raise it and say “Sláinte!” This Irish drinking toast is straight to the point, translating simply as “health.”
Go raibh maith agat (“Guh rev mah agut”)
Meaning: Thank you.
If someone does something nice for you, you can respond with this phrase. It’s how the Irish show gratitude in their native tongue.
Tá brón orm (“Taw brone urum”)
Meaning: I’m sorry.
Hopefully, your trip will go swimmingly and you won’t ever need this one, but if you find yourself needing to apologize to a person in the Irish language, say the above.
Ní thuigim (“Nee higgim”)
Meaning: I don’t understand.
When you say something to someone in Irish and they launch into a full-blown conversation that you can’t follow, you can say this to demonstrate that you don’t have any idea what they’re talking about.
Cad í an Ghaeilge ar …? (“Cod ee un gaylga air”)
Meaning: What’s the Irish for ….?
The Irish have a reputation for being a welcoming, obliging people. If there’s something you’d like to say that’s not covered here, just ask someone who speaks the language to translate it for you.
When you’re leaving someone and wishing them farewell, you can say “Slán” or “Slán abhaile” (“Slawn a-wal-ya”). The latter literally means “Safe home.”
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