Home Language HacksIrish 99 Useful Irish Phrases and Words Perfect for Travellers

99 Useful Irish Phrases and Words Perfect for Travellers

by Michele
99 Irish Gaelic Phrases and Words for Travellers
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If you’re new to learning Irish or are travelling to Irish speaking (Gaeltacht) parts of Ireland, this useful Irish travel phrase guide is the perfect resource.

Just like all my other phrase guides, this Irish travel phrase guide gives you a well-rounded set of practical phrases and vocabulary which will help you have meaningful conversations and interactions with the locals. For ease of use, I’ve included the transliteration for each phrase which means you can read as if you were reading English, but you’ll be magically speaking Irish!

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Let’s take a closer look at the Irish language. Here’s what we’ll cover:

Table of Contents

A Quick History of Irish (Gaeilge)

Irish Gaelic Phrases and Words for Travellers - History of Irish LanguageIrish Gaelic, or Gaeilge, is one of the oldest surviving languages of Europe with evidence of written sources on stone dating back to the 6th and 7th centuries. An earlier and simplified form of the Irish alphabet known as Ogham has also been found which dates back to around the 5th and 6th centuries.

Irish was spoken well before these written records on stone appeared and it is believed that the language reached Ireland around 500 BC.

What is the Irish language called?

When speaking English, the correct name for the language is “Irish.” When speaking Irish, the language is referred to as “Gaeilge.” You may also hear people say Irish Gaelic which is said in order to make it clear they aren’t talking about Gaelic, which means Scottish Gaelic and is spoken in Scotland along with Scots. Both, however, are related but still maintain considerable differences. 

How many people speak Irish?

According to this 2016 census, there are 73,803 people who speak the Irish language on a daily basis in the Republic of Ireland. A further 111,473 speak it weekly; 586,535 speak less frequently, and the rest rarely speak it. Which gives us a total of 1.76 million speakers of the Irish language.

Where is Irish spoken?

Irish Gaeilge sign in Temple Bar, DublinIrish (Gaeilge) is spoken in mainly Ireland (Éire), predominantly in areas known as Gaeltacht (pronounced Gale-tokht) where Irish is the working language of the area. However, every city and large town will have its own Irish language schools and Irish-speaking community.

Gaeltacht areas include northwest Donegal and Tory Island, parts of west Mayo and the islands of Inishkea and Achill, Connemara in south Galway and the Aran Island; the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry; Muskerry and the island of Cape Clear in County Cork; An Rinn (the Ring) in Waterford and Ráth Cairn and Baile Ghib (Gibbstown) in Meath.

Outside of Ireland, Irish speakers can also be found in the UK (Ríocht Aontaithe), the USA (Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá), Canada (Ceanada) and Australia (an Astráil).

Irish Alphabet

Here are the letters of the Irish alphabet and their pronunciation.

Irish Grammar

Unlike English, has a word order of Subject Verb Object, the Irish word order is quick unique in that it is, Verb Subject Object. Only 9 per cent of the languages in the world use this word order. Let’s take the phrase, “I drank a Guinness”, in Irish it would be “Drank I a Guinness.”

How to Say ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ in Irish (It’s not how you think!)

A special characteristic of Irish is how there is no one word for saying “Yes” or “No”. Instead, the verb in the question is repeated in either it’s affirmative (yes) or negative (no) form. This system is found in all modern Celtic languages, except Breton (which is a special case).

So for example, the answer to the question “Can you speak Irish?” would be either “I can” or “I can’t” instead of “yes” or “no”.

How to count in Irish

Using numbers in Irish can be a complicated business. Irish has three number systems, one for counting numbers or referring to dates and times, another one used for people, and one for things. For example, the number two is “a dó” (a daw), but two coats is “dhá chóta” (kghaw khota), and two boys is “beirt bhuachaillí” (berch vookallee).

To keep things simple, this guide includes the numbers used in counting.

Useful Irish Phrases and Words for Travellers

Irish Gaelic Phrases and Words

Want the infographic to take with you? Scroll to the bottom of the page and save it.

P.S. If you’re reading this on your phone and can’t see the pronunciation column, turn it to landscape mode. For some reason, tables aren’t mobile friendly. Sorry!

English Irish Translation Pronunciation


Hello (greet someone) Dia dhuit Dee-ah qwitch
Hello (in response to a greeting) Dia ‘s Muire dhuit Dee-ah smurra qwitch
Good morning Dee-ah dhuit ar maidin Dee-ah gitch er modjin
Good night Oíche mhaith agat Ee-hah wah agut
Goodbye (to someone leaving) Slá leat Slawn lyat
Goodbye (when you leave) Slán agat Slawn agut
How are you? Conas atá tú (Connacht) / Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú (Munster) / Cad é mar atá tú? (Ulster) Kunass ataw too / Kayne kwee ah will too / Guh jay mar ata too
I’m very well, thank you Tá mé go maith, go raibh maith agat Taw may guh mah, guh row mah agut
Good, thank you Go maith, go raibh maith agat Guh maith, guh row mah agut
What is your name? Cad is ainm duit? Kad iss annyim ditch?
My name is… … is ainm dom … is annyim dum
It’s nice to meet you too Tá sé deas bualadh leat Taw shay sjay jass boola lyat


Please Le do thoil Leh duh hull
Thank you Go raibh maith agat Guh row mah agut
You’re welcome Tá fáilte romhat Taw fawl-cha rowat
OK Ceart go leor K’yart guh lore
Excuse me Go mo leithscéal Guh muh leshkayle
I’m very sorry Tá mé buartha Taw may boor-ha
I don’t understand Ní thuigim Nee higgim
I don’t speak Irish Níl Gaeilge agam Nyeel Gayle-ga agum
Please repeat that slowly Abair arís é go mall, le do thoil Obber areesh ay guh mawl, leh duh hull


Where? Kaw
How? Conas Kunass
Where is/are…? Cá bhfuil Kaw will
How much? Cá mhéad Ka vayd
Who? Kay
When? Cén uair Kayne oo-ir
Why? Cén fáth Kayne faw
What? Cad é / céard kad ay / kerd
Which? Cé acu Kay acoo
How much is this? Cá mhéad atá air seo? Kaw vayd ataw er shuh
How much does that cost? Cá mhéad atá air sin? Kaw vayd ataw er shin
Where is the toilet? Cá bhfuil an leithreas Kaw will un lyeh-riss
Can I have… An bhféadfainn Un vayd-hinn
I would like… Ba mhaith liom Buh wah lyum

Eating Out

The menu, please An biachlár, le do thoil Un bee-akhlore leh duh hull
Two beers, please Dhá bheoir, le do thoil Gaw vyore leh duh hull
A bottle of house red wine, please Buidéal fhíon dearg an tí le do thoil Bujayle een jar-ig un chee leh duh hull
Some plain water, please Gnáthuisce, le do thoil Graw-ishka leh duh hull
I’m allergic to… Tá ailléirge orm le Taw awlergeh orum leh
I’m a vegetarian Is feoilséantóir mé Iss f’yowle-shine-tore may
Can we have the bill, please? An bhféadfaimis an bille afháil, le do thoil? An vayd-fameesh un billya a awl leh duh hull
What do you recommend? Cad a mholfá dom? Kodd a vulfaw doo
The meal was excellent Bhí an béile ar fheabhas Vee un bayla air owwass

Getting Around

Left Er clé Er klay
Right Er dheis Er yesh
Keep going straight ahead Gabh díreach ar aghaidh Do djeeragh air ay
Turn left Cas ar clé Koss er klay
Turn right Cas er dheis Koss er yesh
Entrance bealach isteach / slí isteach bal-akh iss-chah / shlee iss-chah
Exit bealach / slí amach Bal-akh / shlee amah
I’m lost Tá mé ar strae Taw may er stray


0 náid nawje
1 a haon a hayne
2 a dó a daw
3 a trí a tchree
4 a ceathair a kyehir
5 a cúig a koo-ig
6 a sé a shay
7 a seacht a seacht
8 a hocht a hocht
9 a naoi a nee
10 a deich a deich
11 a haon déag a hayn yayg
12 a dó déag a daw yayg
13 a trí dhéag a tchree djayg
14 a ceathair a kyehir djayg
15 a cúig-déag a koo-ig djayg
16 a sé-déag a shay djayg
17 a seacht-déag a seacht djayg
18 a hocht-déag a hocht djayg
19 a naoi déag a nee djayg
20 fiche fihha
30 tríocha tchree-okha
40 daichead die-hayd
50 caoga kayga
60 seasca shasska
70 seachtó shakhtoe
80 ochtó okhtoe
90 nócha no-ha
100 céad kyayd
1000 míle meela


Today inniu inn-yoo
Tomorrow amárach amar-akh
Yesterday inné Inn-yay
What time is it? Cén t-am é? Kayne tam ay
It’s … Tá sé… Taw shay


Monday An Laun / Dé Luain An loon / djay Looin
Tuesday An Mháirt / Dé Máirt An loon / djay Looin
Wednesday An Chéadaoin / Dé Céadaoin An warch / djay Vorch
Thursday Déardaoin Djare-deen
Friday An Anoine / Dé hAoine An eena / djay heena
Saturday An Satharn / Dé Sathairn An sahharn / djay Sahharn
Sunday An Domhnach / Dé Domhnaigh An down-akh / djay down-ee


I need a doctor Tá orm dochtúir a fheiceáil Taw urm dokh-ture ah eckawl
I’m ill Tá mé tinn Tay may teen
Call the police! Cuir fios ar na Gardaí Kur fiss er un Gordee
There is a fire Tá tine ann Taw tinna unn

Useful Irish Phrases and Words for Travellers [Infographic]

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Irish Gaeilge Phrases and Words for Travellers

Sources / Irish Phrasebook / Omniglot

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Over to you!

Which of these Irish phrases did you find the most useful? Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.
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Danica Watson March 7, 2019 - 06:41

Very much excited to visit after looking at these scenarios!!

Michele March 7, 2019 - 13:30

Yay! I’m so happy to hear that 🙂


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