Twenty tips for learning Irish


For Bliain na Gaeilge 2018, this is a list of twenty tips for people who are thinking of learning Irish. Don’t forget that the best tip of all is START NOW AND DO A LITTLE EVERY DAY!


Learn a song from YouTube, and hunt down the lyrics on Wikipedia or other sources. (Suggestions: Coinleach Ghlas an Fhómhair, Don Oíche Úd i mBeithil, Éamonn an Chnoic.)

Write shopping lists in Irish. By the time you’ve written oinniúin or trátaí or bainne twenty times, you’ll never forget it!

Extend this to to-do lists, caithfidh mé na héadaí a iarnáil, caithfidh mé arán a cheannach, caithfidh mé dul chuig an gharáiste, ba mhaith liom an chistin a ghlanadh, ba mhaith liom siopadóireacht a dhéanamh.

Listen to Irish music by Clannad or Altán.

Use online resources like Duolingo and Transparent Irish.

Use to find interesting phrases and check pronunciations.

Write a list of common words or phrases on paper and carry them round with you.

Keep a diary, using very simple sentences – don’t be over-ambitious!   Chuaigh mé chuig an Ollmhargadh. Cheannaigh mé bia. Bhuail mé le mo chara sa chaifelann. D’ól mé caife. Labhair muid srl.

Buy some post-it notes and put them up in your house so that you are seeing the words fuinneog, doras, cófra, inneall níocháin all the time.

Read up on a news story in English and then search for an article on

Find a radio programme on Raidió na Gaeltachta and listen to it, just to get the sound of the language in your head.

Find a programme on TG4 that interests you and watch it a few times.

Check out the Irish material on BBC NI and other online sites.

Buy a children’s picture dictionary (First 1000 words in Irish).

If you’re a Potterhead, buy the Irish version of book 1 Harry Potter agus an Órchloch and read a little bit each day.

If you’re not, get a classic book like Kidnapped or Round the world in 80 days or Dracula and read the English side by side with the Irish translation.

Change the settings on BBC Weather so that you get some of the details in Irish.

Find an Irish Word of the Day on your phone or email.

Draw a mind map of a particular topic and attach words and phrases to it.

If you’re religious, learn a prayer in Irish and use it every day.

Join theirishfor and other Twitter feeds on and in Irish.


12 thoughts on “Twenty tips for learning Irish

    1. DebunkerOfCassidy Post author

      This is the link for, which is a great resource. They also have several paper dictionaries which are fully searchable, such as Ó Dónaill’s FGB and de Bhaldraithe. It’s a mine of information. For more technical stuff (specialist vocabulary), is the place to go. 🙂

      1. DebunkerOfCassidy Post author

        A very good idea! There doesn’t seem to be anything and An Tuairisceoir isn’t flourishing these days. I’m not technically minded, unfortunately. Anyone out there who could do this for Bliain na Gaeilge? 🙂

    1. DebunkerOfCassidy Post author

      Yes, with a bit of adaptation, you could apply it to any language. I think the main thing is to weave your learning into your routine so that you are learning at least twice a day for a couple of minutes. Ach tosaigh leis an Ghaeilge! (But start with Irish!) 🙂


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