Irish Phrases for Tourists

JohnIrish Culture

Today is the start of Seachtain Na Gaeilge 2014 which is a two week event in Ireland celebrating the Irish Language.

As the season starts here at Dunloe View Hostel we decided to put together a few Irish Phrases for Tourists that might come in handy while visiting the Emerald Isle.


1. Failte – Welcome

This word is often seen on signs of tourist accommodation or pubs in Ireland. Failte means to welcome someone in.

Failte Romhat can also be used as well as Cead Mile Failte which means One Hundred ( Cead ) Thousand ( Mile ) Welcomes ( Failte )


2. Craic – Fun

The Gaelic word Craic is often now used very much in Ireland in everyday speech .

While saying hello many people can be heard saying How is the Craic ?

When used in this way it just means what is happening or how are you doing.

It can also be used in the phrase Craic agus Ceol ( Fun & Music )


3. Garda – Police

If you are having too much Craic in the Irish pubs you might bump into the Garda.

This is the Irish police force and their full name An Garda Síochána translates to the Guardian of the Peace.


4. Mna – Woman

Many tourists have mistakingly got this wrong and maybe caused some embarrassing situations .

This can often be seen at the entrance to a ladies bathroom but as Mna looks similar to the English Man it has been known to cause an interesting situation.


5. Fir – Men

This is seen above the mens bathroom in many establishments across the country. So for men make sure to enter Fir and not Mna.


6. Sláinte – Cheers

Pronounced “slaan-sha” this literally translates as health. It is used as a short toast between drinking companions, standing in for the more time-consuming “I drink to your health!”


7. Dia Dhuit – Hello

The literal translation of Dia Dhuit is God Bless you or God Be with you.


8. Seirbhís – Service

You can see this on buses especially in the city of Dublin. You will also see As Seirbhís which means out of service . Good to note when you are trying to catch a bus.


9. Gaeltacht – Gaelic Area

You will see this sign when entering an area that speaks the Irish ( Gaelic ) language.

There are Gaeltachts in Donegal, Meath, Mayo, Galway, Kerry, Waterford, and several other pockets around Ireland.


10. Slan – Goodbye

The literal translation for Slan is safe. It is used when saying goodbye and can be also said as Slan Abhaile meaning Safe Home.