Irish Lesson 115

Céad Míle Fáilte!


Make a real connection to your Irish heritage

Feeling like you could never crack Irish Gaelic?

Break it down into easy Bitesize portions, with the free "Irish for Beginners" email course by Bitesize Irish.

Enter your name and email address below to get started (and we'll never spam you):

Lesson by "The Irish People"

Cleachtadh aitheantais (A-huhn-tish); recognition drill

Chleachtaimis an pianó. Chrochtaí ar an doras é. Ní ólaimis mórán bainne. Nach stadadh an traein ag an stáisiún seo? D'fheiceadh sí na páistí ag teacht abhaile. D'fhreagróinn Seán dá mbeadh am go leor agam. Nach scríobhtá chuici? An nglantá do shílear sa samradh? Nach n-éisteá leis an gclár seo?


All of the sentences above are in the aimsir ghnáthchaite (gnaw*-HAH-tye), past habitual tense, except for one.

Key: We used to practice (on) the piano. It used to be hung on the door. Didn't the train used to stop at this station? She used to see the children coming home. I would answer Seán if I had enough time. Didn't you used to write to her? Did you used to clean your cellar in the summer? Didn't you used to listen to this program?



For the second conjugation of verbs, such as bailigh or ceannaigh, the past habitual is slightly different. Read this series over several times:

bhailínn (VWAHL-een), I used to gather

bhailíteá (vwahl-EE-taw*), you used to gather

bhailíodh (VWAHL-ee-ohk*) sé, he used to gather

bhailíodh sí, she used to gather

bhailímis (VWAHL-ee-mish), we used to gather

bhailíodh sibh (shiv), you-all used to gather

bhailídís (VWAHL-ee-deesh), they used to gather

bhailítí (VWAHL-ee-tee), people used to gather


The forms resemble those for the first conjugation (verbs such as dún and bris) but have a more emphasized (ee) sound in the verb. The forms also somewhat resemble the modh coinníolach, too, except for the absence of the (h) sound directly after the basic part of the verb. For example, "I would gather" is bhaileoinn, but "I used to gather" is bhailínn.


The negative forms begin with: ní bhailínn, I didn't used to gather.

For questions, start with: an mbailínn? (un MAHL-een), did I used to gather? The negative questions begin with: nach mbailínn?, didn't I used to gather?

Now go through the 32 forms with the verb deisigh, repair or mend.

The first forms will be: dheisínn ní dheisínn an ndeisínn nach ndeisínn.


If the second conjugation verb has a broad consonant before the final syllable, such as ceannaigh or ordaigh, there is no change in pronunciation or spelling of the word endings, but the "a" remains before the ending:

cheannaínn (HYAN-een), I used to buy; cheannaíteá (hyan-EE-taw*), you used to buy, and so on.

If the verb begins with a vowel, a "d" precedes the declarative form:

d'ordaínn (DOHRD-een), I used to order

d'éirínn (DEYE-reen), I used to get up


Also, in the negative question, the particle "nach" causes an (n) sound to precede the verb form. An example: nach n-ordaítí é? didn't it used to be ordered?


With the verbs that are syncopated or slightly compressed in sound, the forms resemble the others except for the effects of the syncopation.

One such verb is imir, play.

D'imrínn (DIM-reen), I used to play; d'imríteá (dim-REE-taw*), you used to play.

Another of these is freagair (FRAG-ir), answer. D'fhreagaínn (DRAG-reen), I used to answer; d'fhreagraíteá (drag-REE-taw*), you used to answer.


Cleachtadh leis an aimsir ghnáthchaite

Read these sentences over aloud or, better still, have someone who is familiar with the pronunciation read them to you. Picture the activity and the person or persons doing it. Several future-tense sentences and modh coinníollach sentences are included.

An míníteá na fadhbanna? (FEYEB-uh-nuh). Cheannódh sibh é. Ghoidídís rothair. Nach n-aontaídís leat? D'ordaímis é sin. An mbailítí an bruscar? Nach n-imríodh sé peil? Dheisínn gluaisteáin. Nach n-úllmhaítí an bia gach lá? Líonfaidh Seán an citeal.


Key: Did you used to explain the problems? You-all would buy it. They used to steal bicycles. Didn't they used to agree with you? We used to order that. Did the trash used to be collected? Didn't he used to play football? I used to repair autos. Didn't the food used to be prepared everyday? Seán will fill the kettle.


Focail nua

Several double prepositions in Irish are followed by the genitive or possessive. An example that you have already seen in these lessons is os cionn, meaning above. Os cionn an bhoird (ohs kyuhn uh VWIRD) means "above the table".

Three others are:

go ceann (goh KYOUN); to the end of or for the duration of. Examples:

go ceann na cuairte (nuh KOO-ahrt-ye), for the duration of the visit; go ceann na míosa (MEES-uh) seo, to the end of this month; go ceann an chogaidh (K*UHG-ee), for the duration of the war.

It can also mean "to the top of", as in : go ceann an chnoic, to the top of the hill.

i gceann (i GYOUN), at the end of (one meaning). For example: i gceann coicíse (KEYE-kee-shuh), at the end of a fortnight, in two weeks' time. i gcionn (i GYUN) means this also.

ar feadh (er fa), during or along. An example: ar feadh an bhóthair is "along the road".

Sentences: Beidh mé ann go ceann míosa, I will be there for a month.

Beidh mé sa bhaile i gceann míosa, I will be home at the end of a month.

Chonaic mé Nóra ar feadh an lae sin, I saw Nora during that day.

Fuair mé mo lón ar feadh na sráide sin, I got my lunch along that street.

Would you like to learn Irish Gaelic with audio pronunciation?

You can really start to learn to speak Irish with Bitesize Irish.
It's a full online learning program.

  • Would you like to make a connection with Ireland?
  • And speak the native language of the Irish?
  • Do you find it difficult to learn from reading only text?
Then take the free Irish for Beginners email course by Bitesize Irish. Every couple of days, you'll get a mini-series of free Irish language lessons. Each lesson is full of interactive audio recordings.

Learn Irish with Irish for Beginners, by Bitesize Irish.

<<back to top of page>>

(c) 1998 The Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.

Home | Word Review Board | Irish Facts & Fun | Audio Central | Sitemap

erins web . erins web ireland . erins web gaelic . erins web weaves
site map
. privacy statement

© Bitesize Irish Ltd. 2014, unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.
Contact Bitesize Irish