Speak Irish for St. Paddy’s Day

Common phrases you can use on St. Patrick’s Day

by Justine Jane Taft
Justine Jane Taft, Toronto, 2012

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and to get into the spirit, we’re giving you some common phrases to use while you’re out celebrating. Here are a few words you may encounter on St. Patrick’s Day.

Sláinte (pronounced slawn-che)
Sláinte means “health” and is used as a toast before drinking. This toast is a wish for good health for you and your companions.

Fáilte (pronounced fall-che)
Fáilte means “welcome” in Irish, and is a word you may hear a lot of businesses using on St. Patrick’s Day to welcome their customers.

Sláinte and fáilte are common words that many people know and use. Here are a few more words you can use in basic conversation.

Hóigh (pronounced hi)
This is a common and more casual way of saying “hello.” The traditional way is to say Diaduit, (dee-ah wit) to which someone responds Dia is Mairedhuit (dee-ah smur a-wit) which means, “God bless you,” and “God and Mary bless you” respectively.

Conasatátu? (pronounced Con-us uh-tah too)
This means “how are you?” You can answer this question in several ways. The most common response, of course, is Táim go maith (ta-meh go ma), “I’m well.”

Jane is ainmdom (pronounced Jane iss ah-numb dom)
This means, “my name is Jane.” You can also say Misé Jane (misha Jane).

Go raibhmaithagat (pronounced go rev ma a-got)

Slán (pronounced slawn)
This is the Irish word for “farewell,” or for wishing a person a safety and good health, and is what you use when you want to say goodbye.

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