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Dear Bitesize: Irish Gaelic in Louth and How to Say “Have a Good Day”

Irish Gaelic in Louth and How to Say "Have a Good Day"

In today’s Dear Bitesize post, I’m answering two questions that came in recently to Bitesize Irish Gaelic. The first learner asked if we know anything about dialect of Irish spoken in Co. Louth. Another Irish language learner wished to know how to say “have a good day” in Irish Gaelic.

First off:

My ancestors came from a town in Co. Louth. Do you know anything about the Irish they spoke there?

Though it may come as a surprise to some, a distinct native dialect of Irish survived in Louth, a border county on the northeast coast, until about the 1930s. Thankfully, recordings have been made of a number of Louth speakers. According to the 2016 census, about 800 people speak Irish daily outside of the education system in Co. Louth. Thousands of others claim to be able to speak Irish.

Now, on to our second question:

I would like to know how to say “Have a good day”.

Not only is this a handy sentence to know but it is also fairly easy to construct and remember, especially if already have a basic understanding of how to say “have” in Irish.

“Have a good day” is “Bíodh lá maith agat

Now, before we break that sentence down, we’ll have a quick look at how to say “have“.

You were to say “You have a dog” you would say “Tá madra agat” “” is the present tense form of the verb “bí,” which means “to be.” Now, to turn that sentence into an order i.e. “Have a dog!” You would reword it as “Bíodh madra agat!” “Bíodh” is the imperative form of the verb ““.

Now that we know that “bíodh” is the imperative version of “” let’s look at what the other words mean.

means day

Maith means good, well.

Agat literally means “at you” and is a form for the preposition “ag“. This is the preposition used when saying that someone is in possession of something.

You can learn more about saying “have” in the Bitesize lesson Verbs: to have and  by watching our new video lesson at this link (enthusiast members only).

Therefore, the Irish for “Have a good day”, “Bíodh lá maith agat“,  literally means “Be day good at you”.

That’s it for today, folks. Thanks for reading!

If you’ve ever got any grammar questions, don’t hesitate to email [email protected].

Le gach dea-ghuí, (Best wishes,)


5 thoughts on “Dear Bitesize: Irish Gaelic in Louth and How to Say “Have a Good Day””

  1. Patrick Mcnally

    Very interesting Siobhán, I had known that but had forgotten it.
    Since you have explained it so well and said it is the imperative of the verb ‘ to be’ I don’t think I will forget it again.
    I find it helpful to translate ‘ bíodh’ as ‘let be’ so that would give, let be a good day at you or in English have a good day. I don’t know if you would agree with this.
    There is the word ‘amhlaidh’ which means thus, in this manner, so could one says ‘bíodh amhlaidh’ meaning let it be thus, or let it be so?
    Many thanks for the info.

    1. Go raibh maith agat, a Phádraig! It’s great to hear that you found the post so useful.

      “Bíodh” could certainly be translated as “let be”. Actually, “Let it be thus/so” is “Bíodh sé amhlaidh,” so well done on figuring that out!

      Le gach dea-ghuí, (Kind regards)

  2. Thank you so much! I loved the explanations giving the meaning of each word, so that those of us who like to analyse the way the language build its sentences can also have an idea of how it works, eve though we know translations most of times should never be literal themselves, for obvious reaons!And of course the sound files are essential for us to try and pronounce the words correctly.

    1. Many thanks Jo, your feedback is invaluable! I’m really glad to hear that the explanations and sound files have been of use. I will pass on your kind words to Siobhán 🙂

      1. You´re welcome, but I´m the one supposed to thank you, smile.
        Just forgive me for the overlooked mistypings which ended up being actual grammar mistakes as in
        (language)”builds”, not “build”, “even”, not “eve”, most of the times, “reasons”, not ‘reaons”!
        I do wish there were an edit button for us to correct such mistakes we overlook and only notice them after we post our comments. This is just a suggestion, of course.

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