We’ve talked a bit about saying “hello” in Irish. We’ve talked a bit about introducing yourself in Irish. So now let’s put the cap on that and learn how to say “goodbye” in Irish.
It’s all about safety!
The most basic way to say “goodbye” in Irish is
Couldn’t be simpler, could it? Slán simply means “safe,” and is a shortened form of a slightly longer phrase:
Which means “safe home.”
In other words, when you say “goodbye” in Irish, you’re wishing someone safety!
A bit of trivia
Here’s a bit of trivia for you: Some sources think that the English phrase “so long” (as a way of saying “goodbye”) is a corruption of the Irish “slán”!
Variations on the theme
As you might expect, there are plenty of possible variations on this theme. For example, if you’re leaving a place and you want to say goodbye to someone who’s staying behind, you might say:
Which means, basically, “have safety.”
If, on the other hand, you’re staying behind, and saying goodbye to someone who is leaving, you might say:
Literally “safety with you.”
And, if you only expect to be separated for a short while, you might say:
slán go fóill
Literally “safety for a while”…which isn’t to say that you only wish safety on the person for a short time, but rather that you hope it will be a short time before you see him or her again!
Back to basics
Variations aside, if all you remember is “slán” you’ll be in good shape. It’s a goodbye that will be recognized anywhere in Ireland!
Slán go fóill!
17 thoughts on “So long! Saying “Goodbye” in Irish (with Video!)”
How do you say these sayings in Gaelic?
1) ta-ta for now
2) goodness (as an expression)
3) welcome the coming, speed the parting guest
4) the sheriffs house has a slippery doorstep
Reba, a chara
I am afraid that we do not offer translations as it is not a skill we specialise in.
You may find the following links helpful:
Submit your request at http://www.irishlanguageforum.com.
Online dictionaries such as focloir.ie might be of use to you.
Consider joining our members only courses for more lessons on Irish, including greetings and farewells.
Just SOOO love this blog … SOOO can’t wait to hear my GRANDSON EWF ( Evan William Fox ) fox after MY garden FOX …. saying SLAN LEATH etc etc he waves GOOD BYE & HELLO to every thing that MOVES … human, animal. the trees everything …
An-sásta é sin a chloisint, Greta! So happy to hear that, Greta!
‘slán’ is more ‘health’ than ‘safe(ty)’ in greetings, I’d have thought (to be fair, it covers both).
What does ‘Slan tamini’ mean?
Slán tamaill means Goodbye for now or for a while – could this be it the phrase you’re thinking of?
In Texas (and I would imagine other areas of the south) it’s common to say “be safe” after bye. I wonder if it comes from the Irish?
A funny thing with this happened a while back when an American Idol contestant, who was rejected, wished the judges a “bye, be safe”. They thought he was threatening them! Never in all my years would I have thought that “be safe” could be taken in that way.
I think Ireland is a great place I have seen pictures on the Internet that I have look p on google.
I used to saying slán go fóill to my friends now but with a few ones i add on mo chara which just kind of falls out of my mouth in ulster
I need help with pronunciation. Is there anything available.
The Bitesize course provides audio, which is what you need to help with pronunciation.
I would also claim this need ,and an grateful for the arrow buttons in this post. If at all possible can you do them as often as you can. I know you have said there is a pattern to Irish spelling that makes sense, and one day Oghma may bless me by relieving it ,but for now the effort you but into programing those recordings is my only hope.
is mise mehull
Glad you’re enjoying the posts! Yes, we did one on “thank you” earlier this year. Here’s a link:
You can access all our posts from the first half of 2013 via this link:
Always good info in these newsletters! How does one say “thank you” in Irish? I haven’t seen an article on that as yet (or maybe I missed it.
Hi Barbara.”thank you” in Irish is Go Raibh Maith Agot.
Actually, Eileen, it’s “go raibh maith agat” (assuming you’re speaking to one person). I’ve linked to a post we did on “thank you” below.