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How to say An Irish Blessing in Irish

In this new addition to our How to Say series, you’ll learn a famous Irish blessing.

Go n-éirí an bóthar leat 
/Guh ny-ree on boh-har lyat/ 
May the road rise to meet you 

Go raibh an ghaoth go brách ag do chúl 
/Guh ruh on ghwee guh brawkh eeg duh khool/ 
May the wind be always at your back 

Go lonraí an ghrian go te ar d’aghaidh 
/Guh lun-ree on ghreen guh cheh air dye/ 
May the sun shine warm upon your face 

Go dtite an bháisteach go mín ar do pháirceanna 
/Guh ditch-a on wah-shtukh guh meen air duh fawr-ken-na/ 
May the rains fall softly upon your fields 

Agus go mbuailimid le chéile arís, 
/A-guss guh mool-ee-midg leh khay-la a-reesh/ 
And until we meet again 

Go gcoinní Dia i mbos A láimhe thú. 
/Guh gwin-ye Jee-a ih mus a law-iv-eh hoo/ 
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

This topic was requested by one of our Grow members over on Pobal.

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33 thoughts on “How to say An Irish Blessing in Irish”

  1. I believe that no matter how much we study the language , we are still all students to it , and all make mistakes . I am , from my mothers side , a MacRaighnaill , ( Reynolds ) , as it has been anglicized to , but I will still go by the original Gaeilge form . My grandmother was a Oats . (Armagh) . I am a student of the Ulster dialect , and even the person teaching it has to apologize , and correct herself . My question is , When we say Dia duit , it is stated as God be with you / above you . Is the Dia truly the Hebrew Jehovah ? I was comparing the language with a Cornish speaker , and while very few words are even similar , they follow the same pattern . Hello is literally translated as Jehovah be with you in Cornish , and the pronouncing as Jeeyah phonetically sounds like Jehovah . Could you experts throw some light on this please . John .

    1. Hi John,

      I agree, we’re always learning any language we speak, even if one is a native speaker.

      That is an interesting theory in regards the possible etymological connection between Dia and Jehovah. The etymology of Dia that I could find traces the word back to the Proto-Indo-European word deywós, which is also thought to be the source of the Latin word Deus.

  2. Thank you for the video, Siobhan. I’m a northern Protestant so never really had much exposure to the Irish language, which is such a shame. I don’t imagine I’ll ever learn a substantial or functional amount of the language, but videos like these are very useful in learning some snippets of Irish which really does make me feel a connection to our culture.

  3. Katharine Mary

    I’m so sorry about all the folks being nit picky… your videos are lovely, and have inspired myself and my son to learn more about our Irish heritage.
    I am learning this prayer to be part of a song I’m creating. Thank you!

  4. Siobhán,
    I’ve been critical of this particular “blessing” – but I have to add that I like your blog very much, have often quoted it to members of our Ciorcail Comhrá, and recommend it to Irish Language learners.
    Seriously: rath ort, agus go n-éirí an bóthar leat!

      1. Very clear and very precise.I learned this blessing when I lived in Cornwall from an older Irish lady long ago who had a Celtic Cross in her garden.You have very nice hair btw must be a lot of work to keep it so especially your plait.A lot of Irish are here in Ukraine to help out here and doing a wonderful job.

  5. Learning the Lords Prayer. thanks to Bitesize Irish!. Your presentation is clear and makes it easy with the phonetic transcriptions. I’m told this is a great way to begin a language. It’s how 18th century Cardinal Guiseppe Mezzofanti learned each of some 30 languages. Always beginning with the Lords Prayer. By the way I have a question about the saints on the shelf behind you in the video of How To Improve Your Irish at Home. Could you tell me please who they are? I fancy one might be Saint Brigit? I’ve an interest in learning some of the prayers associated with her. Thank you in advance.

    1. That’s excellent! I’ve also heard that that’s a great way to help you learn a language. They’re Naomh Breandán (St Brendan the Voyager) agus Naomh Íde (St Ita, the Irish patron saint of education).

  6. Lovely to hear the Irish blessing in Irish. My Papa Pearson from Donegal used to have the English translation on a plaque in the front hallway, but the Irish is so much nicer! Thank you.

  7. You translate “Go n-eiri an Bother leat” to mean “May the road rise with you.”
    How about “May you be successful in life’s journey”?
    May the road rise with you, indeed. Who are we, Sisyphus?
    You should know better.
    Michael Lynch, pulling (own) hair out…what’s left of it…

    1. Thank you for your comment.
      I have translated “Go n-éirí an bóthar leat” in writing as “May the road rise to meet you”, as it is a well-known phrase. “May the road rise with you.” is the literal translation. In the video, I also translate it as “May you prosper on your journey” or “May your journey go well”, which would be it’s more precise translation, in terms of meaning.

      1. Dáithí Í Búitigh

        You have made the common mistake in assuming that ‘éirigh’ only means ‘rise’. When it’s used with ‘le’ it means ‘to succeed in or with’:
        ‘Déirigh sé leis an comortas’ – he succeeded (won) the competition

        1. Thank you for your comment, Dáithí. Éirígh can indeed mean to succeed/win when paired with the preposition le. “D’éirigh sé” means “he arose” or even possibly “he/it became” (D’éirigh sé fuar = it became/got cold) but “D’éirigh leis” means “He/it succeeded/won”. “He won the competition” would be said as “D’éirigh leis sa chomórtas”. The phrase “Go n-éirí leat” is common and means “Good luck” or “May you succeed” but it could be literally translated as “May it rise with you” though of course, that makes little sense when said to English word for word.

      2. Appalling. Go n-éirí leat means “May you succeed”. It MAY NOT be translated as “May you rise”.
        This supposed “Irish” blessing was an American concoction and is, like many/most “Irish” things of American origin, utter humbug.

        1. Go n-éirí leat does not indeed mean “may you rise”. As I stated above, “may the road rise with you.” is the literal translation. Of course, it truly means “may you succeed”. Regarding the claim that the blessing is “an American concoction” I see no evidence for or against, though surely it was initially in Irish and later translated to English. It would be interesting to know just how old this blessing is, especially given how “go n-éirí an bóthar leat” has become a common phrase in spoken Irish.

          1. The following post appeared as a response to a question on the Quora.com website regarding the meaning of “May the road rise” and its accompanying confection of blessings.
            “Lambert Katz, Pastor at Into Thy Word (2001-present)
            Answered Mar 18, 2017
            3.8K views · View 7 upvotes
            Actually, it was made up by an Episcopal Youth Minister, Rev. Richard Krejcir at All Saints Church,
            Carmel, California, in 1982 for a youth Irish party and dance, evangelism event in at The Mission Ranch
            Restaurant and dance barn in Carmel , Ca. There were copies of that poem printed on parchment given
            out then and for for years since at Christian youth groups by this pastor. He took Numbers 6:24 and
            merged it with a Celtic blessing…”

            The names in this post check out though the information itself has been challenged. But even challengers concede that this” blessing” was totally unknown before the 1970s at the very earliest. So, the notion that it’s an ancient Irish – or Celtic even – blessing is nonsense.
            The “wind always be at your back is clearly a massaging of the maritime wish for a” following wind”, i.e. one that will speed your journey. The bit about “God holding you in the palm of his hand” is a reworking od a phrase in the Bible, easily found online.
            The alleged “Irish” origin of this mélange are extremely shaky, to say the least.

    2. Some people say and,this is how I first heard this blessing–‘May the road rise up to meet you.’
      meaning make your walk easy

    3. It has always annoyed me that go n-éirigh an bóthar leat was incorrectly translated and made no sense. It’s a pity the incorrect translation is being perpetuated here. “Go n-éirigh leat” means “May you succeed.” Go n-éirigh an bóthar leat means “May your journey succeed.” As a rule of thumb languages often cannot be translated literally or directly.

      1. Maith thú. Thís is an American invention, created by someone with little functional Irish. It’s a bit like the old “Tá sé fear” nonsense.

        1. Tomas O'Dubhlaoich

          It is said that a language is only truly dead when the last remaining speakers spend their time arguing about its grammer..

  8. Go raibh mile maith agat, Siobhan!
    This is a familiar blessing that I love. I’ll look for it in Irish and English so that I can familiarize myself with the Irish and practice it aloud. …and increase my vocabulary.
    Ellen J

  9. Dia duit Siobhan
    Hope I got that right thank you for your video,I am working through it and I now have further Irish words to add to my growing list, and compiled my own dictionary of a sort writing to to pronounce each word,I’m getting there slowly,.
    Hoping Santa will bring me Collins dictionary.
    Thank you for your video’s stay safe.

  10. Your efforts in restoring the Irish language is commendable. It will be a long hard road to negotiate but don’t lose heart.
    I can only admire you from afar.

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