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Wishing You the Luck of the Irish: Say It in Gaelic

written by: Laura Jean Karr • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 2/20/2013

One of the more colorful of the Celtic languages, Irish Gaelic has more than one way to wish someone "Good Luck." Find out the various ways to express luck to someone here, and learn several other expressions as well.

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    Irish Gaelic in the Celtic Language Family

    There are two branches to the Celtic languages group. The first group being the Brythonic Branch includes the British Ancestral, Cumbric, Welsh, Cornish and Breton. The second group is called the Goidelic Branch that includes Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic and Manx. Although each language is rich in history and full of wonderful expressions, here we are going to narrow it down to expressions in Irish Gaelic.

    One well-used group of expressions is that of wishing someone well or bestowing the Gaelic version of "good luck" upon them. In the Irish Gaelic cultures, these expressions are akin to giving someone a good blessing and occur as often as the curses in conversational dialects around the island and beyond. Each phrase will be accompanied with a pronunciation example. All examples of pronunciation will be shown after the original phrases in parenthesis.

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    Irish Gaelic Expressions

    adhmorortljk2010 Irish blessings are a large part of the warmth of the Irish conversational culture. There are literally thousands of ways to bestow "good luck" upon someone whether they be a family member or a stranger off of the street. Irish Gaelic itself is full of humorous sayings that show both the simple and interesting aspects of the culture in small snippets.

    The following phrases of good luck range from the easy to say in everyday conversation to the more intimate knowledge of the person for whom the blessing is being said. The following phrases are spoken quickly with very little or no pause in between words.

    • Adh mor ort (awn-more-oert): "Good luck to you!" and "Luck to you!"
    • Go n-éirí an t-ádh leat (Guh n'ayr'ee an tah leath): "May luck rise to you!"
    • Go gcuire Dia an t-ádh ort (Guh gir'uh d'eeuh uhn tah ort): This phrase is used to mean "Best of luck to you!" but translates to "May God put luck on you!"
    • Go n-éirí an bóthar leat (guh n'ayr'ee uhn boehuhr l'aet): "May the road succeed with you!"

    Out of these four phrases, the first one is the most common one for bestowing a simple feeling of good luck upon someone. There are more colorful phrases in Irish Gaelic that are close but not necessarily statements of good luck. The following are examples of common expressions that convey blessings to others in a conversation.

    • Sláinte (slawn-Cha): "Good health to you!"
    • Slán agus beannacht leat (slawn ogg-us ban-ocked lyat): "Goodbye and blessings with you!"

    To learn more about Irish Gaelic and the Goidelic Branch of the Celtic languages, read Gaelic vs. Goidelic vs. Gaeilge: What's in a name.

    Image created by Laura Jean Karr