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An Aimsir i nGaeilge / The Weather in Irish

useful phrases

If you're learning Irish you may have tried to listen to the Irish language radio station, Raidió na Gaeltachta, and found it very challenging. Here is a simple suggestion as to how you can start to tune your ear in when listening to RnaG! Learn a few important words below first and then watch the short video above.


Raidió na Gaeltachta

The Irish language radio station, RnaG, was founded in 1972. It is available at 93.2 FM in Ireland, and over the internet outside of Ireland. Listening to RnaG is a great way to improve your Irish, but it can be quite challenging. It can even be pretty disheartening if you turn on RnaG and barely catch a word! Why is this?

First of all, don't be disheartened! If you're finding it difficult to make out barely anything of what is being said this just means that you haven't had enough Irish language input yet: you haven't heard enough Irish. If you're a beginner or lower intermediate learner RnaG is probably going to be too difficult for now (apart from my suggestion below).

The Irish that you will hear on RnaG is top quality however, and so for an upper intermediate/advanced learner it really is worthwhile listening to the station as often as possible. It may be a little more challenging as the Irish you will hear is that of native speakers, speaking at normal speed, with no allowance made for slowing down or simplifying their language! It will take time, therefore, to 'tune the ear' into the Irish on RnaG.


An Aimsir / The Weather

Here's my suggestion for tuning your ear into the Irish on RnaG: listen to the weather forecast! There are quite a few reasons for this: the weather forecast is broadcast numerous times each day; the vocabulary used is limited and will become familiar very quickly, and, surprisingly enough, the vocabulary used is actually rather anyone who lives in Ireland knows the weather is used as a start to most conversations! Listening to the weather forecast you will also learn how to talk about directions, how to use numbers correctly for temperatures and the words you will need to talk about different parts of the country. The same sentences are repeated with just a change of details; and the notices themselves are generally short, just 1 - 2 minutes long. 


When to listen to the weather

There is always a short weather bulletin at the end of the six o'clock news. This will usually be at around half past six or so. By the way the news on RnaG is delivered in the following way: National and international stories are broadcast first, followed by nuacht áitiúil/local news from each of the three main Gaeltacht regions: Nuacht an Iarthair (news from the west); Nuacht an Tuaiscirt (news from the north); Nuacht an Deiscirt (news from the south). The weather bulletin is broadcast at the very end of the programme.

RnaG is available on 93.2FM within Ireland, or on satellite/internet outside of Ireland. One of the best ways to listen, however, is via the RTÉ radio player app. Listening on the app allows you to pause and relisten also, and so is much better than listening live.


Stór Focal / Vocabulary

And now it's time to dive into the weather forecast itself! Here are a few words that will most definitely be required:

Báisteach / Rain

Ráigeannaí báistí / Bursts of rain

Brádán báistí / Drizzle

Múraíl báistí / Showers of rain

Sneachta / Snow

Flithshneachta / Sleet

Clocha sneachta / Hailstones

Sioc / Frost

Tréimhsí Gréine / Sunny spells


Séideann an ghaoth / The wind blows

The words for directions in Irish can be a little tricky, without a doubt, but listening to the weather forecast regularly is one of the best ways to become familiar with directions. Wind will always be blowing from a particular direction, so listen out for the following words:

Séidfidh an ghaoth... / the wind will blow...

aduaidh / from the north

aneas / from the south

aniar / from the west

anoir / from the east

Notice that when the wind is blowing from the northwest /southeast / northeast etc. the order of the directions is reversed in Irish: i.e. 'aniar aduaidh' means 'from the northwest', but notice that in Irish the word 'aniar' (from the west) comes first. Don't spend too long thinking about this or you'll drive yourself mad ;-) 

aniar aduaidh / from the northwest 

aniar aneas / from the southwest


An Teocht / The Temperature

Listening to the temperatures in Irish is an easy way to become familiar with counting and numbers. Here are a few important words to do with temperature:

Céim Celsius / Degrees Celsius

An reophointe / Freezing point

Faoi bhun an reophointe / Below freezing point

Os cionn an reophointe / Above freezing point


I hope that the above will help you when learning Irish. Listening to Irish is a really great way to become fluent in Irish, and listening for just a few minutes each day for a month or so will really pay off. If you find Raidió na Gaeltachta too difficult for now don't be disheartened, this just means that you're not ready yet. Coinnigh ort ag foghlaim Gaeilge, keep learning Irish and you'll get there. Maybe take one of my courses: Beginner Irish is the place to start if you are just starting to learn Irish; Beyond Beginner Irish is for intermediate level. Or for the more advanced have a look at the Literature and Poetry courses. (Click here for information on each of the courses). If you've any questions at all don't hesitate to contact me!

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