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Lá Gaofar / A Windy Day

dialects of irish tips for learning irish useful phrases

There is rarely a shortage of wind on the west coast of Ireland, so if you are going to listen to weather forecasts in Irish make sure that you are familiar with the main words and phrases relating to the wind. Have a listen to the short forecast above, and then read the rest of this article. If you're up for a challenge try out the five questions at the end! 

Speed warning! 

You might need to slow the video down the first time you listen to it. (Hover over the video and the control bar will appear along the bottom. Click on the cogwheel to slow the speed down to 0.5 or 0.75 speed). Listen a couple of times at the slower speed and then try listening once more at the regular speed.

Note that this presenter has Connacht Irish and uses a couple of words which are quite specific to Connacht: muraíl bháistí / showers of rain; scaití / sometimes (instead of the more standard uaireanta or anois is arís); a bheas (instead of 'a bheidh'); cúrsaí nuaíochta (instead of cúrsaí nuachta).


An Ghaoth / The Wind

There are, ar ndóigh / of course, many different kinds of wind, and if you listen regularly to réamhaisnéis na haimsire / the weather forecast you will become familiar with these words very quickly.

Notice, first of all, that gaoth / wind is a feminine noun. This means that when the definite article 'the' an comes before it lenition happens - the sound of the start of the word changes, marked in writing by a séimhiú (h).

Wind             Gaoth

The wind       An ghaoth

By the way, the word 'gaoth' is pronounced a little differently in each of the three dialects. Go to and have a listen:


(Try this out with some other words with 'ao' letter combination e.g. 'saol' / 'naomh' / 'naoi' / 'taobh' and notice the different way in which 'ao' is pronounced in each of the dialects).



A Gentle Breeze

Here are some ways to refer to a breeze in Irish - (three words to know, and which all mean 'breeze' are: feothan / leoithne / séideán)

Feothán farraige / A sea breeze

Séideán gaoithe / A gentle breeze     ('Séid' means 'blow' - so 'séideán gaoithe' is a little puff of wind, i.e. a breeze)

Leoithne gaoithe / A gentle breeze

Gaoth chineálta / a kind wind (i.e. a breeze)

Gaoth éadrom / a light wind

Leoithne fhionnuar / a cool breeze

Leoithne bhog / a soft breeze



The Irish for windy is gaofar. Another useful phrase to know is siotaí gaoithe / gusts of wind

D'ardaigh an ghaoth / the wind increased

Gaoth mheasartha / A moderate wind

Gaoth láidir / A strong wind

Gaoth ropánta / A violent, or blustery, wind


The Four Winds

The wind will always blow (séid) from a particular direction. There are particular words in Irish to describe movement FROM a particular direction, and if you really want to understand the weather forecasts I suggest you learn the following list de ghlanmheabhair / off by heart!

Aniar / from the west   

Anoir / from the east

Aduaidh / from the north

Aneas / from the south

If you have trouble remembering these words then this poem about the four winds will help you.


South west / North east

Unfortunately there are more than just four winds! Winds can blow from the south east; the north west; the north east etc.

Here's a little tip: reverse the order from the English to translate to Irish.


So, 'from the north east' in English must be reversed in Irish, and literally becomes 'from the east from the north'

From the north west / aniar aduaidh (literally 'from the west from the north').

From the south east / anoir aneas  (litearlly 'from the east from the south')


Parts of Ireland

In weather forecasts it is very common that weather will vary regionally, of course, and so it is important to know the words for the north, south, east and west of the country.

The north / An tuaisceart

The south / An deisceart

The east / an t-oirthear

The west / an t-iarthar


Dúshlán / A Challenge

Are you ready for a dúshlán / challenge?

Using the vocabulary above see if you can translate the following sentences into Irish. 

A wind will blow / Séidfidh gaoth


1. A strong wind will blow from the west

2. A soft wind will blow from the east

3. A violent wind will blow from the north

4. A light wind will blow from the south

5. A moderate wind will blow from the south east


Scroll past this short ad break for the answers....

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Freagraí / Answers

1. Séidfidh gaoth láidir aniar

2. Séidfidh gaoth bhog anoir

3. Séidfidh gaoth ropánta aduaidh

4. Séidfidh gaoth éadrom aneas

5. Séidfidh gaoth mheasarth anoir aneas


Tá súil agam gur éirigh go maith leat! 

I hope you got on well! (but if you didn't ná bí buartha...just keep listening to the weather forecast as often as you can, and these words will become familiar in no time at all!).


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