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The word 'ceann' in Irish: many uses!

easy grammar tips useful phrases

The word 'ceann' means 'head', but it has a few other very useful meanings in Irish too. Here are some little phrases that it is good to become familiar with.


Put it out of your head!

Let's see the word 'ceann' in action in a few useful phrases in Irish first of all:

Seachain do cheann! / Mind your head!

Tháinig sé i mo cheann / it came into my head, i.e. it occurred to me

D'imigh sé as mo cheann / it went out of my head, i.e. it slipped my mind

Thóg sé isteach ina cheann é / he took it into his head, i.e. he took a notion

Chaith mé as mo cheann é / I threw it out of my mind, i.e. I put it out of my head


This one and that one

'Ceann' is also used to mean 'one' in Irish, as in 'this one' / 'that one'. This is a great word to know when you can't remember the name for something. Instead just point and use 'ceann'! 

Notice how we say 'this' and 'that' in Irish first of all:

This house:   an teach seo   (literally: 'the house this')

That house:   an teach sin    (literally: 'the house that')

As you can see the words 'this' (seo) and 'that' (sin) come after the object, unlike in English, and the article (the/an) is used.

This one:     an ceann seo

That one:    an ceann sin

Tabhair dom an ceann sin / Give me that one

Ní maith liom an ceann seo / I don't like this one

Ná bac leis an gceann sin! / Never mind that one!


The small one, the big one

We use the other 'ceann' again with the adjective after it:

Is maith liom an ceann gorm sin / I like that blue one

An maith leat an ceann beag? / Do you like the small one?

Ní maith liom an ceann mór / I don't like the big one

Tabhair dom an ceann eile / Give me the other one

Tabhair dom an ceann is costasaí atá agat / Give me the most expensive one you have


In a minute

As already explained in this blog post, prepositions don't always quite match up between languages, and using the word 'in' when referring to time is an example of this. 

The word 'ceann' is used in the phrase 'i gceann' to mean 'in' when referring to time.

Think of it as meaning in one of a minute, or in one of an hour or whatever!

i gceann nóiméid / in a minute

i gceann deich nóiméad / in ten minutes

i gceann dhá lá / in two days

i gceann seachtaine / in a week

i gceann míosa / in a month

i gceann bliana / in a year

i gceann tamaill / in a while

i gceann tamaillín / in a little while


(You might have noticed that the words in italics in the list above are in the genitive case. This is because the phrase 'i gceann' is followed by the genitive form of a word. You can find the genitive form of a word in the dictionary, but the list of phrases above is used so commonly that they will quickly come on your ear. If you've only started learning Irish don't worry about the genitive case for now!)


Beidh sí anseo i gceann dhá lá / She will be here in two days (time)

Beidh mé leat i gceann nóiméid / I will be with you in a minute

Tiocfaidh sí abhaile i gceann míosa / She will come home in a month


I hope that this short video and post have helped you to learn a little more Irish! I teach Irish language courses to all levels. Have a look at the Irish language courses I offer here; I offer courses from Beginner Irish to Intermediate level Irish. There are also Learning Irish Through Literature and Learning Irish Through Poetry courses, which are aimed at intermediate and advanced learners. If you've any questions at all about my Irish language courses, which are a really easy way to learn Irish, just contact me.


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