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What is the Irish for 'hawthorn'?

useful phrases

Do you know your plants in Irish?

Watch the short clip above and listen to how five of the most common plants/flowers are pronounced.


Daisy / Nóinín

If you know the Irish for 'daisy' then it's easy to learn the Irish for 'sunflower': nóinín na gréine / daisy of the sun.

Here's how a 'nóinín' is described in the Foclóir Beag (small dictionary: an Irish / Irish dictionary which you can find on the online dictionary database

bláth geal páirce agus croí buí ann / a bright field flower with a yellow heart.

Nach deas an sainmhíniú é sin! / Isn't that a nice definition!


Dandelion / Caisearbhán

Interestingly enough the Irish word for dandelion, caisearbhán, can also be used to mean a sour person!

Here's the definition from the Foclóir Beag:

planda fiáin comónta a bhfuil bláth buí agus duilleoga eangacha air / a common wild plant which has a yellow flower and indented leaves


Hawthorn / Sceach Gheal

The hawthorn is a very important plant in Irish mythology and folklore, and there are lots of superstitions associated with it. For example, it is considered bad luck to bring a branch of sceach gheal into the house. The hawthorn tree brings luck to the owner of the land on which it grows. The hawthorn tree is a sacred tree and a lone tree must be treated with respect! Cut a lone sceach gheal down at your peril!

The word sceach can be used to describe any kind of shrub, but it can also be used to describe a prickly, difficult person!

The word geal means bright or white, a description of the tree's beautiful white blossoms.

(The Irish for 'moon' is gealach, also containing the root geal, meaning 'bright').


Buttercup / Cam an Ime

Cam means a pot / cup shaped object.

Here is the definition of cam an ime from an Foclóir Beag:

bláth fiáin órbhuí ar dhéanamh cupán / a wild golden flower in the shape of a cup

The buttercup is also known as crobh préacháin (lit. crow's claw).


Clover / Seamair

The English expression 'to be in clover' means to be living prosperously, to be in luck.

There is no mention of clover in the equivalent Irish expressions however.

You might be in clover (in English), but in Irish you'd be either on the pig's back or living the life of the white dog!

bheith ar mhuin na muice / to be on the pig's back

saol an mhadra bháin a bheith agat / to have the life of the white dog (to be living the life of Reilly).

Read more about white dogs and the lives they lead.

Lucky four leaf clover is known as seamair Mhuire in Irish. (lit. Mary's clover).


How to learn Irish

There are lots more posts on my blog with useful expressions to increase your vocabulary in Irish. If you want to see progress fast when learning Irish then make sure to check out my Irish language online courses. There are lots of options to choose from, from total beginner to more advanced. Contact me if you have any questions about which course is the right one for you.


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