Treoir / Instructions A translation of the dialogue below is available further down the page. Even if your knowledge of Irish is very limited, try reading the dialogue initially without looking at the translation – you should be able to guess the meaning of some of the phrases from the context. Once you’re familiar with the dialogue, click the "Test yourself!" button to check your knowledge. This facility will be available shortly.Liam is twenty-nine years old and lives in the Donegal Gaeltacht. He’s from a mixed farming background but now works as a shop manager in Letterkenny.
Bairbre, who is twenty-eight, is originally from Cavan, but now lives in Dublin, where she works as a nurse. She met Liam while attending an Irish course in Donegal over five years ago. They dated for two-and-a-half years but split up when Liam discovered that had gone back to her former fiancée behind his back. Their separation was not amicable.
Liam has not seen Bairbre now since the end of January 2004. He recently bumped into an old friend of hers, Julie, on the street during a visit to Dublin. He’s been toying with the idea of ringing Bairbre and he finally plucks up the courage to do so.
Liam: Hi, a Bhairbre, cad é mar atá tú? Is fada an lá ...
Bairbre: Liam! Ní raibh mé ag súil le cluinstin uaitse!
Liam: An bhfuil mé ag cur scairte ort ag drocham? Thig liom ...
Bairbre: Tá tú go breá. Tá mé liom féin anseo ag amharc ar an teilifís. Níl mórán air, mar is gnách.
Liam: Casadh Julie orm le gairid agus bhí muid ag caint fút.
Bairbre: Chuir sí scairt orm an tseachtain seo caite. Bhí sí ag rá gur chas sí leat.
Liam: Bhí mé ar mire leat agus iontach gortaithe i ndiaidh an mhéid a tharla eadrainn ach ...
Bairbre: Tá a fhios agam agus rinne mé cúpla iarracht teagmháil a dhéanamh leat ach ní raibh tú sásta labhairt liom.
Liam: Tá a fhios agam nach raibh. Bhí mé go mór trína chéile. Ach tá sin trí bliana ó shin agus sílim gur cheart dúinn bheith cairdiúil le chéile arís.
Bairbre: Tá an-áthas orm sin a chluinstin. Tá saol róghairid le bheith ag troid. Cad é mar atá tú na laethanta seo cibé?
Liam: Tá mé maith go leor. Ag obair liom. Tá mé ag déanamh cúrsa páirtaimseartha Gaeilge fosta – Dioplóma sa Ghaeilge Fheidhmeach. Ní bhíonn ann ach oíche sa tseachtain.
Bairbre: Go maith.
Liam: Cad é mar atá Noel?
Bairbre: Leis an fhírinne a rá leat, b’fhearr liom gan labhairt leat faoi. Tá brón orm.
Liam: Tuigim do chás. Éist, beidh mise i mBaile Átha Cliath i gceann deich lá. An mbeadh fonn ort cupán caife a ól?
Bairbre: Cinnte. Ba bhreá liom.
Aistriúchán / Translation
Liam: Hi Bairbre, how are you? It’s been a while ...
Bairbre: Liam! I wasn’t expecting to hear from you!
Liam: Am I calling you at a bad time? I can ...
Bairbre: You’re fine. I’m on my own here, watching television. There’s not much on, as usual.
Liam: I met Julie recently and we were talking about you.
Bairbre: She rang me last week. She was saying she met you.
Liam: I was angry with you and very hurt after what happened between us but ...
Bairbre: I know and I made a few attempts to call you but you weren’t willing to talk to me.
Liam: I know I wasn’t. I was really upset. But that’s three years ago and I think we should be friends again.
Bairbre: I’m really happy to hear that. Life’s too short to be fighting. How are you these days anyway?
Liam: I’m okay. Working away. I’m doing a part-time Irish language course as well – Diploma in Applied Irish. It’s only one night a week.
Liam: How’s Noel?
Bairbre: To be honest with you, I’d rather not talk to you about him. I’m sorry.
Liam: I understand. Look, I’ll be in Dublin in ten days time. Would you fancy having a cup of coffee?
Bairbre: Sure. I’d love to.
Gramadach / GrammarCluinstin *is the Ulster Irish equivalent of *cloisteáil (to hear). Liam asks the question An bhfuil mé ag cur scairte ort ag drocham? (Am I calling you at a bad time?) in the above dialogue. A speaker of one of the other dialects would use glaoch instead of ag cur scairte:
An bhfuil mé ag glaoch ort ag drocham?Tá verb cas (meet) can be used in different ways. All three sentences below mean I met Julie.
* *Casadh Julie orm.
Casadh Julie dom.
Chas mé le Julie.
Nouns which follow* cúpla* (a few) remain in the singular and don’t undergo any change:
iarracht (attempt) cúpla iarracht (a few attempts)
cara (a friend) cúpla cara (a few friends)Sásta usually means satisfied or pleased but in the following example, taken from the dialogue, it means willing:
Ní raibh tú sásta labhairt liom. (You weren’t willing to talk to me.)
Notice how you say one night a week or one day a week in Irish:
oíche sa tseachtain (literally, one night in the week)
lá sa tseachtain (literally, one day in the week)
Tuigim do chás literally means I understand your case.I gceann is used to refer to the end of a period of time in the future:
Beidh mise i mBaile Átha Cliath i gceann deich lá. (literally, *I’ll be in Dublin at *
- the end of ten days.*)