Language in Co. Mayo

Irish (Gaelic) and English are the two official languages of Ireland.

Although Irish, recognised as a proper language by the European Union, is the native language of Ireland, English is spoken by everyone, and only a few people use it regularly, mainly in the areas called "Gaeltachts".

These regions include the provinces of Connacht, Ulster and Munster, where the three major dialects are spoken.

Did you know?

Some Irish elements can be find in names of towns and villages:
Baile (bally) - town

Caisleàn (cashel) - castle

Cill (kill) - church

Cnoc (knock) - hill

Dun (doon) - fort

Inis (inish) - island

Mòr - big

Sliabh (sleeve)- mountain

In County Mayo, people speak Connaught dialect, but it is possible to recognise some differences.

In the northern part of the county, the dialect of Erris and Achill is very similar to the dialect spoken in Ulster in many aspects of vocabulary and pronunciation (probably due to the immigration of dispossessed people following the Plantation of Ulster).

In the area around Lough Corrib and Lough Mask, the pronunciation is quite similar to that of south Connemara, while the dialect spoken in the rest of the county is much closer to the common Connaught Gaeltacht.

Official documents, street and road signs are bilingual, and some Irish words are often encountered such as Fir (gentlemen), Mna (ladies), Gardaì (police), telefòn (telephone), Siopa (shop) and Oifig an Phoist (post office).

Here are some phrases in the Irish language useful if you are visiting Mayo and want to speak some Irish to the locals:

ENGLISH IRISH
Hello Dia duit (deea gwit)
Hello (reply) Dia is Muire duit (deeas moyra gwit)
Good morning Maidin mhaith (mawjin wah)
Good night Oiche mhaith (eekheh wah)
Goodbye Slàn leat (slawn lyat) when leaving, Slan agat (slawn agut) when staying.
Yes Tà (taw)
No Nil (neel)
Thank you very much Go raibh mìle maith agat (goh rev meela mah agut)
Excuse me Gabh mo leithscèal (gamoh lesh scale)
I'm sorry Tà bròn orm (taw brohn oruhm)
My name is Sean Sean is ainm dom (Shawn is anim dohm)
Nice Go deas (goh dyass)
Cheers! Slainte (slawncha)