The Interactive Irish Lessons site has a series of lessons based on Mícheál Ó Siadhail’s excellent book Learning Irish; you can read about Ó Siadhail (a fine poet as well as linguist) here and in this LH thread. I may as well point out that Ó Siadhail is pronounced as if it were written O’Shiel, which it often is in Ulster; according to this site, elsewhere “it is usually anglicized as Shields, Sheils, Shiels or Sheilds.” (Via Plep.)


  1. My grandmother spoke English with lots of Irish phrases thrown in. Alas, I have no Irish at all. Maybe I’ll do better with Interactive Irish Lessons on the web than I did with the book and tapes. BTW, why did my grandmother always say “He has no Irish” instead of “He speaks no Irish”?

  2. “He has no Irish” is a direct translation on the way it would be said in Irish “Níl Gaeilge aige”

  3. An even more direct translation would be “there is no Irish on him,” but that’s how you say it in Irish, which has no verb for ‘have.’

  4. idle speculation — could this be the source of English idioms like “Good on you!” and “[How much have you] got on you?”?

  5. LH, my knowledge of Gaelic is limited to the Scottish variety, but I’m pretty sure this particular element is pretty much the same in both languages: aige means ‘at him,’ not ‘on him.’ To say ‘there’s no Gaelic on him’ we would use ‘Nil Gaeilge air,’ as far as I know. Sometimes it’s difficult to know when to use aig or air: in Scottish Gaelic, for example, your first name is ‘on’ you (‘S e Iordan an t-ainm a th’orm), whereas your family name is sometimes ‘at’ you (I might tell someone my family name by saying: ‘s e MacBheatha an cinneadh a th’agam).
    Am I making any sense here? I’ll shut up now.

  6. No, you’re quite right, and I actually thought about translating it “at him,” but somehow it didn’t sound right in English. But for the record: Jordan is correct, ag means ‘at,’ not ‘on.’

  7. what software do i need to play the lessons? Or, what suffix should I put on the files (like .wmvto allow one of my various systems to play a lessosn.

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