Ever since my first visit to Ireland in 2008, I’m obsessively in love with the country having returned multiple times. I just love everything about the Emerald Isle. A part of this fascination concerns the Irish language, Gaeilge. It is the first official language and therefore all street signs are written in Gaeilge (most of them have English ’subtitles‘) and many people have Gaelach names – and that’s a huge problem for a foreigner. Gaeilge just happens to be a language that is completely mental! Don’t get me wrong, I love it – how could I not, since my own name is Gaelach. But I just really don’t know what they were thinking when they decided on the spelling. It just makes no sense whatsoever. Don’t believe me?
Well, how would you pronounce the Gaelach name of Dublin, Baile Átha Cliath? Or Galway, Gaillimh? How about Dún Laoghaire? Or the greeting „Dia dhaoibh“ (pl.)? Or the most important sentence for us readingrats: „I love reading“ – „Is breá liom a bheith ag léamh“? Probably not how they are supposed to be pronounced and unfortunately, I can’t transcribe them phonetically since I don’t know the Irish phonetics and (most of) you don’t know them either. Apologies to my English readers, but I’m going to ‚transcribe‘ them into German spelling only because it’s late – and keep in mind that I learned the Galway version of Connacht Irish: Balla Klia; Gallje; Dan Lierie (rhotic r), D(s)ia rief; Is brah lom weg leef.
And yet, Irish is absolutely gorgeous and so. much. fun. I mean, you can make fun mnemonics, for example, ASoIaF Shae is exaclty pronounced like (a) sé – and now guess what number that is (again, German is helpful in this case). Or you can translate popular songs into Gaeilge and have music that is fun to listen to, helps practice your pronuncation, puts you into good humour – and makes you survive writing your bachelor thesis. That’s what Coláiste Lurgan is doing as part of their summer school project to add zest to Gaeilge for teens. They are absolutely fantastic – and the best part: you can download all their songs for FREE here – and check out their other videos here.
So, have you ever wondered how Macklemore, Avicii, Imagine Dragons, FUN, or Bastille sound in Gaeilge? Well, here you go (lyrics are in the info boxes on youtube, in case you want to see how crazy the spelling vs. pronunciation really is):