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/ *JlL 


P, W, JOYCE, LLD,, T.C.D., M.R.I.A., 

One of ikf. Professors in the Training Department of the 
Commissioners of National Education, Ireland. 




Though this text-book is small, it comprises, I believe, 
everything necessary — so far as grammar is concerned — 
for a student of modern Irish. I have not treated at all 
of the ancient forms of the language ; and I have excluded 
everything in the shape of dissertation : the grammar of 
the modern Irish language, and no more, is here set forth 
in words as few and simple as possible. 

I have not suggested any changes either in spelling or 
in grammatical forms, or attempted innovation of any 
kind : this is a grammar of the language as it actually 
exists in the works of our best writers. 

All the illustrative examples are quotations from 
standard Irish writings ; but though I retain the refer- 
ences, I have not given them in the grammar, as they 
would encumber the book, and impede, rather than facili- 
tate the learner. I may mention here, however, that the 
works from which the examples are chiefly taken, are, 
those of Keating, the publications of the Ossianic Society, 
" The Three Sorrowful Stories of Erin" (viz., " The Fate 
of the Children of Usna," " The Fate of the Children of 
Lir," and " The Fate of the Children of Turenn"), and 
occasionally the " Annals of the Four Masters." The 
language of the various works published by the Archaeo- 
logical and Celtic Societies is generally too antiquated 
to be quoted in a grammar of modern Irish. 

I have all through given word-for-word translations 
of the examples ; free translations would have been more 
pleasant to read, but would have added considerably to 
the learner's difficulty. 

In the last Part — " Idioms" — I have given a popular 
rather than a scientific explanation of the principal idioms 
of the language. Nothing like this is to be found in any 
other Irish Grammar j and I beliere that the learner who 
masters it will be saved much labour and perplexity. 

There are several other Irish Grammars, but none low 
enough in price to be within reach of the many. Who- 
ever wishes to study the Irish language in its ancient a3 
well as in its modern forms, must procure O'Donovan's 
Grammar ; without this great work no one can attain a 
thorough knowledge of the language. I may also men- 
tion " The College Irish Grammar," by the Rev. Ulick J. 
Canon Bourke, in which there is a great amount of mis- 
cellaneous information on the language, proverbs, and 
popular literature of Ireland. 

The labours of the Society for the Preservation of the 
Irish Language have lately given a great impetus to 
Celtic studies. The Society has produced two admirable 
little elementary books (the Fi rst and Second Irish Books) 
and are about to bring out a third all drawn up by the 
members themselves on the plan of the elementary works 
of Smith, Arnold, Ahn, &c. But the want of a very 
cheap and simple text-book on Irish Grammar has been 
much felt ; and this Grammar has been written to supply 
the want. I have written it with the cognisance of the 
Council of the Society, of which I am myself a member. 
It was at first intended that the name of the Society 
should appear on the title-page along with my own name, 
and a resolution to that effect was passed by the 
Council. But I found some difficulty as to the exact 
words, and I have accordingly contented myself with 
mentioning the matter here. 

I acknowledge with thanks that I have received valu- 
able assistance from several gentlemen of the Society, 
who read every word of my proofs, suggesting various 
corrections, alterations, and improvements. One member 
in particular, Mr. John Fleming of Rathgormuck, in the 
county "Waterford, read all my manuscript in the first 
instance, and all the proof-sheets afterwards. Mr. 
Fleming's assistance was invaluable to me, for he pos- 
sesses an intimate knowledge of modern Irish Grammar, 
language, and literature, and what is still better, much 
sound sense and clear critical judgment. 

Dublin, November, 1878. 






i. Letters ... . . .. ... ... 1 

II. Diphthongs ... ... ... ... 4 

in. Triphthongs ... .. ... ... 6 

iv. Various Sounds ... ... ... ... 6 


i. Aspiration ... ... ... ... 8 

ii. Rules for Aspiration ... ... ... 9 

in. Eclipsis ... ... ... 10 

iv. Rules for Eclipsis ... ... ... 11 

v. Caol le caol agup leacan le leatan ... 13 

vi. Syncope ... ... ... 14 




I. Change of form in the Article ... ... 16 

II. Changes produced by the Article ... ... 17 

Singular ... .„ ... ... 17 

Plural 18 




I. Gender ... ... ... 18 

Masculine ... ... ... ... 19 

Feminine ... ... ... ... 19 

ii. Declensions ... ... ... ... 20 

Cases ... ... ... 20 

First Declension ... ... ... 21 

Second Declension ... ... ,.. 23 

Third Declension ... ... ... 25 

Fourth Declension ... ... ... 27 

Fifth Declension ... ... ... 28 

Irregular Declension ... ... ... 28 

Declension of the Article with the Noun ... 30 


I. Declension of Adjectives ... ... ... 32 

First Declension ... ... ... 32 

Second Declension ... ... ... 33 

Third Declension ... ... ... 33 

Fourth Declension ... ... ... 34 

ii. Declension of the Article and Adjective with the 

Noun ... ... ... ... 34 

in. Comparison of Adjectives ... ... ... 35 

Irregular Comparison ... ... ... 36 

iv. Numeral Adjectives ... ... .. 37 


I. Personal Pronouns ... ... ... 39 

Declension of Personal Pronouns ... ... 40 

Personal Pronouns compounded with Prepo- 
sitions ... ... ... ... 41 

II. Possessive Pronouns ... ... ... 44 

Possessive Pronouns compounded with Pre- 
positions ... ... ... ... 4£ 

in. Relative Pronouns ... ... ... 46 

iv. Demonstrative Pronouns ... ... ... 47 

v. Interrogative Pronouns ... ... ... 47 

vi. Indefinite Pronouns ... ... ... 47 


I. Persons : Synthetic and Analytic forms 
II. Tenses ... 
in. Moods and Voices 
iv. Conjugation of the regular Verb buml 
iv. Relative form of the Verb ... 
v. Formation and uses of the moods and 

Regular Verbs 
vi. Verbs in U15, il, m, íp, ip ... 

Paradigm of the regular Verb meall 
Paradigm of the regular Verb dpOuig 
\li. Irregular Verbs ... 

1. Gdim, I am .. 

2. Ip, it is ... 

3. bheipim, I give 

4. beipim, I bear 

5. Chim, I see 

6. Clumim, I hear 

7. Oecinaim, I do 

8. 5ni™ or nim, Ido ... 

9. Oeipim, I say 

10. pa^cum or geibim, I find ... 

11. lcim, I eat 

12. TCigim, I reach 

13. Céióirn, I go 
H Gi5im,Icome 

Other Defective Verb3 







1. Adverbs ... ... ... 85 

11. Prepositions . . ... ... ... 87 

in. Conjunctions ... ... ... ... 89 

iv. Interjections ... ... 90 


1. Prefixes ... ... ... 91 

II. Affixes or terminations ... ... ... 93 






Agreement and collocation of the Adjective 

and Noun ... ... ... " ... 100 



I. Personal Pronouns ... .., ... 105 

ii. Possessive Pronouns ... ... ... 106 

in. Relative Pronouns ... ... ... ... 107 

iv. Demonstrative Pronouns ... ... ... 10'J 

v. Interrogative and Indefinite? Pronouns ... 109 





Explanation and illustration of forty -three Idioms 

of the Irish Language ... ... ... 116 


Additional examples of declensions of Nouns ... 136 





1. The Irish alphabet consists of eighteen 
letters, of which thirteen are consonants and five 
are vowels. 

2. The five vowels are a, e, i, o, u ; of 
which a, o, u are broad, and e, l are slender. 

3. Each consonant (with the exceptions men- 
tioned below) has a broad and a slender sound. 
When a consonant comes immediately after or 
before a broad vowel, it has its broad sound: 
when it comes after or before a slender vowel, it 
has its slender sound. But this does not apply to 
b, p, h, m, p, each of which has one sound only, 
whether joined with a broad vowel or a slender 

4. Vowels are either long or short. A long 
vowel is usually marked by an accent; as ban, 
white : a short vowel has no mark ; as mac, a son. 



5. The Irish vowels, like the English, have an 
obscure sound in unaccented syllables, of which 
it is not necessary to take further notice here. 

6. The following are the usual sounds of the 
Irish letters, so far as they can be represented by 
English letters. 

7. Those marked with asterisks are only imperfectly re- 
presented in sound by the corresponding English letters : 
those not so marked are represented perfectly or very nearly so. 

8. The sounds of the marked letters must be learned by 
ear : it is hardly possible to give in writing such a descrip- 
tion of them as would enable a learner to utter them. 

9. C is equal to k, yet when it comes before the diph- 
thong ao or the triphthong aoi, beginners find it very hard to 
áound it : caol (narrow) is neither kail or quail, but some- 
thing between : caom (gentle) is neither keen or queen, 
but something between. 

10. So also with 5, which (broad and slender) is equal to 
g in got and get : yet 5C10I is hard for a beginner to utter, 
being neither gail nor gwail, but something between. 

11. The Irish broad and C bear the same relation to each 
other as the English d and t ; that is, the first in each case 
is flat or soft, and the second sharp or hard. English d and 
t are sounded by placing the tip of the tongue against the 
roof of the mouth : Irish and c by placing the top of the 
tongue against the upper front teeth. Irish and c may be 
described in another way : the two sounds of th in those and 
thumb are both continuous, the first flat, the second sharp. 
Now the two explosive sounds corresponding to these two con- 
tinuous sounds (i.e., with the tongue in the same position), are 
exactly the Irish and c. 

12. Broad I and n are sounded by placing the top of the 
tongue (not against the roof of the mouth as in case of 
English I and n but) against the upper front teeth. Irish 
O and c are to English d and t as Irish I or n to English lorn. 

13. Slender p is the most difficult of all the Irish conso- 
nantal sounds : and learners, unless Uiey have acquired it in 
youth, often iafl to articulate it correctly, though the teacher 
inaj sotind & ewer and over again for their imitation. 

V . As h represents a mere breathing or aspiration and 
not an articulate sound, and as it never begins a word, some 
writers exclude it from the letters, thus making seventeen 
instead of eighteen, as given here. 







ong or 

broad or 


sounds. ) 

English sounds. 







Ion , 

lawn, ball 
bat or what 
























; ; 














get, gimlet 




a h-anam 







seen ( 

* i 












* N 
















love, run 












* >» 










• c 
















moor, r«de 
| put, bull 

15. The following are the native names of the Iri9a letters, but 
they need not be used by the learner. All or most of them are 
the names of trees. Gilm, a ; beic, b ; coll, c ; baip, d ; eaba, 
e; peapn, /; sojic, g; uafc, h; 105a, tjluif,/; mum, m; 
num, n; oip or onn, 0; peic-bog, p; puip, r ; puil, s; ceine, 
t; tip, «. 



1. There are thirteen diphthongs in the Irish 
language — viz., ae, ao, eu, ia, ua, ai, ea, ei, eo, 
10, iu, 01, ui ; of which the first five are always 
long, and the remaining eight are sometimes long 
and sometimes short. 

2. The following are the sounds of the five 
long diphthongs : — 

3. ae sounds like ay in day ; as pae, the moon, 
pronounced ray. 

4. ao, in the southern half of Ireland, sounds 
nearly like way, and in the west and north-west 
somewhat like we. Thus maop, a steward, is 
pronounced like mwair in the south, and like 
mweer in the west and north-west. 

5. eu like ai in lair ; as in peup, grass, 
pronounced fair. 

6. ia like ee in beer; as in ciap, dark-coloured, 
pronounced keer. 

7. ua nearly like oe in doer ; as in luan, Monday, 
pronounced loo-an. 

8. The following are the sounds of the eight 
diphthongs that are sometimes long and 
sometimes short. When these diphthongs are 
long there is an accent over one of the vowels : 
when short there is no accent. 

9. di long has an accent over the a, and sounds 
something like the awi in drawing ; as in cam, 
tribute, pronouncea caw-tn. 

ai short is sounded something like the a in 
valiant or the o in collier ; as in maic, good, whose 
sound is very nearly represented by moh. 

In Ulster, ai short is pronounced like short e in 
bell; as in aipioc, restitution, which is pronounced 
jshoc in the north, and ashoc in the south and west. 

10. éa long has an accent over the e, and sounds 


like ea in hem; thus méap, a finger, is pro- 
nounced mare. 

ea short sounds like ea in heart (but shorter) ; 
as in peap, knowledge, pronounced /ass. 

11. éi long has an accent over the e, and sounds 
like ei in rein; as péim, a course, pronounced raim. 

ei short, like e in **#; as in oeip, a basket, 
sounded like kesh. 

12. eo long has an accent over the o, and is 
sounded nearly like long English o with a slight 
sound of y before it ; as in ceól, music, which will 
be correctly pronounced if a k sound is put before 
the word yole. 

eo short, nearly like u in shut, with y before it ; 
as in t>eoc, drink. 

Note. — This diphthong is short in only a very 
few words. 

13. io long has an accent over the i, and sounds 
very like ea in hear ; as in pion, wine, pronounced 
feen or fee-on. 

io short, nearly like short *; as in miopp, myrrh, 
which has nearly the same sound as the first syl- 
lable of mirror. 

14. iú long has an accent over the u, and has 
the same sound as the diphthongal English u in 
tune ; as in piú, worthy, which is sounded exactly 
like few. 

iu short is sounded like the u in put, with a y 
before it; as in pliuc, wet. 

15. oi long has an accent over the o, and is 
sounded like the owi in owing ; as in poll, a while, 
pronounced fo-il. 

oi short like the o in love, with a very short i at 
the end ; as in coil, the will. 

16. úi long, with an accent over the u, ia 
sounded like ooi in cooing ; as pull, the eye, pro- 
nounced 800-U. 


ui long, with an accent over the i, has nearly the 
same sound as we; as in buioe, yellow, which is 
pronounced bivee. 

ui short is like the uiiu quill; as in puipeog, a 
lark, pronounced fwit ' 


1. There are commonly reckoned five triphthongs, 
which are always long: — aoi, eoi, lai, iui, uai. 

2. Ooi is sounded very like we, as in maoin, 
wealth, pronounced mween. 

3. Goi is sounded like the yoi in the combination 
yo-ing ; as in peoil, flesh, which will be correctly 
pronounced if the sound of / is put before the 
combination yo-il. 

4. lai is sounded like eei in seeing ; as liaig, a 

5. Iui like the ewi in mewing ; as ciuin, gentle. 

6. Uai like ooi in cooing; as buail, strike, which 
is sounded hoo-il. 

7. The preceding attempts to represent the sounds of the 
diphthongs and triphthongs are in many cases mere approxima- 
tions. The student must hear them pronounced, and in no 
other way is it possible to learn to sound them correctly. 


1. a and o before m, nn, 11, or n^, in mono- 
syllables, and often before nc and nc, are sounded 
in Munster like the ou in foul; as cam, crooked, 
and coll, hazel, pronounced cowm and cowl; and 
gleanncdn, a small glen, pronounced glounthaun : 
and o before 6 and $ has often the same sound ; 
as poslaim, learning, pronounced fowlim. 

2. Qó and a£ are often sounded like long 
English i in fine ; as paftapc, sight, pronounced 


ry-arh; labap, a fork, pronounced lyre; niabm, a 
breach, pronounced mime. 

3. The termination ao is pronounced in Con- 
naught nearly the same as oo : thus bualab, strik- 
ing, is pronounced looloo in Connaught, but boola 
in Munster. 

4. In the combination Dl, the b is silent, and 
the whole is sounded like I or 11 ; as coblcib, sleep, 
pronounced culla. 

5. In the combination In, the n is silent, and the 
whole is sounded like I or 11 ; as coin a, of a body, 
pronounced culla. 

6. In the combination bn, the t> is silent, and 
the whole is sounded the same as n or nn ; as 
céabna, the same, pronounced Jcaina. 

7. Final e is never entirely silent in Irish as it 
is in English; thus mine, smoothness, is pro- 
nounced meena. In some situations it is very 
nearly silent in the modern language ; as in 
cnoibe, a heart, pronounced cree. 

8. There are some Irish consonants which, when 
they come together in a word, do not coalesce in 
sound, so that when they are uttered, a very short 
obscure vowel sound is heard between them. 

This generally occurs in the case of two liquids, 
or a liquid and a mute. Thus lop 5, a track, is 
pronounced so as to seem, to an ear accustomed to 
English, a word of two syllables; not lurg but 
lurrug. Dealb, a shape, is sounded, not dah, but 
dallcw ; peapb, bitter, is sounded sharrav ; bopb, 
proud, is pronounced hirrub ; C0I5, a sword, 
cullug, and so on. In Irish prosody, however, 
such words as these count as only one syllable. 

In the English language no such difficulty exists 
in regard to most of these letters ; they coalesce 
perfectly in sound, so that each of the above 
words would be a pure monosyllable. 




1. The term "aspiration" is used to express a 
certain change of sound suffered by some of the 
Irish consonants under certain grammatical con- 

2. It is impossible to give a definition of aspiration that 
will correctly describe all the cases, inasmuch as the changes 
of sound vary in kind with the several consonants. In most 
cases the change caused by aspiration is one from an explosive 
to a continuous sound. 

3. There are nine consonants which can be 
aspirated, namely, b, c, b, p, 5, m, p, p, c ; these 
are called mutable or aspirable consonants ; the 
others are called immutable. The aspiration is 
denoted either by placing a point over the con- 
sonant, as c ; or by placing h after it, as ch. 

4. The following are the sounds of the aspirated 
consonants so far as they can be represented by 
English letters. 

5. t>h or b is sounded sometimes like v and some- 
times like w, and it often has a sound something 
between both ; as a bean, his wife, pronounced 
a van ; ^abal, a fork, pronounced gowal. 

6. Ch broad has a guttural sound which is not 
represented in English ; but it is heard in the pro- 
nunciation of the word lough, Irish loc, a lake. 

Ch slender (i.e. joined with a slender vowel) has 
a less guttural sound than c broad; as miciall, 
folly, in which the c sound is only a little more 
guttural than h in mee-heel. 

7. T)h and 5 have the same sound. When slender, 
they are sounded like initial y in English; as 
a gecm, his love, pronounced a yan. T)h and & 


broad have a guttural sound which cannot be re- 
presented by English letters, though it is some- 
thing- like initial y or initial to ; it stands to the 
guttural sound of broad c in the relation of flat to 
hard. Both these aspirated letters are silent at 
the end of a word; as piaó, a deer, pronounced/^-». 
But in south Minister the final g is fully sounded, like g 
in fig : as Copcaig (dative of Copcac, Cork), pronounced 
curkig in Minister, but curlcec elsewhere. 

8. ph is always silent; thus a pi op, his know- 
ledge, is pronounced a iss ; an peaoog, the plover, 
pronounced an addoge. 

9. lllli is very nearly the same as b, viz., like v 
or to ; as a liiiap, his dish, pronounced a vee-as. 

10. ph has the sound of /, as a ]bian, his pain, 
pronounced afee-an. 

11. Sli and ó are the same as h ; as a pal, his 
heel, pronounced a haul ; a éobap, his well, pro- 
nounced a J 


1. The possessive pronouns mo, my; Do, thy; 
and a, his, aspirate the first consonant of the next 
word : as mo bo, my cow ; t)0 cecmii, thy head ; 
a gopc, his garden. 

2. The article aspirates in the singular feminine 
nominative and accusative ;f as an bean, the 
woman. (See also p. 18, Par. 6, and p 31.) 

3. The article aspirates in the genitive singidar 
masculine ; as an guipc, of the garden. 

* These rules cannot be fully understood without a know- 
ledge of Etymology. It must be borne in mind that they 
apply only to the aspirable or mutable consonants. 

f Irish nouns have no inflection for the accusative (or ob- 
jective) case ; but it is often convenient to speak of nouns 
in the accusative, by which is meant the case where the noun 
is the object of a transitive verb, or sometimes of a preposi- 


Note. — This rule and the preceding do not apply to the 
letter p. (See also p. 18, Par. 6, and p. 31.) 

4. In compound words, the initial consonant of 
the second word of the compound is aspirated 
(with a few exceptions) : thus from ceann, a 
head, and bpox, a garment, is formed ceannbpac, 
head-garment or canopy. (See also p. 34, Par. 2.) 

5. The interjections a and O, as signs of the 
vocative case, aspirate ; as a pip, man. 

6. An adjective agreeing with a noun has its 
initial consonant aspirated when the noun is 
nominative singular feminine, or genitive singular 
masculine, or vocative singular of both genders ; 
and, according to O'Donovan, in the nominative 
plural masculine, when the noun ends in a conso- 
nant ; as bó bdn, a white cow ; caic báin, of a 
white cat; a pip n'ióip, great man; a bean 
peirii, mild woman ; capaiU bona, white horses. 
(t> and c are sometimes excepted: see p. 34.) 

7. The initial consonant of a verb is aspirated 
(1) in the infinitive mood by the particles Oo and 
a; as bo óéanaó or a óécmab, to do: (2), in the 
simple past tense, active voice ; as bo peap pé, lie 
stood : (3) by the particles ni, not, and má, 
if: as ni beib pi, she will not be; md peapann 
pé, if he stands; (4), by the relative a, who, 
(expressed or understood) ; as an có a buaileap 
the person who strikes. (See also pp. 58 and 60.) 

8. The simple prepositions, with some excep- 
tions, aspirate the initial consonants of nouns : as 
aip bdpp, on top; Oo lfmllac, to a summit; paoi 
$ean, under affection. 


1. A consonant is said to be eclipsed, or to suffer 
eclipsis, when its sound is suppressed, and th- 
sound of another consonant which is prefixed to 
it, substituted: thus in n-odn, is eclipsed b} T n 


and the whole word is pronounced nawn, whereas 
ban is pronounced daivn. It is only at the be- 
ginning of words that consonants are eclipsed. 

2. The following eight consonants can be 
eclipsed: — b, c, b, p, 5, p, p, c; the others cannot. 
Between the eclipsing and the eclipsed letter there 
is usually placed a hyphen, as m-bdpb ; but often 
they are put together without any separating 
mark, as bpopc. Sometimes eclipsis is denoted 
by the doubling of the eclipsed letter; thus 
a ccapb is the same as a b-capb, their bull. 

3. Each consonant has an eclipsing letter of 
its own. 

4. t) is eclipsed by m : as a m-bdpb, their bard, 
pronounced a mawrd. 

5. C is eclipsed by 5 : as a 5- coll, their hazel, 
pronounced a gowl or a gull. 

6. t) by n ; as a n-bop, their bush, pronounced 
a nuss. 

7. p by b (which itself sounds like v or w) ; as 
a b-peapcmn, their land, pronounced a varran. 

8. 5 is eclipsed by n. But this is not a true 
eclipsis, for the resulting sound is not that of n, 
but the sound of English ng ; thus a n^ioHa, 
their servant, is pronounced ang-itta. 

9. p is eclipsed by b ; as a b-picm, their pain, 
pronounced a bee-an. 

10. S is eclipsed by c, as in an c-púil, the eye, 
pronounced an too-il. 

11. C is eclipsed by b ; as a b-cál, their adze, 
pronounced a clawl. 


1. The possessive pronouns plural — dp, our. 

* These rules apply of course only to those consonants 
that can be eclipsed. The rules for eclipsis, like those for 
aspiration, suppose a knowledge of Etymology. 


uup, your; a, their; eclipse the initial consonant 
of the next word ; as áp b-ci$eapna, our Lord ; 
blip 5-cpann, your tree ; a b-pdipc, their field.* 

2. The article eclipses the initial consonant of 
nouns in the genitive plural; as ceac na m-bdpb, 
the house of the bards; <5°P C na 5-capaU, the 
field of the horses. 

3. When a simple preposition is followed by 
the article and a noun in the singular number, the 
initial consonant of the noun is generally eclipsed ; 
as dip an m-bópb, on the table; ó'n b-paipge, from 
the sea. (See p. 31 ; see also Syntax.) 

4. The initial consonant of a verb is eclipsed 
after the interrogative particles a, an, cd, nac; also 
after 50, that; inuna, unless; lap, after; bd, if; 
and after the relative a preceded by a preposition ; 
as am-beipeann pe? Does he bear? an m-buail- 
eann cú ? Dost thou strike? cd b-puil pi? 
Where is she ? nacb-cuigeann cu? Dostthounot 
understand? 50 m-beannaige t>ia buic, may 
God bless thee ; inuna b-cuicpip, unless thou shalt 
fall; t)á n-beappainn, if I would say ; an rip ann 
a b-camic piab, the country into which they 

5. When a noun beginning with p is preceded 
by the article, the p is eclipsed when the noun is 
nominative feminine, or genitive masculine, and 
generally in the dative of both genders, as an 
c-paoippe(fem.), the freedom; ^opcan c-pagaipc, 
the field of the priest ; aip an c-paogal, or ap an 
paogal, in the world. But if the p is followed by 
b, c, b, 5, m, p, or c, it is not eclipsed ; as ^leann 
an pmóil, the valley of the thrush ; loc an pcdil, 
the lake of the champion. (See pp. 30 and 31.) 

* Rules 1, 2, 3, 4, do not apply to p. See for this letter 
Ruie 5. 


6. The following rule is usually given with the 
rules for eclipsis : — 

When a word begins with a vowel, the letter 
n is generally prefixed in all cases where an 
initial consonant (except p) would be eclipsed ; as 
a n-apdn, their bread ; loc na n-écm, the lake of 
the birds.* 

v. Caollecaol agup leaócm le leacan, or slen- 

1. If a consonant or any combination of conso- 
nants comes between two vowels, they must be 
either both slender or both broad ; thus in polap, 
light, the o and the a are both broad vowels; and in 
cmneap, sickness, the 1 and the e are both slender 
vowels. But such combinations as polip and 
cinnap are not allowable, because the o and^the 1 
in the first case, and the 1 and the a in the second 
case, are one of them broad and the other slender. 

2. In compliance with this rule, when two words, or a 
word and a syllable, are joined together, so that in the result- 
ing word a consonant or consonantal combination would fall 
between two vowels, one of them broad and the other slender, 
then either the broad vowel must be made slender or the 
slender one broad, to bring them to an agreement. 

3. Sometimes the broad vowel is changed to make it agree 
with the slender vowel ; sometimes the slender vowel is made 
broad to agree with the broad vowel ; sometimes it is the 
vowel before the consonant that is changed ; sometimes the 
change is made in the vowel after the consonant. A prefix 
is generally changed to suit the word it is joined to, not the 
reverse ; thus when com is prefixed to peaparh, standing, the 
word is cóntipeaparh, competition, not corhpaparh. 

* For a very detailed and clear statement of the laws of 
aspiration and eclipsis, see the Second Irish Book by the 
Society for the preservation of the Irish Language. 

fThis rule is very generally, but not universally, followed 
in the Irish language. 


4. Changing a broad vowel to a slender is called in Irish 
caolujjaO (i.e., making slender, from caol, slender), and in 
English attenuation ; changing from slender to broad is called 
in Irish leacnu^aO (i.e., making broad, from leacan, broad). 

5. Attenuation takes place chiefly in two ways : — first by 
putting a slender vowel between the broad vowel and the 
consonant, as when ball, a spot, is changed to baill, spots ; 
or when p<3 is postfixed to buail, and the resulting word is 
buailped, not buailpd : secondly, by removing the broad 
vowel which precedes or follows the consonant, and putting 
a slender vowel in its place ; as when ceann, a head, ie 
changed to cmn, of a head. 

6. In like manner " making broad " takes place chiefly in 
two ways, which are the reverse of the two preceding. 

7. The following examples will illustrate the preceding 
rules and remarks : — 

8. When the future termination pat) is added to buail, the 
resulting word is not buailpat), but buailpeat», I shall strike. 

9. When the infinitive termination at) is added to buail, 
the resulting word is not buailaO but bualaO. 

10. When mop, great, is prefixed to cion, love, the com- 
pound is not niópcion but móipcion, great love. 

11. When ceann, head, is prefixed to licip, a letter, the 
compound is not ceannlicip but cmnlicip, a head-letter or 
capital letter. (This is a case of irregular attenuation.) 

12. When the diminutive termination 65 is added tocuil, 
the resulting word is not CU1I65 but cuileóg, a fly. 

13. When e is added to opbóg, a thumb, to inflect it for the 
genitive, the word is not opOóse but opbóise, of a thumb. 

14. When the diminutive termination in is added to ca- 
pall, a horse, the whole word is not capallin but capaillin. 


1. Syncope, or the omission of one or more letters 
from the body of a word, is very common in Irish. 

2. When a short vowel occurs between a liquid 
(I, n, p, or p) and a mute, or between two liquids, 
the word is often syncopated when it is lengthened 
either by grammatical inflection or otherwise. 


3. The syncope generally consists in the omis- 
sion of the short vowel ; but this change often in- 
volves others in accordance with the rule caol le 
caol &c. ; and is often also accompanied by some 
slight consonantal changes. 

4. The following examples exhibit the chief 
types of syncope. 

5. Ldnarha, a married couple ; plural Idnariina, 
contracted from Idnaiiiana. 

6. Lapaip, aflame; plural lappaca, contracted 
from lapapaca. 

7. pocal, a word ; poclóip, a dictionary, con- 
tracted from pocalóip. 

8. Sonbip, rich; comparative paibpe, contracted 
from paibipe. 

9. Cacaip, a city; genitive coxpac, contracted 
from coxcipac. 

10. piaiceani ail, princely; comparative plaice- 
ariila, contracted from pkncearhala. 

11. Colann, the body, genitive colna, (sometimes 
colla), contracted from colann a. 

12. Cap a, genitive cap ab: the plural is formed by 
adding e to this, which syncopates the second a : 
this would make capoe, which again, in accordance 
with the rule caol le caol &c, is made caipbe. 

13. Uapal, noble, becomes uaiple in the com- 
parative, by a process exactly similar to the last. 

14. pollup, evident, becomes poillpe in the com- 
parative in a similar way. 

15. Gbann, a river : the plural is formed by add- 
ing e ; this causes syncope of the second a and the 
omission of one n, which would make the plural 
abne ; and this again becomes aibne, by the rule 
caol le caol &c. 

16. Labaip, speak (imperative mood); labpaim, 
I speak, contracted from lab a p aim, 



1. There are nine parts of speech in Irish, which 
are the same as those in English. 



1. The Irish language has one article, an, which 
has the same meaning as the English definite 
article the. 

2. The article changes its form according to 
number, gender, and case. 

3. In the singular number the article has the 
form an in all the cases except the genitive femi- 
nine, in which it becomes na ; as caipledn na 
cipce, the castle of the hen. 

In the plural number the article is always na. 

4. In the spoken language the n of an is often omitted 
before a consonant; as ceann a caipb, the head of the bull. 
And this is sometimes found in books also, both printed and 
MS., but it is not to be recommended. 

5. When an follows a preposition ending in a vowel, the a 
is often omitted in writing, but the omission is usually marked 
by an apostrophe; thus, 6 an cip, from the land, is written 
ó'n cíp ; and pd an n5pf:m, under the sun, is written pa'n 


Very often in MSS., and sometimes in printed books, the 
apostrophe in such cases is omitted, and the n of the article 
joined with the preposition ; as ón cíp, ptín njupéin. 

6. In the plural the article (na) is often joined to the pre- 
position ; as bona, for t>o na. 

7. The letter p is inserted between certain prepositions and 
the article an ; and this occasionally leads to combinations 
that might puzzle a learner. Thus ann an leabap, in the 
book, is written annp an leabap, and ip an leabap, which 
is still further shortened to pan leabap : also (omitting the 
n) annpa leabap, and even pa leabap. And in the plural, 
ip na coppaib, " in the bodies " 


1 . The article produces certain changes in the 
initial letters of nonns to which it is prefixed. 

2- These changes are very important, and the learner will 
obtain a clearer view of them by separating the singular from 
the plural. For more on this subject, see page 31. 


1. If the noun begins with an aspirable con- 
sonant (except p, c, b), the article aspirates in the 
nominative feminine, and in the genitive mascu- 
line; as an bó, the cow; cucm an pip riioip, the 
harbour of the great man. 

2. If the noun begins with p, followed by a 
vowel or by I, n, or p, the p is eclipsed by c in 
those cases where, according to the last rule, a 
mutable consonant would be aspirated ; as an 
c-pdl (fern.), the heel ; an c-ppón (fern.), the nose; 
luac an c-ppiam (masc), the price of the bridle. 

3. If the noun begins with a vowel, the article 
prefixes c to the nominative masculine, and h to 
the genitive feminine ; as an c-acaip, the father ; 
Leabap na h-uiope, the book of the dun (cow). 

4. If the noun begins with an eclipsable con- 
sonant (except b or c), the article generally eclipses, 
if it be preceded by a simple preposition ; as aip 


an 5-cpann, on the tree; ó'n b-pocal ibep, "from 
the word ' iber ;' " leip an b-pean, with the man. 

5. But after the prej)Ositions bo and be, the 
article aspirates oftener than it eclipses; asceiépe 
céime bo'n cpiop, four degrees of the zone (Keat- 
ing) ; bo leanabap a 5-copa bo'n cappai^, their 
feet clung to the rock (story of the Children of Lir). 

6. No change is produced by the article in the 
singular number, if the noun begins with I, n, p, 
b, c, or with p before a mute. 


1. If the noun begins with an eclipsable con- 
sonant, the article eclipses in the genitive; as 
imp na b-píobbaó, [the] island of the woods; cailin 
beap cpúióce na m-bo, [the] pretty girl of [the] 
milking of the cows (i.e., the pretty milking girl). 

2. If the noun begins with a vowel, the article 
prefixes n to the genitive, and h to the other 
cases; as cíp na n-ó^, the land of the young 
(people) ; 6 na h-dicib pin, from those places. 

These are the only changes produced by the 
article in the plural. 



1. There are only two genders in the Irish 
language, the masculine and feminine : all Irish 
nouns, therefore, are either masculine or feminine 

2. In ancient Irish there was a neuter gender, but no trace 
of it remains in the modern language. 

3. To know and remember the gender of all ordinary Irish 
nouns is one of the great difficulties in learning the language, 


as it is in learning- French and many other languages. With- 
out this knowledge, which can only be mastered by practice, 
no one can speak or write Irish correctly. 

4. There are a few general rules which will very much 
help the learner to distinguish the gender of nouns : they 
are only general rules, however, subject to many exceptions ; 
and where they do not apply, the student must depend on 
practice and memory, 


1. The following nouns are generally masculine: — 
(1.) Names of males ; as coileac, acock; laoc 

a hero ; Feap, a man. 

(2.) Nouns of more than one syllable, ending 
in a consonant, or two consonants, preceded by 
a broad vowel ; as boicceall, churlishness : except 
(a), derivatives in ace ; (i), diminutives in 65. 

(3.) Nouns ending in óip, aipe, ac, aióe (or oióe, 
or uióe), when they denote personal agents, as they 
generally do ; as ppealaoóip, a mower ; peal^aipe, 
a hunter; ceiceapnac, a soldier — one of a body of 
herns; p^éalaióe orp^éuluióe, a story-teller. 

(4.) Diminutives in cm and abstracts in ap; as 
coiledn, a whelp ; cdipoeap, friendship. 

(5.) Diminutives in in are of the same gender as the nouns 
from which they are derived. 


2. The following nouns are generally femi- 
nine : — 

(1). Names of females ; names of countries, 
rivers, and diseases ; as ceapc, a hen ; Gipe, Ire- 
land; beapba, the Barrow; pldi$, a plague. 

(2). Diminutives in 05, and derivatives in ace ; 
as puipeó^, a lark ; curhpacc, fragrance : and ab- 
stract nouns formed from the genitive feminine of 
adjectives; as t)ai lie, blindness 


(3). Nouns ending in a consonant, or in two 
consonants, preceded by a slender vowel (except 
those inóip); as pull, the eye ; pógluim, learning. 


1. Irish nonns have four cases, that is, four 
different inflections, to express relation : — Nomi- 
native, genitive, dative, and vocative. 

2. The nominative case is the same as the 
nominative in English. 

3. The genitive is the same as what is called 
the possessive case in English. 

4. The dative is the case where a noun is 
governed by a prepositio n. 

5. The vocative case is the same as what is 
called the nominative of address in English. 

6. Irish nouns have different forms for these four cases, 
and for no others. Thus, the four cases of bpaoan, a salmon, 
are for the plural number, as follows: — Nom. bpabám, as 
cpi bpabdm, three salmons ; gen. bpabdn, as loc na 
m-bpat>dn, the lake of the salmons ; dat. bpabdnaib, as bo 
na bpabdnaib, to . the salmons ; voc. bpabdna, as a 
bpabdna, ca b-puil pib 05 but? "O ye salmons, whither 
are ye going ?" 

7. These four cases are not always different in form ; thus 
the four cases of the same noun in the singular number 
are: — Nom, bpabdn ; gen. bpabdin ; dat. bpabdn ; voc. 
bp abdin ; in whieh it will be seen that the dative is the 
same as the nominative, and the vocative the same as the 

8. Those cases whicn aw alifce in form are distinguished 
by the sense ; just as the nominative and objective cases are 
distinguished in English. 

9. Some writers on Irish grammar have put in two more 
cases, in imitation of Latin declension ; the accusative (or, as 
it is called in English, the objective) and the ablative. But 
in 1 ;- i -* 1 ) there are no separate inflections ior them, the accu- 
sative beinsr alunvs the .same in form as Gig nominative. 


and the ablative the same as tne dative ; so that it would bo 
only a useless puzzle to the learner to include thern in a state- 
ment of Irish declension. In certain explanations, however, 
and in the statement of certain rules, it is sometimes con- 
venient to sneak of the accusative case. 

10. Different nouns have different inflections for 
the same case ; thus the datives singular of cop, 
a foot, and bop, a bush, are different, namely, 
coip and bop. But though this variation ex- 
tends to most of the cases, the genitive singular 
is taken as the standard, in comparing the de- 
clension of one noun with the declension of an- 

11. There are five chief ways of forming the 
genitive singular of Irish nouns; and in one or 
another of these ways, far the greatest number of 
nouns in the language form their genitive. There 
are usually reckoned, therefore, five declensions 
of Irish nouns. 

12. Besides these there are other genitive inflections, but 
as no one of them comprises any considerable number of 
nouns, it is not considered necessary to lay down more than 
five declensions. The number of declensions is, however, 
very much a matter of convenience ; and, accordingly, in 
some Irish grammars, there are more than five, and in some 


1. The first declension comprises masculine 
nouns which have their characteristic vowel, that is, 
the last vowel of the nominative singular, broad. 

2. The genitive singular is formed by attenuat- 
ing the broad vowel. 

3. In the singular, the dative is like the nomi- 
native, and the vocative is bike the genitive; in 
the plural, the nominative is generally like the 
genitive singular, and the genitive like the nomi- 
native singular. Example, ball, a member or 





Noin.* ball. Norn. 


Gen. baill. Gen. 


Dat. ball. Dat. 


Voc. a baill. Voc. 

a balla 

4. The number of nouns that belong to this declension is 
very large; but though they all form their genitive singular 
in the same way (except those hi aó, in which there is a slight 
additional change, for which see next paragraph), there area 
few which vary in the formation of other cases. 

5. Nouns in ac, in addition to the attenuation, 
change c into § in the genitive singular ; and 
generally f orm the nominative plural by adding 
e to the genitive singular ; and from this again is 
formed the dative plural in l b, in accordance with 
the rule in Par. 9, page 23. Example, mapcac, a 

Singular. Plural. 

Nom. mapcac. Nom. mapcaige. 

Gen. mapcai<5. Gen. mapcac 

Dat. mapcac. Dat. mapcaigib. 

Voc. a Thapcaig. Voc. a Thapcuca. 

6. A few nouns make their nominative plural 
by an increase in a ; aspeann, a pen; plur. pearma: 
and some of these are syncopated, as uball, an 
apple; plur. ubla. 

7. In a few nouns of this declension the nomi- 
native plural is formed by adding ca or ca to the 
nominative singular ; as peol, a sail ; nom. plur. 
peolca ; dat. plur. peólcaib : múp, a wall; nom. 
plur. mfjpca ; dat. plur. múpcaib. 

8. In many words of one syllable belonging to this declen- 
sion, the attenuation in the genitive singular causes consider- 
able change in the vowel or diphthongal part of the word ; 
thus, copp, a body ; gen. cuipp : íapg, a fish ; gen. éips : 

*It would be well for the learner, when declining nouns, 
to call this " nominative and accusative" all through the de- 

II. J 


necipc, strength; gen. neipc or nipc: peap, a man ; gen. 
pip: cpann, a tree; gen. cpomn : beat, a mouth; gen. 
béil or beoil. 

The three following rules (9, 10, and 11) apply 
to all the declensions. 

9. The dative plural ends in lb. 

This lb corresponds with the Latin dative and ablative 
termination ibtis or bus. It is now very seldom pronounce , . 
but it is nearly always retained in writing ; just as in English, 
gh, which was formerly sounded as a guttural in such words as 
plough, daughter, is retained in writing, though it is no 
ionger pronounced. 

10. The dative plural is formed from the nomi- 
native plural whenever this latter differs from the 
genitive singular : otherwise from the nominative 

11. The vocative is always preceded by the par- 
ticle a or O, which aspirates the initial; as a pip, 
man ; a Tiiná, women ; O cigeapna, Lord. 


1. The second declension comprises most of the 
feminine nouns in the language. 

2. The genitive singular is formed by adding e 
to the nominative. If the characteristic vowel is 
broad, it must be attenuated in accordance with 
the rule caol le caol &c. 

3. The dative singular is formed from the geni- 
tive singular by dropping the final e. 

4. When the characteristic vowel is broad, the 
nominative plural is formed from the nominative 
singular by adding a ; when the characteristic 
yowel is slender, by adding e. 

5. The genitive plural is generally like the nomi- 
native singular. 

6. The vocative is usually the same as the nomi- 
native, and is accordingly omitted from the para- 


First example, pecmipóg, a shamrock. 

Singular. Plural. 

Norn, peampóg. Nom. peomiposa. 

Gen. reampoige. Gen. peampóft. 

Dat. peampóift. Dat. peampogmb. 

iSecond example, péipc, a worm, a beast. 

Singular. Plural. 

Nom. péipc. Nom. péipce. 

Gen. péipce. Gen. peipc. 

Dat. péipc. Dat. péipcib. 

7. Nouns in ac, when they belong to this de- 
clension, change the c to 5 in the genitive singular : 
thus, cldippeac, a harp, is declined as follows: — 

Singular. Plural. 

Nom. cldippeac. Nom. cldippeaca. 

Gen. cldippige. Gen. cldippeac. 

Dat. cldippig. Dat. cldippeacaib. 

8. There are many nouns belonging to this de- 
clension which depart from the general rule laid 
down in Par. 4, in forming their nominative 

9. Some, probably over fifty, form the nomina- 
tive plural by adding anna; and these form the 
genitive plural by dropping the final a of this termi- 
nation; thus, cííip, a cause ; nom. plural curpearma; 
gen. plural, cúipearm ; dat. plural, cúipeannaib. 

10. Some form their nominative plural by adding 
aca : thus, obaip, a work, and opdib, a prayer, 
make oibpeaca and opdibeaca in the nominative 

11. When the characteristic vowel is slender, i': 
is often dropped in the genitive plural ; as pucnm, 
a sound ; gen. plural puam. 

12. When the nominative plural takes ce, the 
genitive plural is formed by adding ab ; as coill, a 
wood; nom. plur. coillcc ; and genitive plural as 


seen in Oiledn na 5-coillceaó, the island of the 

woods (Keating). 

13. There are other variations of the nominative and 
genitive plural ; but they do not comprise any considerable 
number of nouns, and they must be learned by practice. 


1. Nouns belonging to the third declension are 
some of them masculine and some feminine. 

2. The genitive singular is formed by adding a 
to the nominative singular. 

3. The vocative is like the nominative. 

4. The nominative plural is generally formed 
by adding a or e. 

5. The genitive plural is generally like the 
nominative singular. Example, clear, a trick or 

Singular. Plural. 

Nom. cleap. Norn, cleapa. 

Gen. cleara. Gen. cleap. 

Dat. cleap. Dat. cleapaib. 

6. If the characteristic vowel is slender, it must 
be made broad in the genitive singular, in accord- 
ance with the rule caol le caol &c. ; as coil, the 
will, gen. cola. 

7. Sometimes c or c is introduced before the a 
of the genitive singular, which commonly causes 
o£her changes by syncope ; as coOail, sleep ; gen. 
coOalca : buaióipc, trouble, gen. buaióeapca. 

8. This is the case with verbal or participial 
nouns in aó, eaó, and ugao, the genitives of which 
have the same form as their passive participles 
considered as verbs ; and they are all commonly 
reckoned as belonging to this declension, though 
the genitive singular is formed in some by adding 



e, not a; as molaó, praising; gen, molca : píneaó 
stretching; gen. pínce: caolugaó, making slender; 
gen. caoluigée. 

9. Nouns in ace generally, and those in ea^ or 
íop, often, belong to this declension; as clipceacc, 
dexterity ; gen. clipceacca : boilgior, sorrow ; 
gen. boiljiopa. But the greater number of those 
in eap or lop belong to the first declension ; thus 
the last noun, t>oil$iop, is often made ttoiljip in the 
genitive ; and bpormccmap, a gift, makes bponn- 

10. There are forty or fifty nouns (many of them 
ending in íp), which form their genitive singular 
in ac, and which are reckoned as belonging to 
this declension, though some writers arrange them 
under a separate declension; as cacaip, a city; 
gen. cacpac : Ceariiaip, Tara, gen. Geariipac : 
5páin, hatred ; gen. gpdnac. 

11. Those in ip generally form their genitive 
as above; but accup, a father; mdcaip, amother; 
and bpdcaip, a brother, form their genitive 
by dropping the final l : — gen. acap, in d éap, 

12. Outside the general rule stated in Par. 4 
above, there is considerable variety in the forma- 
tion of the nominative plural. 

13. Those in óip generally make the nominative 
plural by adding íóe; as ppealat>6ip, a mower, 
nom. plur. ppealabóipióe. 

14. And these form the genitive plural variously ; 
generally na ppealabóipió, but sometimes na 
ppealabóip or na ppealaoópaó- 

15. Others form the nominative plural either 
like the genitive singular or by adding nna to it; 
as ppuc, a stream; gen. ppoca ; nom. pi. ppoca 
or ppocanna : bpuim, a back; gen. bpoma ; nom. 
plur. t>poma or o-pomanna. 


16. Those that add rma, form the genitive plural 
by omitting the a; as ppuc; gen. plur. ppucann. 

17. Many nouns of this declension that end in 
n or I, form their plural by adding ce or ca ; as 
móin, a bog; gen. sing, mono ; nom. plur. móince. 

18. And these generally form their genitive 
plural by adding ao to the nominative plural ; as 
mom ; gen. plur. móinceaó. 

' 19. Those that form their genitive singular in 
ac (10) form the plural by adding a to this ac : 
as lapaip, a name; gen. sing, lappac ; nom. plur. 


1. Nouns of the fourth declension end in vowels 
or in in, and are some of them masculine and 
some feminine. 

2. There is no inflection in the singular, all the 
cases being alike. 

3. The nominative plural is generally formed by 
adding ioe or aóa (with occasionally an obvious 
vowel change). Example, dipne, a sloe. 

Singular. Plural. 

Nom. tíinne. Nom. tíipnioe. 

Gen. dipne. Gen. tíipnea.6. 

Dat. dipne. Dat. dipnioib. 

4. Some form the plural by adding ce or ce : 
asceirme, afire; nom. plur. ceirmce: baoi, a clown; 
nom. plur.baoice; andaicne, a commandment, has 
nom. plur. aiceanca. 

5. These generally form the genitive plural, by 
adding ó or aó (not to the nominative singular, 
as in the model, but) to the nominative plural : as 
nom. plur. baoice, clowns; gen. plur. oaoiceaó. 

6. Nouns ending in aióe, uióe, and aipe, gener- 
ally belong to this declension; as pclábuióe, a 
slave; piobaipe. a piper. 



1. Nouns of the fifth declension are mostly 

2. They generally end in a vowel ; and they 
form their genitive by adding n or rm, and occa- 
sionally b or c. 

3. The dative singular is formed from the geni- 
tive by attenuation. 

4. The nominative plural is formed from the 
genitive singular by adding a. 

5. The genitive plural is like the genitive singular. 
Example, uppa, a door jamb. 

Singular. Plural. 

Nom. uppa. Nom. uppcma. 

G-en. npran. Gen. uppan. 

Dat. uppam. Dat. uppanaib. 

6. To this declension belong the proper names 
eipe, Ireland; gen. Gipeann, dat. Gipmri : Glba, 
Scotland; gen., Glbcm, dat. Gib am : Tlluiiia, 
Munster; gen. Til urn an, dat. TTluThain ; and se- 
veral others of less note. 

7. Cap a, a friend, is an example of the genitive 
in t>: nom. capa: gen. capab ; dat. capaib; nom. 
plur. cdipbe. • 

8. There is a good deal of variety in the forma- 
tion of the cases of nouns belonging to this de- 
clension, which can only be learned by practice.* 


1. Some nouns are irregular ; that is, they are 
not inflected in accordance with any of the re- 
gular declensions. 

2. The most important of the irregular nouns 
are :* — bean, a woman ; bó, a cow ; bpu, a womb ; 

* For additional examples of declensions of nouns, both 
regular and irregular, see Appendix at the end of the book. 


caopa, a sheep; ceó, a fog; cnó, a hut; cu, a 
hound ; "Oia, God ; lá, a clay ; mi, a month ; o or ua, 
a grandson. They are declined as follows. (The 
vocative is not given where it is like the nomina- 

bean, a woman, fern. 

Singular. Plural. 

Noin. bean. Nom. mná. 

Gen. mntí. Gen. ban. 

Dat. mnaoi. Dat. mndib. 

bó, a cow, fern. 

Nom. bó. Noin. bd 

Gen. bó. Gen. bó. 

Dat. bum. Dat. búaib. 

bpú, a icomb, fern. 

Nom. bntj. Nom. bponna. 

Gen. bnumne or Gen. bponn. 

Dat. bpomn. Dat. bponnaib. 

Caopa, a sheep, fern. 

Nom. caopa. Nora, caoipig, 

Gefi. caopac. Gen. caopac. 

Dat. caopa. Dat. caopcaib. 

Voc. a caopa. Voc. a caopca. 

Ceó, a fog, masc. 

Nom. ceó. Nom. ciao. 

Gen. ciac or ceoig. Gen. ceo. 
Dat. ceó. Dat. ceócaib. 

Cnó or cnú, a nut, masc. 

Nom. cnó. Nom. end, cnai. 

Gen. cnó, cnm. Gen. cnóo. 

Dat. cnó, cnú. Dat. cnaib. 


Cú, a hound, masc, or/em. 

Noni. cu. Nom. com, cuin, cona, or 

Gen. con. Gen. con. 

Dat. com. Dat. conaib. 

Oia, God, masc, 

Nora. t)ia. Nora. t)ée, Déice. 

Gen. Dé. Gen. Oia, DéiceaÓ. 

Dat. Oia. Dat. t)éib Déiéib. 

Voc. aOhéoraDhia.Voc. a Ohée, Ohéice. 

bá, a day, masc, 

Nom. Id. Nom. laece. 

Gen. lae. Gen. laeceab,ld. 

Dat. Id, 16. Dat. laecib. 

TTli, a month, fern. 

Nom. mi. Nom. mior-a. 

Gen. mip, mior-a. Gen. mior. 
Dat. mi, mir-. Dat. mior-aib. 

O or ua, a grandson, masc. 

Nom. 6, ua. Nom. ui. 

Gen. i, ui. Gen. ua. 

Dat. o, ua. Dat. lb, uib. 

Voc. a, ui. Voc. a, ui. 


1. The initial changes produced by the article in 
the nouns to which it is prefixed have been set 
forth at page 17 ; these changes must be carefully 
observed in declining nouns with the article. 


2- Twelve typical examples are here given, corresponding 
with the several cases mentioned in paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 
and 6, pages 17, 18 ; and these examples include almost every 
possible variety. There is a good deal of difference of usage 
in the dative singular of nouns beginning with p. 

3. The declension of the singular number only is given ; 
the changes in the plural are so very simple (see page 18; 
that they can present no difficulty. 

4. C0I5, a sword, masc. Nom. an C0I5 ; gen. 
an ÓU1I5 ; dat. leip an 5-C0I5 (Par. 4, p. 17), or 
bo'n C0I5 (Par. 5, p. 18). 

5. Cailleac, a hag, fern. Nom. an cailleaó ; 
na caillige ; dat. ó'n ^-caillis or t>o'n caillig. 

6. Saogal, the world, masc. Nom. an paogal ; 
gen. an c-pao$ail; dat. ó'n pao^al or t>o'n 
c-paogal (Par 5, p. 18). 

7. Sabóio, the Sabbath, fern. Nom an c-Saboib; 
gen. na Sabóibe; dat. ó'n Sabóib or bo'n c-Sabóib 
(Pars. 2 and 5, pp. 17 and 18.) 

8. Slac, a rod, fern. Nom. an c-plac; gen. na 
plaice; dat. leip an plaic or bo'n c-plaic. 

9. Spot, satin, masc. Nom. an ppol ; gen. an 
c-ppóil ; dat. ó'n ppól or bo'n c-ppól. 

10. Opal, an ass, masc. Nom. an c-apal ; gen. 
an apail ; dat. ó'n apal. 

11. Imp, an island, fern. Nom. an imp; gen. na 
h-mpe; dat. bo'n imp. 

12. Leac, a stone, fern. Nom. an leac ; gen. na 
leice; dat. bo'n leic (Par. 6, p. 18). 

13. t)ile, a deluge, fern. Nom. an bile ; gen. 
na bileann ; dat. bo'n bilmn. 

14. Sgeul, a story, masc. Nom. an pseul ; gen 
an p^éil ; dat. 6'n p^eul. 

15. Speal, a scythe, fern. Nom. an ppeal; ger. 
na ppeile ; dat. leip an ppeil. 




1. In Irish the adjective changes its form 
according to the gender, case, and number of the 

2. Adjectives are declined in much the same 
manner as nouns ; but they never take the inflec- 
tion lb in the dative plural (though anciently they 
had this inflection like nouns) : the dative plural 
of an adjective is like the nominative plural. 

3. There are usually reckoned four declensions 
of adjectives. 

4. The inflections of these four declensions follow those 
of the noun so closely, that when the noun is mastered the 
adjective presents no difficulty. 


1. Adjectives of the first declension are those 
that end in a consonant preceded by a broad 
vowel, as ban, white ; pliuc, wet. 

2. In the masculine gender (i.e., when the ad- 
jective belongs to a masculine noun), they are 
declined the same as nouns of the first declension 
of the type of ball, except that the nominative 
plural always ends in a. 

3. In the feminine gender adjectives are de- 
clined the same as nouns of the second declension 
of the type of reampós. 

4. Both genders are alike in the plural. Ex- 
ample, ban, white. 


Singular, Plural. 

Masc. Fern. Masc. and Fern. 

Nom. ban. ban. Horn. bona. 

Gen. bám. bdme. Gen. ban. 

Dat. bdn. bain. Dat. bdna. 

Voc. bam. bdn. Voc. bdna. 


1. Adjectives of the second declension are those 
that end in a consonant preceded by a slender 

2. In the singular, all the cases of both mascu- 
line and feminine are alike, except the genitive 
feminine, which takes e. 

3. In the plural, both genders are alike, and all 
the cases except the genitive are formed by adding 
e ; the genitive is like the nominative singular. 
Example, min, smooth, fine. 

Singular. Plural. 

Masc. Fern. Masc. and Fern. 

Nom. min. min. Nom. mine. 

Gen. min. mine. Gen. min. 

Dat. min. min Dat. mine. 

Voc. min. min. Voc. mine. 


1. Adjectives of the third declension are those 
that end in am ail, which has the same significa- 
tion as the English postfix like : — bean, a woman 
ban am ail, womanlike, modest. 

2. The two genders are always alike. 

3. The four cases singular are alike except the 
genitive, which is formed by adding a, with a 

4. In the plural, the genitive is the same as the 
nominative singular ; and the other cases are the 
same as the genitive singular. Example, maipe- 
aiiiail, graceful. 


Singular. Plural. 

Norn, maipeaiiiail. Nom. maipeamla. 

Gen. maipeamla. Gen. maipeamail. 

Dat. maipeamail. Dat. maipeamla. 


1. Adjectives of the fourth declension are those 
that end in vowels; as mópóa, majestic. 

2. They have no inflections, being alike in all 
cases, numbers, and genders. 


1. The rules for the aspiration of the initial 
consonants of adjectives agreeing with nouns are 
given at p. 10 ; and these rules must be very care- 
fully observed in declining nouns with adjectives. 

2. It maybe added here that b and c sometimes 
resist aspiration, especially if they follow a noun 
ending in n. There is much variety of usage as 
to aspiration of adjectives in the dative singular. 

3. When a noun is declined with both an 
adjective and the article, the initial of the adjec- 
tive is generally eclipsed in the genitive plural 
(or takes n if it be a vowel). 

4. Four typical examples are here given of the declension 
of the adjective with the noun. For the influence of the 
article see p. 17. 

On capall ban, the white horse, masc. 

Singular. Plural. 

Nom. an capall bdn. na capaill bdna. 

Gen. an capaill Dám. na 5-capall m-bdn. 

Dat. 6'n 5-capall bdn or 6'na capallaib bdna 


Voc. a capaill bdin. a capalla bdna. 


Gn puipeó^ beag, the little lark, fern. 

Nom. an puipeóg beag. na puipeóga beaga. 

Gen. na puipeoise bise. na b-puipeó5 ni-beas» 

Dat. ó'n b-puipeoi5bi5. ó'na puipeósaib bectga. 

Voc. a puipeóó beas- a puipeóga beasa. 

Gn cnoc dpb, the high hill, mane, 

Noui. an cnoc dpb. Noui. na cnuic dpba. 

Gen. an cnuíc dipb. Gen. na 5-cnoc n-dpb. 

Dat. o'n 5-cnoc dpb. Dat. ó'na cnocaib ápoa. 

Voc. a cnuic dipt». Voc. a cnoca dpba. 

Qn bó óub, the Hack cow, fern, 

Nom. an bó bub. Nom. na bd buba. 

Gen. na bo buibe. . Gen. na m-bó n-bub. 
Dat. bo'n m-bum buib. Dat. bo na bikub bubo. 

Voc. a bó bub. Voc. a ba buba. 


1. Irish, adjectives have three degrees of com- 
parison, the same as English adjectives. 

2. The positive is the simple form of the ad- 
jective; as dpo, high;, princely. 

3. The comparative and the superlative have 
the same form, which is that of the genitive singu- 
lar feminine ; as tíipoe, plaicearhla ; and they are 
distinguished by prefixed particles, or by the con- 

4. The comparative has generally the particle 
niop (or niopa or nfpa) prefixed, and it is usually 
followed by Tid, than (spelled also ind and lond) ; 
as cd an ceac po niop dipoe nd an ceac pin, 


this house is higher than that house : acd an 
laoc tj'o niop plaiceamla nd an pígpéin, "yonder 
champion is more princely than the king him- 

5. The superlative is often preceded by lp or 
ap, with the article expressed before the noun ; as 
an pean íp plaiceamla pan cíp, the most princely 
man in the country. 

6. In the comparative, niop is omitted when tho 
assertion or question is made by the verb íp in any of 
its forms, expressed or understood ; as ba óuibe a 
5puag nd an 5"ual, "her hair was blacker than the 
coal;" íp gile pneacca nd bamne, snow is whiter 
than milk ; an pedpp do óeapbnaóaip nd cfipa ? 
is thy brother better than thou ? 

7. When the characteristic particles are not ex- 
pressed, the construction generally determines 
whether the adjective is comparative or super- 
lative; as an ealaóan íp uaiple nd pilióeacc, the 
art which is nobler than poetry; an ealaóan ip 
tiaiple aip bic, "the art which is the noblest in 
the world." 

8. An adjective in the comparative or superla- 
tive is not inflected ; all the cases being alike in 


1. The following adjectives are irregularly 
compared. There are a few others, but their de- 
parture from rule is so slight as not to require 

2. Li a is a comparative as it stands, signifying 
more (in number) ; but it has no positive, unless 
íomoa or mópdn (many), or some such word, be 
considered as such. 

[TAP. III.] 



beas, little, 
paba, long, 
pupup or upup, 

r ié ' 1 good. 


niop luja. 
níop paibe,nioppia. 
niop pupa, niop 
n pa. 

niop pedpp. 

ip luga. 
ippaibe, ip pia. 
ip pupa, ípupa. 

ip pedpp. 

numc, often, 
móp, great, 
olc, bad. 
ceic, hot. 

niop mionca. 
niop mo. 
niop meapa. 
niop ceo. 

ip mó. 
ip meapa. 
ip ceó. 

3. There are certain particles which, when 
prefixed to adjectives, intensify their significa- 
tion ; and in accordance with the rule in Par. 4, 
page 10, they aspirate the initials of the adjectives. 

4. The principal of these are an, píop, pó, 
pap, up: as maic, good; an-riiaic, very good: 
5pdnna, ugly; píop-gpánna, excessively ugly: 
mop, large; pó-riióp, very large: láibip, strong; 
pdp-ldit»ip ? very strong, &c. 


1 . The following is a list of the most important 
of the numerals, both cardinal and ordinal. 

For the influence of some of them in aspirating and 
eclipsing, and for- other syntactical influences on the noun, 
see Syntax. 








bo, bd. 




cpí, ceópa. 




ceacaip, ceicpe. 




























aon béag. 


aonmab béa^. 



12. oó t)éa<5, otí béag. 

13. cpí béas. 
And so on, up to 

and including 19. 


aon a'p pice, aon 
[ aip picib, 
And so on, up to 29. 

oq jcpiocab, cpioca, 
') beic a'p pice. 

Ícpí aip cpiocaib, 
cpi oéas a'p 
Ibá picib, ceac- 
paca, ceacpa- 
50. cao^a, caogab. 
60- J rear5"ab. peapga, 
( cpi picib. 

mogab, beic a'p 
cpi picib. 
Íoccmosa, occ- 
mogab, ceicpe 
Ínoca, nocab, beió 
a'p ceicpe 
100. céab. 
1,000. mile. 
2,000. bá mile. 
1,000,000. million. 1 

[part II 

12th. bapa béag. 
13th. cpeap béas- 

20th. piceab. 

21st Í a0Tima& Q} V 
' [ picib. 

beacmab aip 
I cpeap aip cpio- 
33rd. < caib, cpeap 
( béasaippicib. 

40th. ceacpacabab. 

50th. cao^abab. 

60th ) reapsabab, cp/ 

' I picibeab. 


70th. j beacmab aip 

( cpi picib. 

ceicpe picib- 
(nocabab, beac- 
90th.* mabaipceic- 
( pe picib. 
100th. céabab. 
1,000th. mileab. 
2,000th. bá mileab. 
,000,000th. milliúnaó. 

2. Oó and ceacaip are used only in the ab- 
sence of nonns, i.e. merely as the names of the 
numbers; but fid and ceiépe are always used when 
the nouns are expressed; as Da cluaip, two ears; 
ceicpe pip, four men. 

3. pice is declined : — Nom pice; gen. piceao ; 
dat. picib ; nom. plur. picib. 

4. Céab has gen. céib ; nom. pi. céaba or céabca. 

5. The following nouns, which are all excepjt 


beipc, formed from the numerals, are applied to 
persons only : — 

bíap.bíp, two persons. peaccap, \ persons 

beipc, a couple. móp-peipeap, } 8even P ersons - 

cpiúp, three persons. occap, eight ,, 

ceacpap, four „ ncmbap, naonbap, nine „ 

cúiseap, five ,, oeicneabap, ten „ 

peipeap, six „ 



1. There are in Irish six kinds of pronouns : — 
Personal, Possessive, Relative, Demonstrative, In- 
terrogative, and Indefinite. 


1. There are four personal pronouns — mé, I; 
cú, thou ; pé, he ; pi, she ; with their plurals, 
pirm, we ; pib, ye or you ; and piab, they. These 
are the simple forms of the personal pronouns. 

2. Each of these takes an emphatic increase or 
postfixed syllable, equivalent to the English word 
self ; and the whole word thus formed is called the 
emphatic form. The emphatic syllables vary their 
vowel part in accordance with the rule caol le 
caol &c. 

3. The following are the emphatic forms: — 
lllipe or mepi, myself; eúpa, thyself; pépecm 


himself ; pipe, herself ; pmne, ourselves ; pibpe, 
yourselves ; piabpam themselves. 

4. The word pém, self, is of ten added to the per- 
sonal pronouns, not as a particle but as a separate 
word ; and it is still more emphatic than the par- 
ticles mentioned in last paragraph:— mé péin, I 
myself ; pi péin, she herself. 

5. The personal pronouns are all declined ; and 
they may carry the emphatic increase through all 
the cases. 

6. The personal pronouns (except mé), unlike 
nouns, have a distinct form for the accusative (or 
objective) case. It is, of course, only the pronoun 
cti that is used in the vocative. 


The declension of the emphatic form of mé is given as an 
example : observe, in this, the vowel changes in obedience to 
caol le caol &c. 

mé, /. 

Singular. Plural. 

Nom. mé, I. Nom. pinn, we. 

Gen. mo, mine. Gen. án, our. 

Dat. bom, bam, to me. Dat. búmn, to us. 

Ace. mé, me. Aoc. inn or pirm, us. 

TDipe, myself {emphatic form). 

Nom. mir e, mepi, myself. Nom. pmne, ourselves. 

Gen. mo-pa, my own. Gen. típ-ne, our own. 

Dat. bompa, bampa, to my- Dat. búinne, to ourselves. 


Ace. mipe, mepi, myself. Ace. inne, pmne, ourselves. 

<Cl5, thou. 

Nom. ct5. Nom. pib. 

Gen. t>o. Gen. bup, bap. 

Dat. buic. Dat. baoib, t>Vb. 

Ace. cú. Ace. lb, pib. 

Voc. cti. Voc pib, lb. 


Nom. r é. 
Gen. a. 
Dat. bo. 
Ace. é. 



, he. 



pi ab. 







, riab. 


Nom. pi. 
Gen. a. 
Dat. bi. 
Ace. f. 


1. In Irish, the personal and the possessive pro- 
nouns unite with prepositions, each compound 
forming a single word. 

2. In each case the preposition and the pronoun 
are amalgamated, and the latter changes its form, 
so as to be considerably, and in some cases com- 
pletely, disguised. 

3. These " prepositional pronouns," as they are 
sometimes called, are of constant occurrence in 
the language — scarce a sentence in which they are 
not met with : they are therefore of great im- 
portance, and the learner should get them all off 
by heart. 

4. The following prepositions unite with per- 
sonal pronouns: — 05; aip or ap ; cmn or 1 ; ap ; 
cum ; oe ; 00 ; eiOip or it>ip ; pa or paoi ; le ; o or 
ua ; poiTh ; peac ; cap ; cpé ; uap ; um or im. 

5. The following are the combinations of these 
prepositions with the personal pronouns. 

6. The emphatic particles may be used with 
these combinations also, as well as with the un- 
compounded pronouns, of which one example is 





a 5 ,< 

a^cmi, with or at me. 
asac, a^cit), with thee, 
aige, with hirn. 
aice or aici, with her. 

) or with. 

asainn, with us. 
agaib, with you. 
aca or acu, with them. 

The same with the emphatic increase. 

asampa, with myself. 
a^acpa, with thyself. 
aisepean, with himself. 
aicipe, with herself. 

againne, with ourselves, 
asaibpe, with yourselves. 
acapan, with themselves. 

Gip or ap, upon. 

opm, on me. 
one, on thee, 
aip, on him. 
uippe, on her. 

oppainn, on us. 
oppaib, on you. 
oppa, opca, on them. 

Gnn or 1, in. 

lormam, in me. 
lonnac, íonnaO, in thee, 
ann, in him. 
inncc, innci, in her. 

lonnainn, íonainn, in us. 
lonnaib, in you. 
íonnca, in them, 

Qp, out of. 

npam, out of me. 
apac, apab, out of thee, 
ap, out of him. 
aipce, aipci, out of her. 

apainn, out of us. 
apaib, out of you. 
apca, apcu, out of them. 

Cum, toivards, unto. 

cuftam, unto me. 
cugac, unto thee, 
cuige, unto him. 
cuici, unto her. 

Oiom, off or of me. 
trtoc, off thee. 
be, off him. 
01, off her. 

cuftcunn, unto us. 
cu 50.1b, unto you. 
cuca, unto them. 

, from or off. 

binn, off us. 
bib, off you. 
blob, off them. 


"Do, to. 

bam, bom, bam, to me. btfmn, to us. 

buic, to thee. baoib, X)Vb, to you. 

bo, to him. bóib, to them, 
bi, to her. 

Gibip, between. 

eabpam, between me. eabpairm, between us. 

eabpac, between thee. eabpaib, between you. 

eibip é, between him. eacoppa, between them, 
eibip i, between her. 

pá or paoi, under. 

■ptfm, under me. púirm, under us. 

pic, under thee, púib, under you. 

paoi, under him. puca, under them. 
ptJice, under her. 

Le, with. 

liom, with me. linn, with us. 

leac, with thee. lib, with you. 

leip, with him. leó, with them. 
léice, léi, with her. 

Le is often written pe in books, and its pronominal com- 
binations in this form are often met with. They are as fol- 
lows : — 

piom, with me. pmn, with us. 

pioc, with thee. pib, with you. 

pip, with him. piu, with them, 
pia, with her. 

O or wo, from. 

uaim, from me. uamn, from us. 

uaic, from thee. uaib, from you. 

uab, from him. uata, from them, 
uaice, uaici, from her. 

Roini, before. 

póiiiam, before me. póitiamn, before us 

póiiiac, before thee. pórhaib, before you. 

póirhe, befoi*e him. pómpa, before them. 

póimpe, póimpi, before her. 


Seac, beside. 

peacam, beside me. p eacamn, beside us. 

peacac, beside tbee. peacaib, beside you. 

peac é, beside him. peaca, beside them, 
peac i, beside her. 

Cap, beyond, over. 

copm, capm, over me. coppamn,óappainn,overus. 

cope, cape, over thee. coppaib, cappaib, over you. 

caipip, over him. cappca, cappa, over them, 
caippce, caippi, over her. 

Cpe, through. 

cpiom, through me. cpinn, through us. 

cpioc, through thee. cpib, through you. 

cpib, through him. cpioca, through them, 
cpíce, cpici, through her. 

Uap, above. 

uapam, above me. uapmnn, above us. 

uapac, above thee. uapmb, above you. 

uapa, above him. uapca, above them, 
uaipce, uaipci, above her. 

Um or itti, about. 

umam, about me. umamn, about us. 

urnac, about thee. unimb, about you. 

urnie, about him. umpa, about them, 
uimpe, uimpi, about her. 


1. The possessive pronouns, which are merely 
the genitives of the personal pronouns, are as 
follows: — mo, my; bo, thy; a, his or her; dp, 
our; bap or bup, your; a, their. The three pos- 
sessives, a, his, a, her, and a, their, are distin- 
guished by the initial letter changes of the next 
word. (See pp. 9, 11, 12 ; and see also Syntax.) 


2. The o of mo and oo is omitted before a 
vowel or before p; as m'acaip, my father; 
m'peapann, my land. And oo is often changed, 
before a vowel, to c, 6, and h ; as c'acaip, 
c'acaip, or h-acaip, thy father. 

3. The possessive pronouns also take the em- 
phatic increase, with this peculiarity, however, 
that the emphatic particle always follows the noun 
that comes after the possessive, or if the noun be 
qualified by one or more adj ectives, the emphatic 
particle comes last of all ; and in accordance with 
the rule caol le caol, its vowel is generally broad 
or slender according as the last vowel of the word 
it follows is broad or slender ; as mo ceac-pa, my 
house, or my own house ; mo ceac móp buioe-pi, 
my great j^ellow house. And these again may be 
followed by péin (Par. 4, p. 40), rendering the 
expression still more emphatic ; as mo ceac-pa 
péin, my own house. 


1. The possessive pronouns are amalgamated 
with prepositions, much in the same way as the 
personal pronouns ; as beip beannacc óm cpoióe, 
bear a blessing from mij heart. 

2. The following are the most important of 
these combinations : — 

Gnn, in. 

Singular. Plural, 

am, am', in my. map, 'ntíp, in our. 
at), ab', in thy. — 

iona, ma, 'na, in his or her. iona, ma, ma, in their. 

t)o, to. 

t>om, bom', to my. báp, b'típ, to our. 
bob, bob', to thy. — 

b<5, ba, to his or her. bd, b'a, to their. 



Le, icith. 

lem, lem', with my. len, le'n, with our 

let), leb', with thy. — 

lena, le n-a, with his or her. lena, le n-a, with their. 

O or Ma from. 

óm, óm', from my. oáp, 6'n, from our. 

6t>, 6t)', from thy. — 

óna, ó n-a, from his or her. óna, o n-a, from their. 

3. Those that are identical in form and 
different in meaning are distinguished by the 
initial letter changes they produce in the next 
word; as óna ci§, from his house ; 6na G15, from 
her house; óna t>-ci$, from their house. 

4. These combinations can also take the em- 
phatic increase, like those of the personal pro- 
nouns, with the peculiarity, however, noticed in 
Par. 3, p. 45 ; as óm éi$ móp dpb-pa, from my 
great high house. 


1. There are three relative pronouns in Irish : — 
a, who, which, that; noc, who, which, that; 
nac, which not; as an cé a buaileap, the person 
who strikes ; an liaig noc a oeip 50 b-puil cu" 
plan, the physician that says that you are well; 
an cé nac b-puil Itíioip, ní puldip t>ó beió 5I1C, 
"the person who is not strong, it is necessary for 
him to be wise." 

2. t)d sometimes takes the place of the relative 
a ; and in some grammars it is counted as a dis- 
tinct relative pronoun ; as edit» na ^aolca íp 
ped|ip asumodb-iHiilao-calaiii 6peann, " I have 


the best friends that are (to be found) in the land 
of Erin." And sometimes bo stands for the rela- 
tive a. 

3. The relative a has sometimes the sense of 
" all which" or " all that ;" asbeip beannacccum a 
maipeannbepiolpaic IpVp Gibip, "bear a blessing 
to all that live of the seed of Ir and Eber;" a 
b-puil ran calarh b'aicme TTlháine, "all that are 
in the land of the tribe of Maine." 

4. The relative pronouns are not declined. 


1. The demonstrative pronouns are po, this, 
these; pin, that, those; pub or úb, yonder: as 
an peap po, this man ; na mnd pm, those women; 
pub Í pi op, " yonder she (moves) below." 


1. There are usually reckoned three interroga- 
tive pronouns: — cia or cé, who? cd, what? 
where? cab or cpeub, what? as cia cpuéuig cu ? 
who created thee ? cab beip cú ? what sayest 
thou? ca b-puil an peap pm ? where is that 
man? cpeub íp ei^in? what is necessary? 


1. The following are the principal indefinite 
pronouns : — 

aon, one. ceaccap, either. 

éio"in, some, certain. uile, all. 

eile, oile, other. a céile, each other. 

các,all. an cé, an ci, the person who. 

506, each, every. cia b'é, cibó, 5ibé, whoever. 

gac uile, every. 


2. The indefinite pronouns are not declined ; 
except cdc, which has a genitive form, cdic ; and 
50.Ó, which is sometimes made 50:00: in the geni- 



1. Irish verbs are inflected for number, person, 
mood, tense, and voice. 

2. The conjugation is arranged, not according 
to the initial changes, but according to termina- 

3. As to the initial changes : — see pages 10 and 58 for 
the particles that aspirate, and page 12 for the particles that 
eclipse, the initials of verbs. 


1. The verb has three persons singular and 
three persons plural ; and it has inflections for the 
whole six in the indicative and conditional moods 
of the active voice, except in one tense of the in- 

2. The six forms of the present tense, indicative 
mood, active voice, of the verb C65, take, are as 
follows : — 

Singular. Plural. 

1. cósann, I take. 1. cósamaoib, we take. 

2. cósaip, thou takest. 2. cóftéaoi, ye take. 

3. C65C11O pé, he takes. 3. cogent», they take. 


3. This is what is called the synthetic form of 
the verb. The synthetic form is that in which the 
persons are expressed by inflections or termina- 

4. These six forms express the sense perfectly, 
without the accompaniment of the pronouns (ex- 
cept in the case of the third person singular) : 
that is, có^aip, as it stands, without using along 
with it the pronoun ctj, thou, expresses perfectly 
"thoutakest ;" and so of the others. 

5. But there is another way of expressing the 
persons, singular and plural, namely, by using 
one form of the verb for the whole six, and put- 
ting in the pronouns to distinguish the persons 
and numbers. This is what is called the analytic 
form of the verb. 

6. In this analytic mode of expressing the per- 
sons and numbers, the form of the verb that is 
used is the same as the form for the third person 
singular ; and the persons singular and plural are 
expressed as follows : — 

Singular. Plural. 

1. có5di&mé, I take. 1. C65C11& firm we take. 

2. CÓ5CH& cfj, thou takest. 2. cógaiÓ pib, ye take. 

3. C65C110 ré, he takes. 3. CÓ5CUD fiat», they take. 

7. The third singular of the verb is not a syn- 
thetic form like the other five, that is, it does not 
include the pronoun as they do. In the third 
person singular, therefore, the pronoun must be 
always expressed in order to distinguish the 
number and person ; unless there is a noun, or 
that the nominative is in some other way obvious 
from the construction. 

8. But generally speaking it is not allowable to 
express any other pronoun along with the cor- 
responding synthetic form of the verb: — For 


example, it would be wrong to say bécmaim mé or 
fréanamaoiO pirm, both expressions being tauto- 

9. This rule, in the case of the third person 
plural, however, is sometimes not observed ; for 
such expressions as molait) piat> and inolpait» 
piab— they praise, they will praise — are often met 
with, though molaiO or molpaib alone would 
answer. And a like construction (in the third 
plural) is often used when the nominative is a 
plural noun, both in the present and in the past 
tense; as cpiallaio mic TYlileao, "the sons of Mile 
go ;" map t>o concaoap na bpaoice, " when the 
druids saw." 

10. The emphatic particles may be postfixed to 
all the persons of verbs, in the same manner as 
to pronouns and nouns (p. 39) ; as molaim-pe, 
I praise; molaip-pe, thou praisest. And in all 
such cases, the word pém (p. 40) may be used 
to make the expression still more emphatic; as 
oo cuippinn-pe pém mo lecmb a coolaó, " I my- 
self would put my child to sleep." 

11. The general tendency of modern languages is to drop 
synthetic forms, and to become more analytic. The English 
language, for example, has lost nearly all its inflections, and 
supplied their place by prepositions, conjunctions, adverbs, 
and auxiliary verbs. Following this tendency, the synthetic 
forms of the Irish verb are falling into disuse in the spoken 
language ; and it has been already remarked (p. 23) that the 
noun-inflection lb is now seldom used in speaking. But all 
these forms are quite common in even the most modern Irish 
books; and the learner must, therefore, make himself quite 
familiar with them. 


1. In English a regular verb has only two 
different forms to express tense : — I love, I loved ; 


all the other tenses are expressed by means of 

2. In Irish, a regular verb has five different 
forms in the indicative mood for tense. Reckon- 
ing those tenses only which are expressed by in- 
flection, an Irish regular verb has therefore five 
tenses in the indicative mood. 

3. The five tenses with the synthetic forms for 
the first person singular of the regular verb 501 p, 
call, are : — 

(1.) The present; goipim, I call. 

(2.) The consuetudinal or habitual present ; 
goipeann mé, I am in the habit of calling. 

(3.) The past, or simple past, or perfect (for it 
is known by all these three names) ; 00 goipeap, 
I called. 

(4.) The consuetudinal or habitual past; bo 
goipinn, I used to call, or I used to be calling. 

(5.) The future; goippeao, I shall or will 


1. The Irish regular verb has four moods : — 
The Imperative, the Indicative, the Conditional, 
and the Infinitive. These are the only moods for 
which the regular verb has distinct inflections. 

2. There are, indeed, other moods, which are expressed, not 
by inflection, but by means of certain conjunctions and par- 
ticles set before the verb ; and these additional moods are 
given in conjugation in some Irish grammars ; but as their 
forms do not differ from the forms of the four given in the 
last paragraph, they are not included here. 

3. It is only the indicative mood of the verb 
that has tense inflection ; in each of the other 
moods there is only one tense. 


4. There are two voices, the active and the passive. 
It is only in the active voice that there are per- 
sonal inflections ; in the passive voice, the three 
persons singular and the three persons plural have 
all six the same form, rendering it necessary, of 
course, that the pronoun be always expressed when 
there is no noun. 


bucul, strike. 
acttve VOICE. 
Imperative Mood. 
Singular. Plural. 

1 1. buailimip, let ub strike. 

2. buail, strike thou. 2. buailiO, strike ye. 

3. buaileaó ré, let him 3. buailibip, let thern strike. 


Indicative Mood. 
Present Tense. 

Singular. Plural. 

1. buciilim, I strike. 1. bucnlimib, we strike. 

2. bnailip, thou strikest. 2. buailci, ye strike. 

3. buailiO ré, he strikes. 3. buculib, they strike. 

{For the relative form of this tense, see p. 55.) 

Consuetudinal or habitual Present. 

buailearm mé, I usually strike. 

{The same form for all 'persons and numbers.) 



1. bumleap, I struck. 1. buaileamap, we struck. 

2. buailip, thou struckest. 2. bumleabap, ye struck. 

3. buailpé, he struck. 3. buaiteabap, they struck. 

Old form of Pad. 

1. buaileap. 1. buailpeam orbuailpiom 

2. bunilip. 2. bumleabap. 

3. buaileapcap. 3. buailpeab, or buailpiob, 

or buailpeabap. 

Consuetudinal Past 

1. buailmn, I used to 1. buailimip, we used to strike. 


2. buailóeá, thou usedst 2. buailci, ye used to strike. 

to strike. 

3. buaileaó pé, he used to 3. buailibip, they used to 

strike. strike. 


1. buailpeab, I will strike. 1. buailpimib, we will strike. 

2. buailpip, thou wilt strike. 2. buailpib, ye will strike. 

3. buailpiópé, he will strike. 3. buailpib, they will strike. 

{For the relative form of this tense, see p. 55.) 

Conditional Mood. 

1. buailpirm, I would 1. buculpimip, we would 

strike. strike. 

2. buailpeá, thou wouldst 2. bnailpib, ye would strike. 


3. buailpeab pé, he would 3. buailpibip, they would 

strike. strike. 

Inf. Mood. Do bualab, to strike. Part. CI5 bualab, striking. 



Imperative Mood. 

{The same as the Indicative Present.) 

Indicative Mood. 

Present Tense. 

Singular. Plural. 

1. bwailceap mé, I am 1. buailcean pmn or mn, we 

struck. are struck. 

2. buailcean cd, thou art 2. buailcean rib or ib, ye are 

struck. struck. 

3. buailcean é, he is struck. 3. buailceap íaO, they are 


Consuetudinal Present. 

(Same as the Indicative Present.) 


1. buaileao mé, I was 1. buaileaO rmn or inn, we 

struck. were struck. 

2. buaileao cú, thou wast 2. buaileao riu or ib, ye 

struck. were struck. 

3. buaileaó é, he was 3. buaileaO lab, they were 

struck. struck. 

Consuetudinal Past. 

1. buailcí mé, I used to be 1. buailci rmn or mn, we 

struck. used to be struck. 

2. buailci ctJ, thou usedst 2. buailci pib or ib, ye used 

to be struck. to be struck. 

3. buailci é, he used to be 3. buailci íaO, they used to 

struck. be struck. 



Singular. Plural. 

1. buailpeap mé, I shall or 1. buailpeap pmn or inn, we 

will be struck. shall or will be struck. 

2. buailpeap ótí, thou shalt 2. buailpeap pib or ib, ye 

or wilt be struck. shall or will be struck. 

3. buailpeap é, he shall or 3. buailpeap iat>, they shall 

will be struck. or will be struck. 

Conditional Mood. 

1. buailpíoe mé, I would 1. buailpíoe pmn or inn, we 

be struck. would be struck. 

2. buailpioe ctj, thou 2. buailpioe pib or ib, ye 

wouldst be struck. would be struck. 

3. buailpí&e é, he would 3. buailpioe iab, they would 

be struck. be struck. 

Infinitive Mood. 
Do beic buailce, to be struck. 

buailce, struck. 


1. Besides the forms given in the preceding 
conjugation, the verb has what is called a ' ' relative 
form," i.e., a form nsed after a relative pronoun. 
In two of the tenses of the indicative mood, 
namely, the present and the future, the relative 
form has a distinct inflection, viz., ap, ip, eap, or 

2. For instance, " the person who calls," is 
translated, not by an cé a goipio (3rd sing, form), 
but by an cé a goipeap; and " he who will steal," 
is not an cé a goibpíó (3rd sing, form), but an 
ré a £oit>peap. In other tenses and moods the 


relative form is the same as that of the third per- 
son singular. 

3. This form of the verb is often used even when its nomi- 
native is not a relative, but a noun or personal pronoun, to 
express the " historical present," i.e., the present tense used 
for the past; as piappaigeap dirhipftin a b-ainim Oi, 
" Amergin asks her name of her." (See for a further account 
oP the historical present, p. 57.) 

4. And not unfrequently the relative form is used as an 
ordinary present ; as, lp móp an c-iongna liompa, nac 
O'Oipin lappap pionn mipe, "It is a great wonder to me 
that it is not for Oisin Finn seeks (íappap) me." 


1. The second person singular of the imperative 
mood, active voice, is the root or simplest form of 
the verb, from which all the other persons, moods, 
and tenses are formed directly, by affixing the 
various terminations. 

2. Verbs which end in a consonant preceded by 
a slender vowel have all their inflections precisely 
like those of buail (with the exception mentioned 
in Par. 4, p. 60) ; and they all begin with a 
slender vowel (except sometimes that of the infini- 
tive) in accordance with the rule caol le caol &c. 

3. But when the final consonant is preceded by 
a broad vowel, the synthetic terminations begin 
with a broad vowel, in accordance with the same 
rule. A table of the full conjugation of a re- 
gular verb ending in a broad vowel is given at 
page. 64. 

4. The root generally remains unchanged 
through all the variations of the verb, except that 
it occasionally suffers a trifling change in the in- 
finitive. The cases in which the root suffers change 
in the infinitive are mentioned in Par. 4. p. 60 : 
See also Par. 8, p. 63. 

CHAP. V. 'j THE VERB. 57 

Indicative Mood. 
Present Tense. 

1. The present tense is formed by affixing the 
six personal terminations im (or aim), íp (or 
dip), &c, to the root. 

2. The historical present, i.e., the present tense 
used for the past, or where past time is intended, 
is very common in Irish ; indeed in many narrative 
and historical pieces it occurs quite as often as the 
ordinary past tense in relating past transactions ; 
as, Oalalc, íomoppo, ollriiuigéeap long leip, " as 
to Ith, indeed, a ship is prepared by him" (instead 
of ollrhuigeao, was prepared). 

3. It has been already remarked (Par. 3, p. 56), 
that the relative form of the verb is often used 
for the historical present ; as noccap Gipeiiion 
t)óib, " Erenion reveals to them." 

Consuetudinal Past and Present. 

1. These tenses express customary action ; as 
léigeann mé, I am in J;he habit of reading ; 
léigeaó pé, he used to read, or he was in the habit 
of reading. 

2. In the sentences, ' ' I write always after break- 
fast," and "he sold bread in his youth," the verbs 
" write" and " sold " are used in the same manner 
as the Irish consuetudinal tense ; except, indeed, 
that the idea is not so distinctly marked by the 
English phrase as by the Irish. 

3. One of the particles t>o or po is usually pre- 
fixed to the consuetudinal past; and the initial 


consonant is generally aspirated ; as bo goipibip, 
they used to call. 

4. The Irish peasantry seem to feel the want of these two 
tenses when they are speaking English ; and they often, in 
fact, attempt to import them into the English language, even 
in districts where no Irish has been spoken for generations : 
thus they will say, " I do be reading while you do be writing ;" 
" I used to be walking every day while I lived in the 
country," &c. 

Past Tense. 

1. In the past tense the initial consonant is as- 
pirated in the active voice, but not in the passive 

2. With the exception of the aspiration, the 
third singular past tense is the same as the 

3. One of the particles bo or po is generally 
prefixed to the past tense in both voices ; as bo 
peapap, I stood ; po coblaip, thou sleepedst ; bo 
molab lab, they were praised ; po bucnleab é, he 
was struck. 

4. The particle po, used as a mark of the past 
tense, is often compounded with other particles, the 
p only being retained, but it still causes aspira- 
tion in the active voice, as if it were uncom- 

5. The principal of these compounds are : — 
(1.) Gp, whether? from an andpo ; as ap buail 

pé, did he strike ? 

(2.) 5 U P> that, from 50 and po; as cpeibim $up 
buail pé, I believe that he struck. 

(3.) Tllunap, unless, from muna and po; as 
munap buail pé, unless he struck. 

(4.) Nacap, orna'p, or net p, whether not? from 
nac and po ; as ndp buail ré, did not he strike ? 


(5.) Niop, not, from niand po ; as níop buail pé, 
ne did not strike.* 

6. The particle po, as a sign of past tense, is 
also often combined with the relative pronoun a ; 
as an peap b'ap geallap mo leabap, the man to 
whom I promised my book. For a further account 
of this, see Syntax. 

Future Tense. 

1. All the personal inflections of this tense, in 
both voices, begin with the letter p, which, in the 
spoken language, is often sounded like h ; thus 
búnpao, I shall shut, is colloquially pronounced 
doonhad (instead of doonfad). 

Conditional Mood. 

1. The particle bo, causing aspiration, is often 
prefixed to verbs in the conditional mood ; as bo 
piubalpcnnn, I would walk. 

2. But very often also X)á, if, or írmna, unless, 
is prefixed, and with these particles the initial is 
eclipsed; asbá b-pa$ainn-pemopo§a, "if I would 
get my choice;" muna m-beióeaó pé, "unless he 
would be." 

3. It is important to note that the personal in- 
flections of this mood in both voices, as well as 
those of the future indicative, all begin with p. 

Infinitive Mood. 

1. The initial is aspirated in the infinitive, 
whether the particle bo or a be expressed or under- 

* See Second Irish Book by the Society for the Preservation 
of the Irish Language, p. 53. 


stood. But in some cases the aspiration is pre- 
vented by other grammatical influences, as shown 
in next paragraph. 

2. When the infinitive is preceded by one of the 
possessive pronouns, the initial of the verb falls 
under the influence of the pronoun.* 

(1.) It is aspirated for a, his; mo, my; bo, thy 
(but here the influence of the pronoun is not per- 
ceived, as there would be aspiration without it) ; 
as t>á gonaó, to wound him (literally to his 
wounding, and so of the others) ; bo m'gonab, to 
wound me ; bo b'gonab, to wound thee. 

(2.) It is preserved from aspiration by a, her; 
as bá 0-onab, to wound her. 

(3.) It is eclipsed by the three plural posses- 
sives; as bap n-gonab, to wound us; bo bup 
n-gonab to wound you ; bd n-sonab, to wound 

3. The general way of forming the infinitive is 
by adding ab or eab, the first when the last vowel 
of the root is broad ; the second when the vowel 
is slender. 

4. If the final consonant of the root be preceded 
by l as part of a diphthong or triphthong, the 
final vowel is made broad in the infinitive (which 
is usually, but not always, done by dropping the 
i) ; as buail, bualab; 50m, 5-onab, to wound. 
But if the final consonant be preceded by 1 
alone, the infinitive is formed according to the 
general rule in the last paragraph; as mill, mil- 
leab, to destroy. 

5. The infinitives of many verbs are formed 
irregularly, and these must be learned by prac- 

* For the influence of the possessive pronouns, see pages 
9, 11, 12; and see also Syntax. 


tice. The following are a few of such verbs. 
Each group exhibits a particular type, in which 
the manner of forming the infinitive will be obvv- 
ous on inspection. 

or Imperative. 



O'éas, to die. 


Oo pnárh, to swim. 


O'ól, to drink. 


Oo cannams, to draw. 


Oo cup, to put. 


Oo 50I, to weep. 


0'irnipc, to play. 


O'mgrtc, to graze. 


Oo Oibipc, to banish. 


Oo ceilo, to conceal. 


0' ptísbáil, to leave. 


Oo gabdil, to take. 


Oo cosbdil, to lift. 


Oo leanamain, to follow. 


Oo cailleaniam, to lose. 


O'oilearhain, to nourish. 


O'-poilleaiiiain to suit. 


Oo gluapacc, to move. 


O'éipceacc, to listen. 


3E Participle. 

1. The active participle is merely the infinitive 
mood, with some such particle as 05 prefixed ; as 
05 bualaó at beating or a-beating. 

2. The .passive participle is generally formed 
by adding ce or ce when the last vowel of the 
root is slender, and ca or ca, when broad. 

When the root ends in c, 0, 1, 11, n, nn, p, c, or § (except 
verbs in tug or 15), the c of the participial termination re- 
tains its sound : after any other consonant, and also in verbs 
in 1115 or 15, the c is aspirated. In the passive voice, the 
terminations cap and ci follow the same law. 



1. Verbs of two or more syllables with the root 
ending in ui£, or 15, and some other dissyllabic 
verbs ending in il, in, ip, and ip, differ so decidedly 
from the model verb in the formation of some of 
their moods and tenses, that some writers,* not 
without reason, class them as a second conjuga- 

2. The difference lies in the formation of the 
future and of the conditional in both voices ; the 
other moods and tenses are formed like those of 

3. In bucul, and all other verbs of its kind, the 
letter p is a characteristic mark of the future 
and of the conditional mood in both voices, as 
stated in Par. 3, p. 59. 

4. The verbs now under consideration have no 
p in the future and conditional, but they take in- 
stead, eó, before the final consonant of the root. 

5. In addition to this change, verbs in U15 and 
15 change 5 into c ; though in the spoken lan- 
guage of most parts of Ireland, the $ retains its 

6. There is no other inflectional difference be- 
tween these verbs and buail, the personal ter- 
minations following the final consonant of the 
root being the same in all cases. 

7. In the other tenses of the indicative, verbs 
in ll, in, ip and ip are almost always syncopated 
by the elision of the vowel or diphthong preceding 
the final root consonant, ascooail, sleep, coolaim, 

* As for instance the Rev. Canon Bourke in bis " College 
Irish Grammar." 


I sleep, &c. (But this change is not regarded as 
grammatical inflection.) 

8. Verbs in ui§ almost always form their in- 
finitive by dropping the 1 and adding the usual ter- 
mination ao ; those in 15 alone (not preceded by u), 
retain the i and take u after it in the infinitive : 
as comapcuig, mark ; infinitive, coriiapéugaó ; 
coniaipli<5, advise; infinitive, corhaipliu^aó. 

9. Sometimes there are other slight changes, 
caused chiefly by the rule coal le caol &c, which 
will be obvious on inspection. 

10. The following are a few examples of the 
formation of the present and future indicative, 
and of the conditional mood, in such verbs. The 
first person singular only is given in each case, as 
the other persons have the same terminations as 
buail and meall. 

Root or imper. Pres. indie. Future indie. Conditional Mood. 

Oipig, direct. Oípigiin. bípeócab. bípeócmnn. 

(5pá&ui(5, love. spáóuigini.spdióeócab. sptíióeóóamn. 

Labaip, speak. labpaim. laibeópab. laibeópainn. 

Cappuin5, draw, ccnpngim. caipeon^at). caipeón 5011111. 

popgail, open, popslcnm. poipseólaO. poipseólamn. 

Copam, defend, copnaim. coipeónat). coipeónawn. 

Inmp, tell, mmpim. mneópat). mneópamn. 

Oíbip, banish. Oíbpmi. Oíbeópab. Oíbeópamn. 

11. In Munster, verbs in il, m, ip, and íp, are 
conjugated like those in uig or 15; and the eó 
comes after the final consonant: thus bibip, 
banish, is made in the future and conditional, 
Oíbpeógao and oíbpeógainn, as if the verb were 

12. A table of the full conjugation of a verb in 
uig (ápOui^) is given at page 65. 






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|o tX3S3 S3 

SD S3 S3 ,-——-, 

a vo so ;s3 S3 >c ;Kj S3 so;s3 a *o g p| 

r « 



<D ! f\ vD V P- P-l 

-S3 ® 


E u p. 

p. p- p ■ P-5M 


p P---2 



C c_<D ! 


p.g a a a -ipjo ^ c 

g ■*?*? 

to -to -to 



A. jV 1 -o -6 <D § © 

^H-'-IOOOC SO SO O — -= 

1 ill 

so S3 

B B 5 
p. p. p. 

<3 S3 S3 

jo a 

P- CD 

p P P ;' 
jo jo ! 

^. ^ p- 

O S3 S3 

P P P ! 
O JO jo | 

0*0 so" » 

a; cd ;^ .p- 

D^jO JO/OjDo .- 
5 S3 S3 ,S3 S3 S3 ]'£ S 

-H ci có 

-H(?í CO 


4<m'co t 

_© . 

H ClCO r 

-í ci có '^í ci cc; w 

"43 r- 

as " 

s ^ 


c « 

e3 O 

g^ - 

*-> p 

a § 
J- 1 

5" § 

•P Ci 



§^ ! 

•pOOJ\[ 8AIlT!0Tpnl 



1. There are fourteen irregular verbs, several 
of which are defective, i.e., want one or more of 
the moods and tenses. The conjugation of some 
of them, it will be observed, is made up of that of 
two or more different verbs. 

2. It will also be observed that through all 
their irregularities, the five synthetic personal 
terminations remain unchanged ; for which reason 
it is scarcely correct to call these verbs irregular 
at all. 

3. The irregular verbs are as follows : — (1), 
cdim, I am ; (2), the assertive verb ir ; (3), beipim, 
I give ; (4), beipim, I bear ; (5), cim, I see (in- 
cluding peicim); (6), cluinim, I hear ; (7), oéan- 
ann, I do; (8), ^nim or nim, I do; (9), Oeipim, 
I say; (10), pagcum or geibim, I find ; (11), icim, 
I eat; (12), pigirn, I reach; (13), céiúim, I go ; 
(14), C15UT1, I come. 

4. The following is the synthetic conjugation of 
the irregular verbs (except in the case of the second 
verb íp, which has no synthetic conjugation). 
They may be all conjugated analytically, by using 
the third person singular of each tense with the 
three personal pronouns singular and plural, as 
shown in case of the regular verb at page 49. 
As an example, the analytic conjugation of the 
present tense of the first verb, cdim, is given. 

(1.) Cdim, I am. 

Imperative Mood. 
Singular. Plural. 

1 1. bímíp , let us be. 

2. bi, be thou. 2. bíÓíO, be ye. 

3. bi&ea& fé, or bío& r é, 3. btoíp, let them be. 

let him be . 


Indicative Mood. 
Present Tense» 

Singular. Plural. 

1. cdim, acdim, I am. 1. cdmaoit», acdmaoib, we 


2. cdip, acdip, thou art. 2. cdcaoi, acdcaoi, ye are. 

3. cd pé, acd pé, be is. 3. edit», acdit», they are. 

analytic conjugation. 

1. cd mé, acd mé, I am: 1. cd firm, acd pinn, we 


2. cd cti, acd cú, thou 2. cd fib, acd rib, ye 

art. are. 

3. cd ré, acd ré, he is. 3. cd riat>, acd pat), they 


Consuetudinal Present. 

1. bi&im, I am usually. 1. bímít», bí&mít», bio- 

maoib, we are usually. 

2. bíúip, thou art usually. 2. bící, bí&cí, ye are usu- 


3. bíóeann pé, or bíonn pé, 3. bit», bíúit», they are usu- 

he is usually. ally. 

Interrogative and Negative Present. 
(The negative particle is here used : see Par. 3, p. 69.) 

1. ni b-puilim, I am not.* ]. nt b-puilmib, we are not. 

2. ni b-puilip, thou art not. 2. ni b-puilci, ye are not. 

3. ní b-puil pé, he is not. 3. ni b-puilib, they are not. 

* These are commonly pronounced in conversation as if the 
b-pui were omitted in each case ; and accordingly they are 
often contracted in books to ní'lim, ní'tip, ni'l pé, &c. 


Past Tense. 

Singular. Plural. 

\. bioeap, bíop, I was. 1. bioearnap, biomap, we 


2. biOip, bip, thou wert. 2. blóeabap, bíobap, ye 


3. bíO pé, bí pé, he was. 3. bíOeaOap, bíoOap, they 


Consuetudinal Past. 

1. bioinn, binn, I used to be. 1. bíOmíp, bimip, we used 

to be. 

2. bibced, biced, thou usedst 2. bíoéí, bící, ye used to 

to be. be. 

3. bioeao p é, bíoO pé, he used 3. bíobíp, WWr, they used 

to be. to be. 

Interrogative and Negative Past. 
(The negative particle is here used : see Par. 3, p. 69). 

1. ni pabap, I was not. 1. ni pabamap, we were 


2. ni pabaip, thou wert not. 2. nipababap, ye were not. 

3. ní paib pé, he was not. 3. ni pabcfoap, tbey were 



1. bei&eat», I shall be. 1. beibmiO, we shall be. 

2. beiOip, thou shalt be. 2. beiOiO, ye sball be. 

3. beiO pé, he shall be. 3. beiOit», they shall be. 


Conditional Mood. 

1. beiomn, I would be. 1. beiomip, we would be. 

2. beiocetí, thou wouldst be. 2. bei&ci, ye would be. 

3. beibeao ré, or beic ré, 3. beibip, tbey would be. 

be would be. 

Infinitive Mood. 
Do beic, to he. 

G5 beic, being. 

1. TJá is commonly called the substantive verb, 
and answers to the verb " to be" in English. 

2. It has two forms, which the regular verb has 
not, namely, a form in the present tense for in- 
terrogation and negation (b~puilim), and a form 
in the past tense for the same (pabap). These 
two are classed by 0' Donovan as a subjunctive 
mood, present and past tense. 

3. The forms b-puilim and pabap are used 

(a.) After negative and interrogative particles ; 
as ní b-puil pé cinn, he is not sick; ni paib íné 
arm pin, I was not there: an b-puil pion in bap 
lon^aib ? "Is there wine in your ships?" Qn 
pabaip 05 an ^-cappaig? "Wert thou at the 
rock" (or at Carrick) ? O nac b-puil oul uaió 
05am, "since I cannot escape from him" (lit. 
"since it is not with me to go from him"); an 
b-puil a piop agac pern, a phmn ? ni pull, ap 
pionn, " 'Is the knowledge of it with thyself, 
OFinn?' 'It is not,' says Finn." 

(But these forms are not used after the inter- 
rogative cionnap, how?) 


(£.) After 50, that ; as beipim 50 b-puilpé pldn, 
I say that he is well. 

(c.) After the relative a when it follows a pre- 
position, or when it signifies " all that" (Par. 8, 
page 47) ; as cpeub é an ppea^pa cabappaip 
ap Ohia, 05 a b-puil piop Oo locc? " What 
answer wilt thou give to God, who has a know- 
ledge of thy sins ?" (lit. " with whom is a know- 
ledge") ; a b-puil 6 áó-cliaó 50 h-Oileán mop an 
iDhappaig, " all that is from Ath-cliath (Dublin) to 
Oileán mór an Bharraigh ;" 00 beipmfo ap m-bpia- 
cap nac beaj5 linn a m-beupam 50 pionn 010b, 
" we pledge our word, that we do not think it 
little, all that we shall bring of them to Finn." 

4. This verb, like verbs in general, has a rela- 
tive form for the present and future ; but the rela- 
tive form of the present is always a consuetudinal 
tense (whereas in regular verbs it is generally not 
consuetudinal) ; as map an 5-céabna bíop (or 
bíóeap) an bdp an oipcill bo piop ap an bume ; 
" in like manner death is (in the habit of ) lying 
in wait always for man." 

5. The analytic form of this verb is now far 
more common in the spoken language than the 
synthetic. In asking a question the analytic form 
is often preferred: but in answering, the syn- 
thetic ; as an paib cú 05 an g-Cappais ? ^ t>o 
biop 05 an 5-Cappais, "Were you at Oarrick? 
I was at Carrick." 

6. The letter a is often prefixed to the present 
tense both in speaking and writing : acd instead 
of cd, &c. ; it is sometimes slightly emphatic, btrt 
oftener merely euphonic, and does not otherwise 
affect the meaning. 

7. This verb is often used as an auxiliary, like 
the verb "to be" in English; and it is the only 
verb in the Irish language that can be regarded 


as an auxiliary. Thus, instead of buailceap mé, 
I am struck, we can say có* mé bum Ice : for t>o 
buaileaó me, I was struck, bo bí mé buailce, &c. 

(2.) lp, it is. 

Indicative Mood. 

Present Tense, 

lp, it is : as ir- mé, it is I ; ip GÚ, it is tbou. 

Past Tense, 
ba or buo, it was ; as ba me, it was I. 

Future Tense. 

bub or bur, it will be. 

Conditional Mood. 

bab, it would be. 

L This is commonly called the assertive verb. 

2. It has no inflection for person, being always 
used in the third person singular : hence it is 
often called the impersonal verb. 

3. It has no other moods and tenses besides 
those given above. 

4. It takes other forms in the modern language, 
some of them contracted, which are often puzzling 
to learners. 

5. After ^up, that, it is often made ab, which 
is given by O'Donovan as a subjunctive mood ; as 
cpeibim ^iip ab é oxá cmn, I believe that it is he 
(who) is sick : meapmm bá péip pm, ^up ab ba 
bliagain a^up pice pul pu^ab Gbpaham óánic 
papóolón i n-Gipinn, "I think, according to that 


that it is two years and twenty before Abraham 
was born, that Partholon came to Erin." 

6. Yery often gup ab is shortened by omitting 
the a ; as cpeibim ^up 'bé, &c.; and sometimes 
the b is joined to ^up, as cpeibim o"upb &, &c 

7. After ma, if, the l is omitted, as md'p píop é, 
if it be true ; and in this case the p is often joined 
to the má ; as map píop é : map maió leac a beic 
buan, caic puap agnp ceic, "if you wish to be 
long-lived, drink cold and hot" (or "drink cold 
and flee" — a celebrated Irish saying of double 

8. Sometimes ba or ba is shortened to b or b 
alone, which again is often joined to the preced- 
ing word ; as laoc o'dp b'ainm Lip, or laoc 
bapb ainin Lip, " a hero whose name was 
Lir;" of which the full construction is, laoc bo 
apoba ainm Lip, " a hero to whom was name Lir." 

9. There is another form, pd, for the past tense, 
which is now disused, but which is constantly used 
by Keating, and by other writers of the seven- 
teenth and eighteenth centuries : pd cpéanpeap 
an Ceac po, " this Ceat was a mighty man ;" íp í 
(banba) pa bean Oo TTlliac Coill, tfap b'amm 
bíliop Gaéúp, " it is she (Banba) who was wife to 
Mac Coll, whose proper name was Eathur;" óp é 
an pcoicbéapla pd ceanga coicceann pan Scicia 
an cpdc bo cpiall "Neníieaó aipbe, "since it is 
the Scotic language which was the common tongue 
in Scj^thia in the time that Neimheadh emigrated 
from it.""' 

10. Eor the distinction between cd and íp, see 

*For the various forms assumed by this verb in the ancient 
language, see O'Donovan's most instructive article in his 
" Irish Grammar," p. 161. 

With the usual 


(3.) bheiprm, I give. 

Imperative Mood. 
Singular. PluraL 

1. . . . 1. cabpamaoip. 

2. cabaip. 2. cabpaib. 

3. cabpabpé. 3. cabpabaoip. 

Indicative Mood. 
First Person Singular. 

Present: beipirn, cabpcnm, or 

Consuet. Pres. : beipecmn. 
Past: cusar. 

Consuet. Past : beipmn, cusainn. \, terminations for 

Future : béappab, cabappab. tneotnerpersom 

and numbers 

Conditional béappcnrm, cabappamn. 

Infinitive; bo cabaipc. Participle; 05 cabaipc. 


Imperative ; beipceap, cábapcap, cuscap, mé, 6tí, é, &c. 

Indicative Mood. 

Present: beipceap, cuftcap. ^ 

Past : cusab. J 

Consuet. Past : beipcibe, cujcaibe. 

Future: béappap, cabappap. J-TTlé, tú, é, to. 

Conditional béappmbe, cabappaifte. 

Infinitive ; bo beic cabapca, bo beic cugca. 

Participle; cabapca, cugca. 


1. This verb is made up of three different verbs : 
in some of the tenses any one of the three may 
be employed ; in some, either of two ; and in some 
only one ; as shown in the paradigm. 

2. In the present tense, beipim (but not the 
other two verbs) takes the particle t>o (which is a 
mark of the past in regul(?.r verbs), and commonly 
has its initial aspirated. 

(4.) beipim, Hear. 

Imperative Mood. 


1. . . . 

2. beip. 

3. beipeao pé< 




Indicative Mood. 

First Person Singular. 
Present: beipim. 
Consuet. Present: beipecmn. 
Past: pusap. 
Consuet. Past : beipmn. 
Future : béappao. 


With the usual 
terminations for 
> the other persons 
and numbers. 

Conditional béappainn. 

Infinitive; bobpeió. Participle; a$ bpeié. 

Imperative Mood; beipceap mé, cú, é, &c. 

CHAP. V.] 


Indicative Mood. 

Present: beipceap. 
Past: pugao. 
Consuet. Past : beipci. 
Future: béappap. 

> me, ctí, é, &c. 

Conditional béappaióe. 

Infinitiyb; bo beic beipce. Par 

nciPLE; beipce. 

(5.) Cim, I see. 


Imperative Mood. 
Singular. Plural. 

1. . . . 1. peicimíp, peicimib. 

2. peic. 2. peicib. 

3. peiceaó pé. 3. peicibíp. 

Indicative Mood. 

Present Tense. 

1. óíomi, cim, peicim. 1. ciomib, címío, peicimío 

2. cíoip, cíp, peicip. 2. cíócí, cící, peiccí. 

3. cíoio pé, cio pé, peicio pé. 3. cíoib, cíb, peicib. 

Consuet. Pres.; cíDeann, peiceann, mé, cú, pé, &c. 


1. óonnapcap. 

2. óormapcaip. 

3. óonnaipc pé. 

1. óoncamap. 

2. óoncabap. 

3. óoncaOap. 

First Person Singular. 
Consuet. Past : óíomri or 6ínn. 
Future : óíopeab or cípeaO, 

J With the usual 
J terminations for 
Conditional Ciopirm, or Cipinr., or [ the other persons 
Mood: peicpirm. J and numbers. 

Inpinitiye Mood; b'peicpm or bpeicpmc. 
Participle ; 05 peicpin or 05 peicpmc. 



Imperative Mood ; peicceap, mé, c1j, é, &o. 

Indicative Mood. 

Present Tense: cibceap or peicceap. 1 

Past: conn ap cab. 

Past. Consuet. : cíócí or peicci. 

Future: ci&peap or peicpeap. ^lllé, ótj, é, &c. 

Conditional cíopibe or peicpi&e. 
Mood : , 

Infinitive Mood; bo tieic peicce. Participle; peicce 

1. Cíóiiri is defective in some of its moods and 
tenses, which are supplied by other verbs — the 
imperative and infinitive by peicim or paicim, and 
the past indicative of both voices by an old verb — 
otherwise disused — connapcaim. 

2. peicim or paicim, although it is brought in 
among the irregular verbs to supply the defects 
of cÍDim, is itself regular. 

3. Observe that the initial of cíóim is always 

(6.) Cluinim. Ihear. 
Indicative Mood. 

Past Tense. 

1. cualap. 1. cualamap. 

2. cualaip. 2. cualaoap. 

3. cualaio- pé. 3. cualaoap* 

Infinitive Mood Active; bo clop or bo cloipcin. 

Participle Active ; 05 clop or 05 cloipcin. 

1. In all the other moods and tenses, cluinim is 
regular, and is conjugated like buail. 

CHAP. V.] 



(7.) béancum, I do. 

Imperative Mood. 
1. • • • 1. béanam, béanamaoip, 

2- béan. 2. béanaib. 

3. béanab pé. 3. béanaibíp. 

Indicative Mood. 
Past Tense. 

1. piéneap, bedpnap, béa- 1. pigneamap, bedpnamap, 

•nap. béanamap. 

2. pigmp, bedpnaip, béa- 2. pigneabap, bedpnabap, 

naip. béanabap. 

3. pi<5Tie pé, bedpnab pé, 3. pigneabap, bedpnabap, 

béan pé. béanabap. 

First Person Singular. 

Present : béanaim. 

Consuet. Pres. : béanann. 

Consuet. Past: §TiíbiTm,beapnairm,&éa- 




With the 
usual termina- 
tions for the 
ether persona 
and numbers. 

Mood : 

Infinitive Mood ; bo béanarh or bo béanab. 

Participle ; 05 béanarh or 05 béanab. 


Imperative Mood ; Déancap mé, cú, é, &c. 

Indicative Mood. 


pigneab, bedpnab. 

Present : 
Past : 

Consuet. Past 
Future : 

mé, eti, é,&c. 

Conditional óéanpaibe. 

Mood : 
Infinitive Mood ; bo beic béanca. Participle; béanca. 

1. This verb and the next borrow from each 
other to form some of the moods and tenses in 
which they are defective. 




Present : 
Past : 

(8.) 5 nÍTri or ^ m ) I do. 

Indicative Mood. 
First Person Singular. 

With the usual 
terminations for 

5nim ornim. 
gníóear or nfóeap. 

Consuet. Past: gníómn or ni&irm. 

' the other persons 
and numbers. 

Indicative Mood. 

Present : &niceap or niceap. 

Consuet. Past : stiící or nící. 

nié, ct5, é, &c. 

1. This verb is used in no other moods or tenses ; 
but so far as it goes it is very common in both 
forms — with and without the 5 (snim and nim). 
The other moods and tenses are expressed by 
means of béanaim. 


1. . . . 

2. abaip. 

3. abpao ré; 

(9.) beipim, I say. 


Imperative Mood. 


1. abpam, abpcmriaoip.abpaniaoib. 

2. abpaift. 

3. abpabaoip. 

Indicative Mood. 
Present Tense. 

1. beipim: 

2. beipip. 

3. beip pé. 

1. beipimíb. 

2. beipcit) 

3. beipit). 

Consuet. Pres. beipeann me, cú, pó, &c. 

CHAP. y.J 




1. bubpcrp. 

2. bubpaip. 

3. bubaipcpé. 

First Person Singular. 
Constcet. Past : beipmn. 
Future : béappab. 

Mood : 

1. bubpamap. 

2. bubpabap. 

3. bubpabap. 

IWith the usual 
terminations for 
the other persons 
and numbers. 

Infinitive Mood ; bo pd&. Participle; 05 p<5&. 


Imperative Mood; abaptap mé, cú, é, &c. 

Indicative Mood. 

Present : 

Past : bubpab. 

Consuet Past : beipcf. 
Future: béappap. 

Mood : 



iNiiNiTrvE Mood ; bo beic pdioce, bo beic pdice. 
Participle; pdibce, pdice. 

1. The verb abpaim, I say, from which beipim 
borrows its imperative, is itself a regular verb. 

2. Observe the characteristics of bubpap, the 
past indicative active : — (a) it does not take the 
participle bo or po ; (5) the initial is not aspirated. 

3. The letter a is often prefixed to this verb 
for the sake of emphasis; as a beipim for beipim, 
I say ; a bubaipc pé for bubaipc pé, he said. 


(lO.) pagcnm or geibiim, I find. 


Imperative Mood. 

Singular. Plural. 

1. . . . I. pa§maoip, pasmaoib. 

2. pag. 2. pasaio. 

3. pagao, pé. 3. pagcubip. 

Indicative Mood. 
Present Tense. 

1. pagaiTn or seibim. 1. pagmaoib or éeibmíb. 

2. pagaip or geibip. 2. pagcaio or geibcíó. 

3. paratope, or geibpe. 3. pagait» or jjeibib. 


1. puapáp. 1. puaparhap. 

2. puapaip. 2. puapabap. 

3. puaip pé. 3. puapat>ap. 

First Person Singular. 

Consuet. Past .• pa$mnn or seibinn. } Witll ^ 

Future : góabat., eec-bab. U9ual termina 

Future ncg . § mterrog . geabab or bpuiseab. [ tiona fo] . ^ 

Conditional Ééabairm, geobairm. I and numbers" 3 

Mood: or b-pagmnn, b-puisirm/ 

Infinitive; b'pdsail. Participle; 05 pdgail. 


Imperative Mood ; pagcap me, cú, é, &c. 

Indicative Mood. 

Present : pas cap. \ 

Past: puapab or ppit. 

Consuet. Past : geibtl. L nie> eu> e &c# 

Conditional éeabóai&e, b-puigci&e. 
Mood : / 

(Defective in Infinitive and Participle.) 


1. The second form of this verb (geibim) has its 
initial aspirated in the present and future active. 

2. The past tense (puapap, &c.) may or may 
not take the particle t>o or po ; but its initial con- 
sonant is not aspirated. 

(11.) lciTTi, I eat. 


First Person Singular. 
Future Indicative: loppat). n with the usual termi . 
r, > nations for the other 

TJod : ^ lorpaim.. j persons and numberSi 

1. The past indicative is either the regular form 
b'ióeap, &c, or the irregular On ap (with the usual 
terminations : — buaip, buaio pé, &c.) 

2. The infinitive is b'ice. 

3. In other respects this verb is regular. 

(12.) "Rigim, I reach. 

Imperative Mood. 
Singular. Plural. 

1 1. piémíp. 

2. pig. 2. pigifc. 

3. pigeaopé. 3. pisioíp. 

Indicative Mood. 
Present Tense. 

Singular. Plural. 

1. pléiTTi 1. pigmib. 

2. pigip 2. pisci. 

3. pis pé. 3. P151O. 





1. pdnjap. 1. ptínsamap. 

2. pánsaip. 2. pán^abap. 

3. páinigpé, pdna.15 pé. 3. pansabap. 

First Person Singular. 

Consuet Past : 
Future : 

Mood : 



With the usual terroi- 
> nations for the other per- 
| sons and numbers. 

Infinitive; bo piaccain or bopoccaw. 
1. The past, future, and conditional, are some- 
times expressed by a different verb, as follows : — 
but this form (which is the same form as the in- 
finitive), is not often met with in the modern lan- 

First Person Singular. 
Past: piaócap. 

Future : piaccpab. 

Mood : 


With the usual termi- 
i nations for the other personc 
and numbers. 

(13.) Céioinri, I go. 

Imperative Mood. 

1. . . . 

2. céio. 

3. ceioeab ré. 


1. céiomíp. 

2. céiÓiD. 

3. célóbíp. 

Indicative Mood. 
Present Tense. 

Singular. Plural. 

1. céiolm. 1. céibmíb. 

2. céiólp. 2. céi&cío or céicib 

3. céiópé. 3. céioib. 

CHAP. V.] 



Past Tense. 

1. cua&ap. 

2. cuaomp. 

3. cuaió pé. 

1. cua&map. 

2. cuaobap. 

3. óuaooap. 

There is another form of the past tense of this 
verb used after the particles 50, ni, &c., which 
O'Donovan classes as a subjunctive mood. The 
negative rii, which aspirates, is here prefixed : after 
50, the initial would be eclipsed. 

1. -nt oeacap 

2. m oeacaip. 

3. nt óeacaió pé. 

1. n1 Oeacamap. 

2. ní oeacabap. 
8. nioeaoaOap. 

Consuet Past : 
Future : 


First Person Singular. ' 
paópao orpacao. 

pacpainn or pacairm. 

IWith the 
usual termina- 
tions for the 
other persons 
and numbers. 

Infinitive ; 00 oul. Participle ; 05 bul. 

(14.) ci 51m, I come. 
Imperative Mood. 


1. . . . 

2. cap or C15. 

3. cigeao pé. 

1. clgimip or cigeaTn. 

2. C151&. 

3. cigioip. 

Iindicative Mood. 
Present Tense. 

1. ci5im. 

2. cisip. 

3. cispé 

1. C151TT1ÍO. 

2. C15Í&, ci?jc<6 

3. C1510. 




Past Tense. 

1. ednsap. 

2. cángcup. 

3. cóinicpé. 

First Person Singular 

Consuet Past 
Future : 



1. cdn^amap. 

2. cánsabap. 

3. Gangabap. 

IWith the usual termi- 
nations for the other 
persons and numbers. 

Infinitive ; bo ceaóc. Participle ; 05 ceaóc. 


1. The following defective verbs are often met 
with in the modern language. 

dip or ap, " says." It is used only in the third 
person, much like the English defective verb quoth ; 
as, dip pé, says he : cpeub t>o óéunpcup bam ? ap 
t)iapmaib: " 'What wilt thou do for me?' says 
Diarmaid ;" t>éan eólup bíhrm map a b-puil pé, a\\ 
piab, " ' give knowledge to us where he is,' said 
they (or say they)." In the older writings this verb 
is often written ol. 

dc bac, he (or she) died. 

Dap, it seems, it seemed, or it might seem (ac- 
cording to the tense or mood of the verb with which 
it is connected). Dap liom, methinks or me- 
thought ; bap leac it seems or seemed to thee ; 
and so on with the rest of these prepositional pro- 
nouns singular and plural : t)o pic pé, t>a\\ liom, 
Tviap an gaoic, he ran, methought (or it seemed 
to me) like the wind. 

Dlisceap, it is lawful, it is allowed. 


Out», to know; éaimc pé t>up an paibpiat>ann,he 
came (in order) to know whether they were there. 

peaoap, I know; used only negatively and in- 
terrogatively, and in the present tense : nipeaoap 
mé, I do not know ; ní peaoap pó, he does not 
know; an b-peaOpabap ? do ye know? 

Ni pulchp, it is necessary (or "must," used im- 
personally) ; ní puldip óam a beic aip pmbal, f ' it is 
necessary for me to be (or I must be"» walking 





1. There are not many simple adverbs in the 
Irish language. Far the greatest number of the 
Irish adverbs are compounds of two or more words. 

2. An adverb may be formed from an adjective 
by prefixing the particle 50, which in this applica- 
tion has the same effect as the English postfix ly ; 
as bopb, fierce; 50 bopb, fiercely. Almost all 
Irish adjectives admit of being changed in this 
manner to adverbs. 

8. Besides the adverbs formed in this way, there 
are many compound adverbs, which are generally 
made up of a noun and a preposition ; the prepo- 
sition often causing an eclipsis. 

4. The following is an alphabetical list of the 
compound adverbs in most general use, with a few 
of the simple adverbs. Some of the compound 
adverbs become, in some situations, prepositions : — 
a b-pat», far off, in space or Q O-corac, at first, in the 

time. beginning. 

Gbup, on this side. (See Q O-cuaiÓ, northwards. 

call.) a 5-céabóip, immediately. 



5-cém, far off. 

a --coniTiui&e, always. 

Q5 pin, there. 

Q5 r o, here. 

Q5 ftJt), yonder. 

Oin aip, back, backward. 
(See aip éigin.) 

Qin ball, on the spot, in- 

Clip bic, at all. 

Qip bun, on foundation: 
cup dip bun, to found, 
to institute. 

Qip ceana, in like manner ; 
in general. 

Clip coiOce, for ever. 

Clip éigm, with difficulty; 
perforce :— aip aip no aip 
615m, by consent or by 
force : nolens volens ; willy 

Qip 5-CÚI, backwards, back : 
cup aip 5-cúl — the op- 
posite to cup aip bun — to 
put back, to abolish. 

Qip lei 6, apart, separately. 

Qip mob, in a manner; so 

Oip pon, for the sake of. 

Oip uaipib, at times; some- 

amaó, out of, outside. 

am dm, alone, only. 

amdpaó, to-morrow. 

amui<5, outside. 

arhuil, like, as. 

On dipbe, on high. 

One, yesterday. 

Oniop, from below, upwards. 

ann émpeacc, together. 

Onn pm, there. 

Onn po, here; 

Onn púb, yonder. 

a nbeap, southward. 

anaice, near. 

On all, to this side ; hither. 

ngap, near. 

aniu, to-day. 

Onoip, now. 

On onn, to that side ; thither. 
— On can, when. 

anuap, from above, down- 

apéip, last night. 

Op 1 aril, ever. 

Opip, again. 

Opceac, in, into. 

apci<5, in, inside. 

beas naó, little but ; almost. 

Cd h-ap, cab ap, canap, 
from what ? whence ? 

Cd riiéib, how many ? how 
much ? 

Cdic, cd h-dic, cia die, 
what place ? 

t)e bpi5, because. 

Do piop, always. 

eabon, that is; i.e.; id est. 

pd, gives an adverbial mean- 
ing to some words. 

pd óéabóip, immediately. 

Pd oeoio", at last. 

pd 06, twice. 

Pd peao, by turns; respec- 

Pa cpi, thrice. 

5o bpdc, for ever (lit. to 
[the] judgment). 

5o beirinn, verily; truly; 

5o b-ci, unto. 

5o poll, yet; awhile. 

<5o h-iomldn, altogether. 

5o léip, entirely. 

5o leóp, enough. 

lomoppo, however, more- 
over, indeed. 

TTlaille pe, together with. 

map an 5-céabna, hkewise; 
in like manner. 


map aon le, together with. 

No 50, until. 

O poin ale, from that time 

Op cionn, above. 
Stop, downwards. 
Soip, eastwards. 



Suap, upwards. 

Chall, on the other side; be- 
yond. (See Clbup.) 

Cam all, awhile. 

Cuille eile, besides; more- 


1. The following is a list of the simple preposi- 
tions : — 

a or i, in ; as a mbaile, in 
the town. 

0, out of, or from (unusual) ; 
as a TTluTTiain, out of 

05 or 015, at, with. 

Clip, ap, upon. 

Onn, in. This takes p before 
the article. (See page 17.) 

Op, out of. 

Chum, to or towards, for the 
purpose of. 

Dap, used in swearing, equi- 
valent to by : bap mo bpia- 
cap, " by my word." 

Do, to. Oe, from, off, of. 

eabap, the same as lbip. 

pd or paoi, under. 

(5cm, without. 

5o, towards, along with. It 
takes p before the article 
an ; as gup an b-ci$,to the 

1, the same as a. 

lap, after. It takes p before 
the article (an), and be- 
comes iapp. 

lbip, between. 

lm, the same as urn. 

Le or pe, with. It takes p 
before the article (an), and 
then becomes lei] 4 or pip. 

TTlap, like, as. 

O, from. 

Op, over, above. 

"Re, pia, before. It takes p 
before the article (an). 

Seac, beyond, besides. 

Cap, over, across. It takes 
PÍ before the article fan), 
and then becomes capp. 

Cpé, through. It takes p 
before the article, and then 
becomes cpép. 

Cpíb, the same as cpé. 

Um or im, about. 

2. Some of the simple prepositions are amalga- 
mated with the personal and possessive pronouns, 
for which see pages 41, 45. 

3. Besides the simple prepositions, there are in 
Irish a number of compound prepositions. Each 
of these consists of a simple preposition followed 
by a noun ; and in many of them the initial of the 
noun is eclipsed by the influence of the simple 


preposition. In some cases the preposition has 
dropped out and only the noun remains. 

4. The following is a list of the most usual 
compound prepositions, with their meanings : — 

Q b-pia&naipe, in presence of. 

Q b-pocaip, with, along with. 

Q b-caoib, in regard to, concerning. 

a b-cimóeall : see cimceall, 

Q 5-cecmn, at the bead of, at the end of, with regard to. 

Q 5-coirme, against, for (in the phrase to go for) : piciD a 

5-COinne a céiíe, " they run against each other:" bo 

cuaib pe a 5-comne a acap, he went for his father. 
Q 5-coip, by the side of, hard by, along. This is often con- 
tracted to coip: coip na bpigbe, "beside the (river) 

Q h-aicle, after : a h-aicle na laoi&epm, " after that lay." 
ameaps, amongst : piop ameaps na 5-coillceaO, " down 

amongst the woods." 
Q Idcaip, in presence of. 
Qip ajaió, forward, over against, opposite: bul aip ajaib, 

to go forward, to progress: aip agaib na saoice, oppo- 
site (exposed to) the wind. 
Qip béalaib, in front of, opposite: bo luigbip bo §ndc 

a n-iom&aib ap bealaib a n-acap, ".they used to lie. 

customarily, in beds opposite their father'' (Children of 

Qip bun, on foundation. 
Qip ceann, for (in the phrase to go for); as a bubaipc 

Naipe le h-Opban bul aip cenn Pepsuip, " Naisi said 

to Ardan to go for Fergus." 
Oip peao, through, throughout, during: aip peab blia&nn, 

" during a year." 
Oip pub, thoughout, amongst aip pub na b-conn, amongst 

the waves. 
Oip 5-cul, behind. 
Oip pon, for the sake of, although. 
n-biaio, after : a n-biaib a céile, after one another, one 

after another. 
Coip, contracted from a 5-coip. 
Dála, as to : btíla blánaibe, " as to Blanaid." 
O'éip, after: b'éip na bilinne, " after the deluge." 
O'ionnpaigib or b'ionn Paige, towards: gluaipeap póirhe 

b'lonnpaige aluin^e, "he ero o s forward towards his ship," 


Docum, towards. 

Do péip, according to. 

5o nuifte, unto, until. 

5o O-ci, to, unto, as far as: piubail 50 O-ci an Oopup, 

walk to the door, 
lomóúp a, as to : lomctipa phmn, "as to Finn." 
pd óuaipim, towards. 
Lúirh le or láirh pe, near, by, beside: puiO Idirh liom, sit 

near me ; Idnti pe becmnaib boipce, "beside Beanna 

Op cionn, over, above : 5P a&ul 5 Oia $t cionn 50c uile 

ni&, " lore God above all thing's : " po eipig op cionn an 

gaoi, " be rose over the spear." 
1 5-cionn, the same as a 5-ceann : i 5-cionn na bliaona, 

" at the end of the year." 
Cap ceann, besides, for the sake of, beyond, in preference to. 
Cap aip, backwards ; same as aip aip. 
Cap éip, after; the same as t>6ip: cap éip na Sariina, 

" after the Samhain (1st of November)." 
Cimceall, about, around : ceacc cimceall OhiapmaOa, 

" to go around Dermat." 
Op coriiaip, in presence of, before the face of: Op coriiaip 

phmn, " in presence of Finn." 


1. There are few simple conjunctions in the 
Irish language. 

2. There are, however, many compound con- 
junctions, much like the English conjunctional 
phrases, "for the reason that," "to the end that," 

3. Generally speaking, the meanings of the 
compound conjunctions may be easily gathered 
from the signification of the words that compose 
them ; but there are a few whose meanings are 
not so plain. 

4. The following is a list of the simple con- 
junctions with their meanings, together with those 
of the compound conjunctions whose meanings 
are not quite obvious. 



Góc, but, except. 

Góc cecma, but however. 

G5UP, and ; often contracted 
to a'p, ap, and 'p. 

Gip an aobap pip, where- 

Qn, an interrogative parti- 
cle : an b-puil pi pldn ? Is 
sbe well ? 

Gp, the same as the last, 
only used with the past 
tense. See. p. 58. 

OíoÓ, although : it is really 
the third singular impera- 
tive of the verb cdim. 

Cf&: see 5Í0. 

Com, as. 

Dd, if: sometimes written 
od mo. 

Do bpi<5, because. 

Do cum 50, in order that. 

Pop, yet, moreover. 

5iO or gi&eao, although. 

5o, that. 

<5onao aipe pin, wherefore. 

[part n. 

J5up, that: formed of the 
preceding and p o : see p. 58. 

lond, md: see nd. 

lonnup 50, in order that, so 

TTld, if. 

TTId cd 50, although that. 

Tilap, as: see muna. 

Til una, if not, unless ; often 
written mup, and even 
(corruptly) map. 

TTlaipeaÓ, if so, well then. 

TTlap pm, map po, in that 
manner, in this manner: 

Nd, than: seeiond. 

Nd, nor, not. 

No, or : often pronounced nu 
in Munster. 

O, since, seeing that, because. 

O cdpla, since, whereas. 

Oip, because. 

Sul, before. 

"Uime pin, therefore, where- 


1. The following is a list of the most common 
interjections. Besides these there are many inter- 
jectional expressions somewhat like the English, 
" shame !" " Alack ! and well-a-day !" but it is 
not necessary to enumerate them : — 

G, the sign of the vocative 

case, usually translated O. 
Gp cpuag, alas ! what pity ! 
6ipc, hush! list ! 
-Papaop, papaoip, alas ! 
papaoip geup, alas! O 

sharp sorrow ! 
Péac, see ! behold ! 
ITlaips, woe! O sad! 

Ill on dip e, O shame ! 
-Til on uap, alas! woe is me! 

TYlo cpuag : see ay cpuag. 

Oc, uc, alas ! 

Oóón, orucón, alas! written 
oódn orucdn in old writ- 

0105611, alasl 




1. There are in Irish, as in other languages, 
prefixes and affixes, which modify the meanings of 


1. The following is a list of the principal pre- 
fixes with their meanings : it will be observed that 
many of them have a double form, which arises 
from conformity to the rule caol le caol &c. 

2. Most of these are inseparable particles ; but 
a few are also employed independently as separate 

Gip or eir, back or again, like English re : as ioc, pay- 
ment; aipioc, repayment, restitution: eip^e, rising; eipeip^e 

Qrh ormrh, a negative particle, like English im: as péió, 
open, clear ; airhpéiD, difficult, rough. 

On, an intensitive particle : as luacgóipeac, joyful ; as cm- 
luacsdipeac, overjoyed. 

On or am, a negative particle, like English iin : as cpdc 
time; cmcpáó, untimely: mian, desire; aimtnan, evil de- 

Oc, a reiterative, like English re: as páó, a saying ; atpdt), 
a repetition. 

(Xt has sometimes the meaning of English dis in dismantle : 
as cum a, a form; accumaÓ, to deform, to destroy ; piogaD, 
to crown or elect a king ; aicpiogaÓ, to dethrone. 

ban, feminine (from bean, a woman) ; as eaclac, a mes- 
senger ; ban-eaclac or bam-eaclac, a female messenger. 

bic or bioc, lasting, constant: as beó, living; bicbeó, 


Corn, equal : English co or con : as aimpeap, time ; corn- 
aim peapac, contemporary. 

Deag, bei<5, good : as blap, taste ; beasblap, good 01 
pleasant taste. 

Di, bio, a negative, like English dis: as céilli&e, wise ; t)i- 
céillioe, foolish: cecmn, ahead; oíceannaÓ, to behead. 

Opoó.bpoió, bad or evil: as obaip, a work; opoc-obaip 
an evil work. 

Oo and po are opposites, as are also often the letters band p. 
Do denotes difficulty, or ill, or the absence of some good or posi- 
tive quality: as paicpeanae or popaicpeanac, visible; bo- 
paicpeanac, invisible: Ooláp, tribulation; póldp, comfort: 
Oonap, ill luck; ponap, good luck: bo-&éunca, hard to be 
done; po-Oéunca, easy to be done: oubaó, sad; pubac, 

Ga, a negative, often causing eclipsis : as Oamgecm, strong ; 
éaOaingean, weak : cóip, just; éascóip, injustice: cpom, 
heavy; éaocpom, light. 

eap, a negative : as onóip, honour ; eaponóip, dishonour : 
plan, healthful ; eapldn, sick: caipoeap, friendship; eay- 
caipOeap, enmity. 

po, under: as buine, a man ; po&uine, an wider-man, a 
common man, a servant. 

Ppió, against, back, contra : as buille, a stroke ; ppirjbuil- 
le, a back stroke : bac, a hook ; ppiocbac, a back-hook, a barb. 

11, íol, many: as íomao, much; ill omab, sundry, various: 
bac, a colour ; íoloacac, many coloured: paobap, an edge ; 
íolpaobaip, many-edged weapons. 

In, ion, fit: as oéunca, done; mbéunca, fit to be done: 
pai&ce, said ; íonpai&ce, fit to be said. 

Lot), full, used as an intensitive: as ai&béil, vast ; Idnaib- 
béil, awfully vast. 

Learj, half: as uaip, an hour; leacuaip, half an hour. 
This word is also used to denote one of a pair: thus pull, an 
eye; leaó-púil (literally half an eye), one of two eyes. See 
" Idiom, No. 13." 

1TIÍ, mi o, a negative: as meap, respect; mirheap, disres- 
pect: córhaiple, advice ; miocorhai pie, evil advice. 

Nearh, neirh, a negative : as coimpigce, comprehensible ; 
n earn conn pi gee, incomprehensible: nib, a thing; neirh- 
niD, nothing. 

"Reurh. before, like English pre : as pai&ce, said; peurh 
pa 1 , free, aforesaid. 

T?o, an intensitive particle: as mop, great ;pó-rhóp, very 


Sdp, an intensitive particle: as maic, good; ptíp-rhaic, 
very good. 

So, poi, the opposite to bo, denotes apt, easy, good : 
as beapbca, proved; poibeapbca, easily proved. 

"Up or iiip, an intensitive particle: as ipeal, low; tJipipeal, 
very low, humble, mean, vile. 


1. The following is a list of the principal affixes 
or terminations, with their meanings ; but it does 
not include inflectional terminations, which are all 
given in connection with declensions and con- 

Gc, when it is the termination of an adjective, means full 
of, abounding in, like the English y and ous, with the former 
of which it seems cognate; as bpmgecm, the black-thorn ; 
frpaigecmac, abounding in black-thorn: bpioxap, a word ; 
bpiacpac, wordy, talkative. 

Gc, as the termination of a noun, generally denotes a per- 
sonal agent; as cúriiacb, power: cbrhacbac, a mighty per- 
son : Connaccac, a native of Connaught. 

Gcc, an abstract termination, like the English ness and ty 
(in probity) : as capccmac, charitable ; captcmacc, charity: 
móp and mópba, great; mopbacc, greatness. 

Gibe,uibe, or ibe, a personal termination, denoting adoer; 
as cop, a foot; coipibe, a walker : ciomtín, drive; ciomdn- 
aibe, a driver. 

Gipe oripe, a personal termination, denoting an agent or 
doer; aslopg, a track; lopgcnpe, a tracker: cealg, guile; 
ceal^aipe, a deceiver. 

Grhail has the same meaning as the English like and ly: as 
plaic, a prince ; plaicearhoil, princely. 

Gn, a diminutive termination, but it has now nearly lost its 
diminutive sense ; as loc a lake ; loócm, a small lake. 

Gp or ea~p, and sometimes the letter p alone, a termination 
denoting abstract quality, like ace ; as aoibmn, delightful ; 

* For a full account of these terminations see the author's 
"Origin and History of Irish Names of Places." Second 
series, Chaps. I. and II. 


aoibneap, delightfulness or delight: ceann, a head ; cean- 
nap, headship, authority. 

bhap and bpe have a collective or cumulative sense; as 
buille, a leaf ; builleabap, foliage: baip, an oak; baipbpe, 
a place of oaks. 

Chap has a collective sense like the last ; as beomn, a peak 
or gable; becmncap, abounding in peaks or gables. 

De, an ancient adjectival termination, has much the same 
meaning as the English fid and ly (in manly). In the 
modern language it is varied to the forms ba, Oa, and ca ; as 
mop, great; mópoa, majestic: peap, a man; peapóa, 
manly: mile, a champion; mileaOca, champion-hke, 

t5 denotes abstract quality, like ctóc ; as pmn, fair or 
white; pinne, fairness : bos, soft; buise, softness. 

In, a diminutive termination. This may be said to be the 
only diminutive that still retains its full force in the living 
language ; and it is much used in Ireland even where Irish is 
not spoken, bócap, a road; bócaipín (bohcreen), a little 
road : crusk, a pitcher ; cruiskeen, a little pitcher. 

Lao, nac, pac, cac, cpaó, have all the same meaning as aó, 
namely, full of, abounding in ; as bpip, break ; bpipleac, a 
breach, a complete defeat: muc, a pig; muclac, a piggery: 
luacaip, rushes; luacapnac, a rushy place: bos, a bog or 
soft place; bo5pac, a place full of bogs: colli, a wood ; 
coillceac, a woody place. These seem to be cognate with the 
terminations in the English words poult-ry, varie-ty, &c. 

lTlhap means abounding in, like the English ful and ly; 
as bpi5, power ; bpiogrhap, powerful. 

O5, a diminutive termination; as ciap, black; ciapOg, a 
black little animal (a clock) : gabal, a fork; gabalós, a little 

Oip, or bóip, or cóip, denotes an agent or doer, the same 
as the English er in reaper; as buail, strike; buailceóip, a 
thresher: coinneal, a candle; cownleóip, a candlestick: 
ppeal, a scythe ; ppealabóip, a mower. 

Re has a collective signification, like bap ; as beul, the 
mouth ; bélpe, language, speech. 

Seac is used as a sort of feminine termination ; as gall, 
an Englishman ; gaillpeac, an Englishwoman: ómpeac, a 
female fool (from an old root 6n, whence the old word ón- 
mic, a fool, the equivalent of the modern amabdn). 

Gaó and cpaó : see lac. 






1. When two nouns come together signifying 
different things, the second one is in the genitive 
case ; as 5UÓ ^aóaip, the voice of a hound ; 
1 b-plaiciop Gpeann, "in the sovereignty of 
Erin ;" bdpp na h-inp e, the top of the island. 

The noun in the genitive always follows the noun that 
governs it. 

2. When the genitive noun is singular mascu- 
line, its initial is aspirated if the article is used ; 
as mac an pin, the son of the man. (See pages 
17, 18, for this rule and its exceptions). 

3. When the article is not used with the 
governed noun in the singular number, the initial 
of the latter is generally not aspirated (except in 
the case mentioned in next Rule) ; as Con all 
1 5-cnocaib bdip, "Conall in the forms of death;" 
a n-bóldp bnoibe a'p peine, "in the sorrow 0/ 
bondage aiLdiofpain" 

* Several of the rules of Syntax have been unavoidably 
anticipated in Orthography and Etymology, as they are in 
every Irish Grammar. These rules will be referred to in 
their proper places in this Syntax, or repeated when thought 


4. When the noun in the genitive is a proper 
name, its initial is generally aspirated, even 
though the article is not used; as pliocc ^haoióil, 
" the race of Gaodhal ;" ctoióeam mhanannam, 
''the sword of Manannan." 

Exception : — In this case, b and c often resist aspiration 
(p. 34) ; as eipe mgecm Oealbaoic, " Eire, the daughter of 

5. If the governed noun be in the genitive 
plural, its initial is eclipsed with the article, 
(for which seepage 18); and the initialis generally 
aspirated, if the article is not used ; as Dampen 
mac n-lhpneac, " the fortress of [the] sons of 
Usna;" buióecm cupaó, " acompany of knights;" 
biap ban, "two women" (or rather "a pair of 

Even in the absence of the article however, an eclipsis 
sometimes occurs; as naoi naonbap bo bi as ceacc 
b'iappaib cíopa asupcariab-peap n-6ipionn, "nine times 
nine persons who were comiDg to demand the taxes and 
tributes of the men of Erin." 

Sometimes also, in the absence of the article, the noun in 
the genitive plural is neither aspirated nor eclipsed. 

6. When two nouns come together signifying 
the same thing (or in apposition), they generally 
agree in case; as "Nuaba Gipgioblam mac 
Gaccaig mic Gabaplaim, " Nuadha Silver-hand, 
son of Eachtach, son of Eadarlamh ;" na b-qii 
b-pinneamna, mac Gocaió, "of the three Fin- 
navnas, sons of Eochad." 

Here, in the first example, Nuaoa is nominative, and so is 
mac, which is in apposition to it ; Gaccaij is genitive, and 
so is the next word, mic, which is in apposition to it. In 
the second example, pmnearrma is in the genitive (plural), 
and mac also, in opposition to it, is in the genitive (plural). 

For exceptions to this Eule, see " Idioms," No. 33, p. 129. 
See also next rule. 

7. The last rule is not always observed: 
departures from it are sometimes found, even in 
good Irish writings; as, prnnmbebuibe ónbamap 

cnAP. i.J noun's. 97 

bióeabap lllhdipe, bean Sheagam an pígeabópa, 
" yellow gold rings as used- to-be on Mary, wife of 
John (the son of) the weaver ;" camic pi$ Chian- 
puióeluacpa b'piopa coihóalca, eaóon,Cian mac 
Oiliolla, "the King of Kerry-Luachra came to 
visit his foster-son, that is, Cian, the son of 
Oilioll : bo cpiall (Ojcap) a 5-coinne ITiheapo-aig 
lhipe, an cpéan leorhan " Oscar went to meet 
the furious Meargach, the strong lion." 

The first example exhibits a disagreement in case between 
lYIhdipe and bean, which are in apposition, tbe former being 
dative (after op), the latter nominative (its dative would be 
mnaoi, p. 29). In the second example coriioalca is geni- 
tive (after the infinitive, Eule 15, p. 112), and Cicm, in ap- 
position to it, is nominative (its genitive would be Cém). In 
the last example lilheap 'ai<5 is genitive, and leorhan, in 
apposition to it, is nominative. This last example however, 
seemg properly to belong to a class of exceptions to Rule 7 
which are explained further on ("Idioms :" No. 33, page 129). 

8. A noun used adjectively in English is com- 
monly expressed in Irish by a genitive case ; as 
English, "a gold ring," Irish, pdinne óip, a ring 
of gold. This form of expression is very common 
in Irish; as peap bilge, a lawyer ; literally " a 
man of law." 

9. Collective nouns are singular in form, and as 
such they take the singular form of the article 
(when the article is used) ; but they are plural in 
signification, and as such they generally take ad- 
jectives and pronouns in the plural number, and 
also verbs in the plural, when, in accordance with 
Par. 9, p. 50, the plural form of the verb is 
used; as, noccuib an puipeann pm, " that com- 
pany disclose ;" cangabap an buibean cupab 
pm bo lácaip phmn, agup bo beannuig piab 
bo, ' ' that company of knights came to the presence 
of Finn, and they saluted him." 

The personal nouns from tnap to Oeicneabap, mentioned 
at page 39, follow this rule: as 00 baoap an tnap pm 50 
h-impeapnac, "that pair were at strife." 

98 syntax. [part in. 

10. Nouns denoting a part commonly take 00 
with the dative of the nouns (or pronouns) 
of which they form a part ; as ^aóap b'dp 
n^aóapaib, " a hound of our hounds;" aon caop 
biob, "one berry of them;" 50c buine be'n 
pobul, " each person of the people." 

11. The personal nouns from biap to beicneabap 
inclusive (p. 39,) and also ceópa, three, generally 
govern nouns in the genitive plural; as 01 ap 
ban, "two (of) women;" a ópiúp mac agup a 
o-cpiup ban, " his three sons and their three 
wives;" ceópa ban, "three women;" naonbap 
caoipeac, " nine chieftains." 

But they sometimes take be with the dative as in last 
rule; as naoi naonbap 00 rhaopaib na b-pómopaó, 
"nine times nine of the stewards of the Fomorians:" mo 
Dip mac, mo Dip O'peapaib, "my two sons, my two men." 



1. The article agrees with its noun in number, 
gender, and case ; as an peap, the man ; na cipce, 
of the hen; na ba, the cows. 

2. For the influence of the article on the noun, see p. 17. 

3. When one noun governs another in the geni- 
tive, the article can be used only with the latter. 
Thus, in English we can say " the age of the 
world" (using the definite article with each noun) ; 
but in Irish, the corresponding expression is, aoip 
an boihain, not, an aoip an boiiiain. 

Exception : — When a demonstrative pronoun follows the 
governing noun, or when the two nouns come together as a 
compound word, the governing noun may take the article ; 
a a an c-oioe mijince, the teacher; má bo bein ct3 an 
ipeat> pm tvCiinn 'p QT1 1° po na n-Oeóp, " if thou givest 


so much to us in this day of tears." Here the article is used 
before both 16 and beóp. Can^abap apíp i n-eipmn an 
pliocc ro Shimeon bhpic, " these descendants of Simon 
Brec came again into Erin:" here the article is used before 
rliocc, the governing noun. 

4. When a possessive pronoun is used with the 
genitive noun, the article cannot be used with 
either; thus, " the house of my father" is ceac 
m'acap, not an ceac m'aéap. 

The peculiarity noticed in the last two rules exists also in 
English when the possessive case is used, i.e., the article can 
be used only with the possessive noun ; as the world's age ; 
my father's house. 

5. When a demonstrative pronoun is used with 
a noun, the article is also used ; as an peap pin, 
that man, literally "the man that;" na mná ub, 
yonder women : literally " the women yonder." 

6. The article is used before the names of some 
countries and cities, where the definite article 
would not be used in English ; as TTIoenan, abb 
Cacpac puppa ípm ppamc, béu^, "Moenan, 
abbot of Caher Fursa, in (the) France, died ;" 
Cpuaca na h-Gipeann, "the stacks of (the) 
Erin ;" cuaipceapc na h-Gpia, " the north of (the) 
Asia." There is in Irish also a form of phrase 
corresponding to the English "the mighty 
Hector;" as an c-Opcap dg, "the noble Oscar." 

7. When an adjective is predicated of a noun by 
the verb lp (in any of its forms), the article is 
used with the noun (but in the corresponding ex- 
pression in English the definite article would not 
be used) ; as íp inaic an peap 6, he is a good man : 
literally " he is the good man." 

9. The Irish article is used before abstract 
nouns much more commonly than the English 
definite article ; as an c-ocpup, the hunger ; 
cpí nib bo cim : — an peacab, an bap, a'p an 
pian, "three things I see, the sin, the death, and 
the pain." 




1. Adjectives denoting fulness or a part of any- 
thing may take either the dative after oe or the 
genitive; as (dative after oe) : — íOip óá bapaile 
lán Oe leann, " between two barrels full of ale ;" 
cd mé lán Oo ndipe, "I am full of shame;" 
mopdn O'uaiptib, " many of nobles :" (genitive) : — 
Idn a óuipn, " the full of his fist ;" an paib mópdn 
aip^iO ai^e, "had he much of money?" cpaob 
Opaoigm a^up a Idn dipneaó uippe, " a branch 
of blackthorn and its full of sloes on it." 

2. The adjective in the comparative degree 
takes nd (or md or íond) before the noun which 
follows it ; as íp binne a ceól nd Ion 'fná pmól, 
" sweeter is her voice (music) than the blackbird 
and than the thrush." 

Exception: — If the adjective in the comparative degree 
has t>e (" of it ") after it (see Idiom 39, p. 132), then nd is not 
used ; as nac bu peippOe óóib é, "that they would be none 
the better of it." 


First Case : When the adjective is joined im- 
mediately with the noun. 

When the adjective is joined immediately with the 

noun as a qualifying or limiting term (as in the 

English " a high tower"), in this case the following 

ten rules apply. 

1. The natural position of the adjective is after 

its noun ; as cablac móp, " a great fleet." 

The chief exceptions to this are stated in the next two 


2. Monosyllabic adjectives are often placed 
before their nouns ; as caol-peap, " slender man ;" 
mop paippse, " great sea ;" oub-cappai5, 
" black rock." 

3. This is especially the case with the following 
adjectives, some of which are hardly ever used 
after their nouns : t>ea§, good ; opoc, evil ; piop, 
true ; nuaó, new ; pean, old ; cuac, left-handed. 

Numeral adjectives form another exception, for which see 
next chapter. 

4. When a name consists of two words, the 
adjective comes between them; as Sliab aóbal- 
móp Luacpa, " the tremendous-large Slieve 
Lougher;" Gamum itiín áluinn TTIaca, "the 
smooth beautiful Eman Macha." 

5. When the adjective follows its noun, it 
agrees with it in gender, number, and case ; as 
peap maic, a good man; pgéul na mná* moipe, 
''the story of the large woman" (gen. sing, 
fern.); ap an aióbéip lonsancaig, " on the 
wonderful abyss" (dat. sing. fern.). 

6. When the adjective follows its noun, the 
initial of the adjective is aspirated under the cir- 
cumstances already stated in Par. 6, page 10; or 
eclipsed in the circumstance stated in Par. 3, 
page 34. 

7. When two or more nouns are joined together, 
and are followed by an adjective which qualifies or 
limits them, all and each, the adjective agrees 
with the last : in other words, it is the last noun 
only that influences the adjective both in gram- 
matical inflection, and in initial change ; as bean 
a^up peap male, a good woman and man; peap 
agup bean itiaic, a good man and woman. 

8. When the adjective precedes the noun, as in 
Pules 2 and 3, above, it does not agree with 
the noun, i.e., it is not influenced by the noun, 


either as to inflection, or as to initial change ; in 
other words, the simple form of the adjective is 
used, whatever be the number, gender, or case of 
the noun; as móp uaiple, "great nobles;" bo 
rhóp uaiplib, " to [the] great nobles; " bdn cnoic 
6ipecmn, "the fair hills of Erin;" luac bapca, 
swift barks; piop p^eul, "a true story;" piop 
p^eulca, " true stories." 

9. When the adjective precedes the noun, the 
adjective and the noun are sometimes regarded as 
one compound word ; and the initial of the 
noun is aspirated (in accordance with Par. 4, 
page 10) : also the vowel of the adjective is 
often modified by the rule caol le caol &c. ; as 
t)eipt>pe an Ouib-pleibe, "Deirdre of Dubh- 
Shliabh ; " 015 -bean, a young woman. 

10. When the adjective precedes the noun, the 
initial of the adjective is subject to the same 
changes as if the adjective and the noun formed 
one word, i.e., one noun; as ^dipe na n-615-peap, 
"the laughter of the young men;" an c-dpb- 
ollarh pm, " that chief professor ;" an c-pean- 
bean bocc, " the poor old woman." 

Second Case : When the adjective is connected 
with the noun by a verb. 

When the adjective, instead of being joined imme- 
diately with the noun, is predicated of, or ascribed to, 
the noun by a verb of any kind (as in the English, 
"the man is tall," "he considered the man tall," "he 
made the knife sharp," " the roads were made straight"), 
in this case, the following three rules apply. 

1. When an adjective is predicated of a noun 
by the verb cd, it follows the noun, the order 
being : — verb, noun, adjective ; as cd an Id bpedg, 
the day is fine. 

2. When an adjective is predicated of a noun 


by the verb ip, it precedes the noun, the order' 
being : — verb, adjective, noun ; as íp bpedg an 
Id é, it is a fine day. 

3. When an adjective is ascribed to a noun by 
a verb of any kind, the adjective does not agree 
with the noun, i.e., the adjective is not influenced 
by it, either initially or inflectionally ; in other 
words, the simple form of the adjective, without 
inflection, is used, whatever be the number or 
gender of the noun ; and the initial of the adjec- 
tive is neither aspirated nor eclipsed (unless under 
the influence of some other word), as ir aibinn bo 
cuain acap bo calapuipe acap bo masaminpcoc- 
aca caerhdilne, " delightful are thy harbours, 
and thy bays, and thy flowery lovely plains :" 
a^up cpoicne péiéeaó ap na n-baóú$aó beap^, 
" and rams' skins dyed red." — (Exodus, xxv. 5). 

The first example (from the story of the Children of Usna), 
exhibits both an agreement according to Rule 5, page 101, and 
a disagreement according to the present rule. For the three 
nouns are plural, and the two last adjectives which qualify 
them directly are in the plural form, while the first adjective 
aibmn (modern aoibinn) which is asserted of them by ip, is 
in its simple form (the plural would be aibmne or aibne). 
In the second example cpoicne is plural, while beaps is 
singular (plural beapsa). 

Observe the difference in meaning in the following, accord- 
ing to agreement or disagreement: — Do pi§ne pé na bpaic 
Slapa ; bo pi$ne pé na bpaic glap : in the first the adjec- 
tive agrees with the noun, (both being plural), showing that 
it qualifies it directly (Rule 5, p. 101 ) and that the meaning is, 
" he made the green mantles ;" in the second there is no 
agreement, (the adjective being singular and the noun plural), 
showing that the adjective is connected with the noun by 
the verb (Rule 3 above), and that the meaning is, " he 
made the mantles green." 




1. A numeral adjective, whether cardinal or 
ordinal, when it consists of one word, goes before 
its noun ; as cpi pip, three men ; pan bap a h-cuc, 
" in the second place." 

.2 Numeral adjectives, both cardinal and ordi- 
nal, from 11 to 19 inclusive, take their nouns 
between the simple numeral and béa^; as cpi 
capaill béa^, thirteen horses; an 'cpeap capall 
béa^, the thirteenth horse. 

3. Gon, one; ód, two; céab, first; and cpeap, 
third, cause aspiration ; as aon peap, one man ; 6d 
mnaoi, two women ; an cpeap peace, " the third 

4. The numerals peace, occ, naoi, and beic, 
cause eclipsis (except the noun begins with p, in 
which case there is no change), as peace m-bliaó- 
na, " seven years;" occ m-ba, " eight cows;" 
naoi n-aibne, "nine rivers;" beic b-pip, "ten 

5. The numerals epí, ceicpe, CÚ15, pé, the or- 
dinals (except céaó and cpeap : Rule 3 above), 
and the multiples of ten, cause no initial change ; 
as ceicpe ^aóaip, "four hounds." 

6. Gon, one, and all the multiples of ten, take 
their nouns in the singular number ; as aon Id, 
one day; cóab ceann, a hundred heads (lit. "a 
hundred head," just as we say "a hundred head 
of cattle " ) ; cpi caogab laoc, " three times fifty 
heroes ;" mile bean, " a thousand women." 


7. X)á, two, takes both the article and the noun 
in the singular number; and if the noun be 
feminine, it will be in the dative form; as óá 
peap, two men ; an bá laini, the two hands. (See 
next two rules). 

8. If the noun following Oct be in the genitive, 
it will be in the genitive plural ; as Ian a óá lám, 
" the full of his two hands." 

9. Although Oct takes the article and noun in 
the singular, yet the adjectives and pronouns 
referring to the noun will be in the plural, and 
the noun may also take a plural verb ; as oo 
gluoipeaOap an Oct épéinn'iíleaó pin, " these two 
strong heroes went;" po $ab a óá p^ ea <5 cpo- 
paippin^e cparm-peaiiipa ap na b-pocpu$aó a 
b-puil nacnac neuiie, "he took his two wide- 
socketed thick-handled spears, they having been 
bathed in the blood of serpents." Here the two 
adjectives and the pronoun referring to pleag, 
are plural. 



1. Personal pronouns agree with the nouns 
they represent, in gender, number, and person ; 
as íp niaic an bean i, she is a good woman; íp 
maic an peap é, he is a good man; íp móp na 
oaome laO, they are great men. 

2. A personal pronoun, or a possessive pronoun, 
which stands for a sentence or part of a sentence, is 



third person singular masculine ; as t>d m-béibíp 
pip Gipeann an bap n-a£aió, nac bu peippbe 
óóib é, "if the men of Erin were against you, 
they would not be the better of it;'* (here the 
pronoun é stands for the sentence). 

3. The accusative forms of the personal pro- 
nouns are often used as nominatives : always with 
ip(see Rule 18, p. 113), and with passive verbs (see 
Rule 20, p. 1 1 3) ; and sometimes with other verbs ; 
as map maic ria leaga pib, ap éipíon, " 'if ye are 
the good physicians,' says he." 


1. A possessive pronoun is never used without 
a noun. 

In English there are distinct forms of the possessive pro- 
nouns which can stand without nouns (mine, thine, hers, &c), 
but there are no forms corresponding to these in Irish. 

2. The possessive pronouns precede their 
nouns; as mo mdcaip, my mother; a 5-capbab, 
their chariot. 

3. The possessives mo, my; bo, thy; and a, 
his ; aspirate the initials of their nouns ; as mo 
ceann, my head; bo cop, thy foot; a meup, his 

4. The possessive a, her, requires the initial of 
its noun in its primitive state (neither aspirated 
nor eclipsed), and if the initial be a vowel, it pre*- 
fixes h ; as a mdcaip, her mother; a h-aóaip, her 

5. The possessives ay, our; bap, your; and 
a, their ; eclipse the initial consonants of their 
nouns (except p, on which they exert no in- 
fluence), and prefix n to vowels ; as dp b-cip, our 
country; bap m-ba, your cows; a n-acaip, their 


6. Possessive pronouns amalgamated with pre- 
positions (see p. 45) have the same influence over 
the initials of their nouns, as they have in their 
uncompounded state ; as bom cpoióe, to my heart ; 
óna b-cíp, from their country. 

7. The manner of using the emphatic increase 
after the possessive pronouns has been already 
pointed out in Par. 3, page 45. For an additional 
Rule of possessives, see Rule 2, page 105. 


1. The relative follows its antecedent and pra 
cedes its verb ; as an cé a puibalpap, the person 
who shall walk. 

2. The relative aspirates the initial of its verb ; 
as an laoc a rhapb an c-acac, "the hero who 
slew the giant." To this the next rule is an ex- 

3. When the relative a signifies " all that " 
(see p. 47) it eclipses the initial of its verb ; as a 
b-puil ó ^ 01 ^^ b UD be«V> "aR that is from 
Galway southwards;" oo péip a n-oubpamap, 
" according to what we have said." 

4. When the relative a is governed by a prepo- 
sition, expressed or understood, and is followed 
immediately by a verb to which it is not the^j- /□ \ 
nominative, the initial of the verb (except p) is 
eclipsed; as a pé nió imoppa bá b-cáinic a báp 

" (the following) is the circumstance, indeed, from 
which came his death;" an boió ma n-icit)ip, 
"the tent in which they used to eat;" a bubaipc 
pionn 50 n-Dion^naó (píó) 510 bé nop a n-biong- 
naó t)iapmait> i, " Finn said that he would make 
(peace) in whatever manner Diarmaid would 
make it" (here the preposition ann is understood • 


51Ó bé nop arm a n-biongnab Oiapmaib i, what* 
ever the manner in which Diarmaid would make 
it.) (See next rule). 

5. If, in the case stated in the last rule, the verb 
is in the past tense, with the particle po or 00, the 
initial of the verb is not eclipsed, but aspirated 
(Pars. 1 and 4, p. 58); asdic ap éuicOapat)eap -, 
"the place in which fell Dara Dearg." 

6. The relative precedes the verb which governs 
it in the accusative (as in English) ; as an dp a 
gpaomgim, the country which I love. 

7. As the relative has no inflection for case, the 
construction must determine whether the relative 
is the nominative to the verb which follows it, 
or is governed by it in the accusative ; as an 
capa a gpaouigio mé, the friend whom I love; 
an capa a gpaóuigeap mé, the friend who loves 

8. The relative is often omitted both in the 
nominative and in the accusative ; as oglaoc bo 
muinncip "Nín rinc péil camic uaio 00 bpac na 
Gipionn, " a youth of the people of Nin Mac Peil 
(who) came from him to view Erin." On leabap 
po pcpiob (Cambpenpip) t>o cuapapsbail Gipionn, 
" the book (which) Cambrensis wrote on the 
history of Erin." 

9. The relative a is often disguised by combina- 
tion with other words and particles, especially 
with po, the mark of the past tense; as an cíp Op 
cdinic me, "the country from which I came" 
(here óp = 6 a po) ; pldig lép mapbab not mile 
biob, " a plague, by which were killed nine thou- 
sand of them " (here lép = le a po) ; an cip bd 
b-cdinic pé, the country to which he came (X)á= 
bo a); Id bap comópab aonac le pig Gipeann, " a 
day on which was convoked an assembly by the 
king of Erin" (bap=bo apo) ; ni bcaj liompa ap 


plomneap pern map eipic, "I do not think it little 
what I have named as an eric." (Gp=a po, in 
which a means " all that :" Par. 3, page 47.) 


1. The demonstrative pronouns follow their 
nouns or pronouns ; as an peap pin, that man ; 
cia h-é pin ? who is that ? 

Exception : — When the verb if in any of its forms is under- 
stood ; as púb Toaj) g-cuit), " yonder (is) your meal ;" po an 
la, this is the day. 

2. If the noun be followed by one or more ad- 
j ectives, the demonstrative pronoun comes last ; 
as cia an peap ballac bmnbpiaópac úo ? " Who 
is that freckled sweet-worded man ?" 


1. An interrogative pronoun comes first in the . 
sentence ; as cot b-puil mo leabap ? where is my 
book ? cia an laoc uo ap gualamn gboill ? 
" who is that hero at the shoulder of Goll ?" 

This rule holds good even when the interrogative is governed 
by a preposition, i.e., the preposition follows the interrogative 
that it governs ; as cat) ap cu ? out of what (place art) thou ? 
50 Oe map cá cú ? how do you do ? (literally " like to what 
art thou?") cpeut» pa aj\ eipgeaoap, " what for did ye 
rise ?" 

2. When uile precedes its noun, it means " every ;" 
when it follows the noun it means " all;" as plan 
6n uile galap, " sound from every sickness ;" 00 
bacat) an cine baona uile 50 h-aon occap, " all 
the human race was drowned, all to (except) a 
single eight." 

There are occasional exceptions ; as opong ambpiopac 
ip na h-mle pubádcib, " people ignorant in all virtues " (in 
this passage from Keating, uile means •' all" though it precedes 
its noun). 

110 syntax. [part in. 



1. As a general rule the verb precedes its no- 
minative ; as bo gluaip Pepjup, " Fergus went ;" 
bo claoióeaó TTlac 5 a PP aiD > "Mac Garraidh was 
defeated." (See next Eule.) 

2. When the nominative is a relative or an in- 
terrogative pronoun, it precedes the verb ; and 
sometimes also in poetry, the nominative, even 
though a noun, precedes the verb ; as an ce a 
p mbalpap, the person who will walk ; cpeub acd 
annpo ? what is here? T)eópaióóe píopa 5cm 
P51Ó ^an pop micmaib a b-cip 'p a n-búécap, 
" perpetual exiles without pause or rest, long-for 
their country and their native-home." 

3. When the verb is transitive, i.e., when it 
governs the accusative (see Eule 9, p. Ill), the 
usual order is verb, nominative, object ; as 
boaigel Concobap bopac, " Conchobhar addressed 
Borach ;" bo lion ^páinne an copn, "Grainne filled 
the goblet." 

4. But when the accusative is a relative or an 
interrogative pronoun, the usual order is, pronoun 
(or accusative), verb, nominative ; as an laoc a 
conaipc mé ané, the hero whom I saw yesterday ; 
cab beip cu ? what sayest thou ? 

5. WTien the verb cá is used, the usual order is, 
verb, nominative, predicate; as cdib na peulca 
po-lonnpac, the stars are very bright. 

6. When the verb íp, expressed or understood, 
is used, the usual order is, verb, predicate, nomina- 
tive; as ba binne a glóp ná ceól na n-éun, "her voice 


was sweeter than the music of the birds :" ni paba 
uaic an die, " not (is) far from thee the place." 

Exception. — If the article is used before the predicate, or if 
the predicate is a proper name, the order is, verb, subject, 
predicate ; as ip cupa an cip po-aoibinn, "thou art the de- 
lightful country;" ip mé Cían macCtímce, "I am Cian, 
the son of Cainte:" an cu pionn ? " art thou Finn?" 

7. The only cases in which there is agreement 
between the verb and its nominative, are (1) when 
the nominative and verb are both third person 
singular ; (2) when a noun or pronoun in third 
plural has a verb in third plural, in accordance 
with Par. 9, p. 50. 

It may be doubted whether (1) is a genuine case of agree- 
ment ; and the general absence of agreement between verb 
and nominative is further exemplified in the following rule. 

8. When two or more nouns, whether singular 
or plural, joined by a conjunction, are nominatives 
to one verb, the verb has the third person singular 
form; as bo gluaip bpeap agup na bpaoice 
pómpa, " Breas and the druids went forward." 

9. A transitive verb governs the noun or pro- 
noun which is the object of the action, in the ac- 
cusative case ; as buail é, strike him ; bo cuipea- 
bap Cuaéa Oe Oanann ceó bpaoibeacca i n-a 
b-ciniceall péin, "theTuatha de Dananns^wi a 
magical mist around themselves." 

10. The initial of a verb in the infinitive mood 
is aspirated, unless the aspiration is prevented by 
some special influence. For such an influence see 
Par. 2, p. 60. 

11. The preposition le or pe before the infini- 
tive active often gives it a passive signification ; 
as (leabaip eile) acá pe b-paicpin i n-Gipinn, 
" (other books) which are to be seen in Erin." 

But in many such constructions the preposition expresses 
purpose, and the signification is active; as asup 50 m-bit) 
ollarii pe bénam peille aip a céile, " and that they are ready 
to do treachery on each other." 



12. The infinitive, even without the preposition 
le, has often a passive signification; aspiacpa 
mac Gilene cigeapna TClugóopn bo mapbab, 
"Fiachra, son of Ailene, lord of Mourne, to be 
slain" (lit. "Fiachra, &c, to slay") : ajup an peap 
nac ciobpab (an ciop) pin uaib, appón bo buain 
6na ceann be, " and the man who would not pay 
that tribute from him, his nose to be cut off from 
his head." 

13. One verb governs another that follows it or 
depends upon it in the infinitive mood ; as ba 
m-bab nac pacpab clanna llloipne b'iappaió na 
5-caop pin, "if it were so that the Clann Morna 
had not come to seek those berries." 

The following very important rule was first enunciated by 
O'Donovan, and is giveu here in his own words (" Irish Gram- 
mar," p. 387.) 

14. " When the governed verb is one express- 
ing motion or gesture, which does not govern the 
accusative, the sign bo is never prefixed ; as bubai p c 
pé liom oul 50 Copcaig, he told me to go to Cork." 

15. If the noun which is the object of a transi- 
q tive verb in the infinitive mood follows the verb, it 

is in the genitive case ; as cangabap cablac móp 
' bo óéanaih coguib, "a great fleet came to make 
zvar'" (nom. cogab, war, gen. coguib) ; bo n'iilleaó 
clomne Lip, " to kill the children of Lir." 

16. A noun or pronoun which is the object of a 
transitive verb in the infinitive mood often pre- 
cedes the verb, and in this case it is (not in the 
genitive, as in the last rule, but) in the accusative; 
as, a<5up ípeab bo gniob, bá cuaille bo cup 1 b-cal- 
Tiiam agup ceann an c-pndice bo cean^al ba 50c 
cuaille biob, agup uballbo cup aip ifiullac cuaille 
aca, "and it is what he used to do, two poles to put 
in the earth, and the end of a thread to tie to each 
pole of them, and an apple to put on the top of a 
pole of them." 


17. The active participle of a transitive verb 
governs the noun which is the object of the action, 
in the genitive case; as 05 bpuicneab an óip, 
" smelting the gold" (lit. " smelting of the gold") ; 
bo bi an 5 a0Da ^ F° a 5 nitinabpcol, " this Gaodhal 
was teaching schools " (lit. " teaching of schools"); 
05 coca lie na caiman, " digging the ground." 

18. The verb lp in any of its forms expressed or 
understood, takes the accusative form of a per- 
sonal pronoun as its nominative ; as ip í céabpaó 
bpomge pe peancup, "it is the opinion of some 
historians;" lp mic pi$ 50 pipmneac iat), "they 
are truly sons of a king ;" a^up piappaigeap an 
pig cia h-iab péin, ''and the king asks who they 

19. The verb lp is very often omitted, especially 
in negative and interrogative sentences, and in 
answers to questions ; as beaca an pcapaioe 
pipmne, " truth (is) the food of the historian;" 
ceann "Ohiapmuba Ui "Ohuibne an ceann úb, 
11 that head (is) the head of Diarmaid O'Duibhne ; " 
cia cupa? mipi lollan, " who (art) thou? I (am) 
Iollan;" an piop pin, "whether (is) that true? 
ni mipi, " (it is) not I." 

20. A verb in the passive voice takes the 
accusative form of a personal pronoun as its 
nominative; as béan cap é, it is done; buailceap lab 
they are struck. 



1. A simple preposition governs the dative (in- 
cluding the ablative, for which there is no distinct 


inflection) ; as édinic pé 50 Copcaift, he came to 
Cork; 05 coif an c-pléibe, at the foot of the 
mountain ; aipmib cuio bo na h-ú$bapaib, " some 
of the authors reckon." (See next rule for excep- 

2. The preposition lbip generally governs the 
accusative in the singular, and the dative in the 
plural ; as lbip Copcac ajup Luimneac, between 
Cork and Limerick; lbip na coigeabaib, " between 
the provinces." 

3. The prepositions ann, 50, lap, pia, le orpe, and 
cap, take p before an, the article, the p being some- 
times joined with the preposition and sometimes 
with the article ; as annp an leabap or ann pan 
leabap, in the book; leip an b-peap, with the 
man. (See par. 7, page 17.) 

4. The compound prepositions govern their 
nouns in the genitive ; as bo pu^ an conna pip 
a n-ajaib an cnuic, "he brought the tun with him 
against the hill-" a b-piabnuipe b-peap n-6ipionn, 
" in presence of the men of Erin;" bo gluaipeabap 
clann Cuipeann pompa b'ionnpuibe an caca, " the 
children of Tuireann went forwards towards the 

The following prepositions, cum, towards ; bála, as to; béip, 
after; íomcupa, as to; meapg or anieaps, amongst; péip, 
according to ; and cimcioll, about, although having the form 
of simple prepositions, are in reality compound, and take their 
nouns in the genitive. See end of Par. 3, p. 88. 

As a compound preposition consists of a noun governed by 
a simple preposition, it is in reality the noun-part of the 
compound preposition that governs the noun in the genitive, 
in accordance with Rule 1, page 95 : thus the expression 
above, a n-agaic- an cnuic, is literally "in the face of the 
hill," where cnuic is governed in the genitive by ajjdiÓ, face ; 
and so of the others. 

5. The simple prepositions, except bo, be, ^an, 
and lbip, generally cause eclipsis in singular nouns 
when the article is used; as ó'n 5-cnoc pm, "from 


that hill;" 05 an_m-baile na h-inpe fiap, " at the 
town of the island in the west." (See pages 
17, 18.) 

6. The simple prepositions generally cause aspi- 
ration when the article is not expressed; as dip 
bapp an cpoinn, " on the top of the tree;" 6 
rhúpaib na Geampac, "from the ramparts of 

Exception 1 : a or i, lap, and 50 (when it means " with") 
cause eclipsis without the article; as a m-baile aca cliac, 
in Baile-atha-cliath (Dublin); lap n-t)ilinn, "after the 

Exception 2 : C15. le, and sometimes 50, cause no change in 
the initial, and 55cm may either aspirate or not; as plan le 
lTlaij, "farewell to (the river) Maigue;" o'n c-Sionumn 
poip 50 pmppge, "from the Shannon east to the sea." 

7. When a simple preposition ending in a vowel 
comes before the possessive a (whether it signifies 
his, her, or their), the letter n is inserted between 
the vowels; as cpe n-a bapaib, li through his 
hands;" an la 50 n-a Ian c-poillpe, "the day 
with its abundant light." 

Except after t>o and be ; as cabaip péup Oá capall give 
grass to his horse; bam geu5 O'á 5-cpann, take a branch 
from their tree. 

Before any other word beginning with a vowel, the letter h 
is usually inserted after these prepositions ; as t>0 ÓuaiÓ pe 
50 h-Glbain, he went to Alban (Scotland). 



Ax idiom, in the sense in which it is used here, may be 
defined : — An expression that has acquired by usage a certain 
meaning, which becomes lost in a word-for-word translation 
into another language ; so that in order to convey the true 
meaning in that other language, the form of expression must 
be changed. 

Thus, " cd an leabap 05 an bume" is an idiom, for its 
sense is lost in the word-for-word translation, "the book is 
at the man; " and in order to convey the true meaning, the 
English expression must be changed to "the man has the book." 

Idioms constitute one of the chief difficulties in learning 
any language; and the student is recommended to master 
this Part, in which the principal idioms of the Irish language 
are explained and illustrated. 

1. The Infinitive governing Possessive Pronouns. 

The infinitive of a transitive verb governs its object in 
the genitive (Syntax, Rule 15, p. 112). When the object, in- 
stead of being a noun, is a personal pronoun, then, according 
to the analogy of the Rule quoted, it should be in the geni- 
tive case. But the genitive of a personal pronoun is a pos- 
sessive pronoun ; and possessive pronouns precede the words 
they refer to; so that the pronoun which represents the 
object of the action, is a possessive, and precedes the infini 
tive, influencing its initial as if it were a noun (see Syntax, p. 
106, Rules 3, 4, 5). This gives rise to idiomatic expression" 
like the following, which are of very frequent occurrence. 



Contracted to. 


bo mo bualao, 

Oom' bualao. 

1 thee, 

00 00 bualaO, 

OoO' bualaó. 

j him, 

Oo a bualao, 

0(3 bualaO. 

To strike 1 her, 

Oo a bualao, 

Oá bualaó. 

J us, 

bo dp m-bualao, 

Oáp m -buala&. 

y° u » 

Oo bup m-bualao, 

(not contracted; 

V. them, 

Oo a m-bualaó, 

Od m-bualao. 


These may be translated literally, " to my striking," " to 
their striking," &c. 

A like construction prevails in the case of a ti'ansitive par- 
ticiple : 05 a bualab, striking him : ag a bualab, striking 
her: 05 tín m-bualaó, striking us, &c. In this construc- 
tion the participle may itself be governed in the genitive 
case by a noun: — cdmic micm a mapbca Dam pém, "a 
desire to kill them, has come to me" (lit. " a desire of the 
killing of them," or "of their killing.") 

2. Compound Prepositions governing Possessive 

A compound preposition governs the genitive (Rule 4, 
p. 1 14 ) ; and when the governed word is not a noun but 
a personal pronoun, this last becomes a possessive, and goes 
before the noun-part of the compound preposition, giving 
rise to idiomatic phrases, corresponding with those quoted in 
last Idiom. Example : aip pon, for the sake o" ; dip a pon, 
for his sake ; dip bup pon, for your sake, &c. Do cuaib 
Oiapmait) bd h-éip, Diarmaid went after her: cdmic 
cmneap oppapem, a$up ap a pliocc 'n-a n-biaib. " sick- 
ness came upon themselves, and on their posterity after 

A similar construction often occurs with the compound 
adverbs. Example : cap aip, backwards ; bo cuaib pé 
cap a aip, he went backwards ; bo cuaib pi cap a h-aip, 
she went backwards ; bo cuaib piab cap a n-aip, they 
went backwards, &c. 

3. To die. 

" To die," is very often expressed in Irish by a phrase 
meaning "to find death:" the verb pa§, find, being used 
for this purpose, in its various forms ; as, an bapa bliasain 
bd éip pm puaip lpial báp, " the second year after that 
Irial found death ;" agup máp ann acd a n-bdn baiti bdp 
bpdgail, "and if it be here that it is in fate for me death 
to find " (i. e., " that it is fated for me to die.") 

There is, however, a single verb b'eus, meaning to die, 
but it is not used so often as the above. The following 
example exhibits both forms : — Q beip cuib bo na pean- 
usbapaib sup ab a n^leann ba loca puaip naorhpab- 
puig bdp; biob 50 n-abpaib bpuns oile supab ann 


Gpbmaca b'eus ré, " some of the old authors say that it i§ 
in Glendalough St. Patrick found death, although another 
party say that it is in Armagh he died." 

4. Nominative Absolute. 

What is called the nominative absolute in English is 
expressed in Irish by the preposition aip (on), or lap (after), 
placed before the participle, and the preposition bo (to) 
before the noun ; which will be understood from the follow- 
ing examples : — op m-beic aca paba bo Chopmac 05 a 
b-peiciorh, " Cormac, having been a long time watching 
them " (lit. " on being a long time to Cormac a- watching of 
them") : asup dip m-beic ollarh bon lumg, "and the ship 
being ready " (lit. " and on being ready to the ship "); asup 
aip n-bul a lums bóib, " and they having gone into a 
ship:" (lit. "and on going into a ship to them ") : lUp 
m-beic cpéan íp an cíp bóib, " they having grown strong 
in the country" (lit. " after being strong in the country to 

5. To have no help for a thing, 

The Irish phrase corresponding to this is " to have no 
strength (neapc) on a thing:" the " having " being expressed 
in accordance with Idiom 34, p. 130. Ni b-puil neapc 
asum aip an nib pm, I have no help for that thing — I 
cannot help that (lit. " there is to me no strength on that 
thing"), a^up a bubaipc 5.Páinne nac paib neapc 
aice pém aip, " and Grainne said that she had no help for 
it" (or "could not help it," "could not have prevented it"). 
Sometimes léigeap, remedy or cure, is used in the same way 
as neapc. 

6. To cause a thing to be done. 

To cause a thing to be done, to have it done, to see that it 
is done, to order it to be done, is often expressed in Irish 
by bo cup (or bo cabaipc) pá beapa, " to put (or bring, or 
give), under notice." Gsup po cuip Tiliobac pa n-beapa 
uip lnpe Cuile bo cup púib, "and Miodhach caused the 
mould (or soil) of Inis Tuile to be placed under you:" bo 
pu5 (pig) bpeac bdip aip an m-bpeiceam, agup CU5 pa 
beapa a cpocab " (the king), passed sentence of death on 
the judge, and had him hanged " ("put under notice him to 
hang," or "his hrnging"). 


7. Number of individuals of which a company is 

The number of individuals of which any collection of per- 
sons or things is made up, is often inserted, in the nominative 
form, in a narrative sentence, without any syntactical con- 
nexion with the rest of the sentence. G5UP cdimc lip 
pontic apnamdpac, caogac caippceac, 6 Shíoó buibb 
Oeips, " and Lir set out on the morrow, fifty chariot-men, 
from SheeBoveDerg" (i.e., with fifty chariots) : asup camic 
boob Oeaps, naoi céao picceab, ban-ionnpuige ; "and 
Bove Derg came, twenty-nine hundred men, towards them." 

This is like the English : — " The duke began his march next 
morning, 20,000 strong." 

8. Passive Verbs used impersonally. 

A passive verbis often used impersonally; as 5dbpa cusainn 
amac, asup ni larhpap puiliugab ope, " come forth to us 
and no one will dare to wound thee : " (literally, " and it will 
not be dared [to put] wounding on thee). 

This form of expression is of very frequent occurrence in 
the older narrative writings : — thus instead of " they advance ; 
they plunge into the (river) Crond," the writer expresses him- 
self in this way : — " it is advanced ; it is plunged into the 

9. Nominatives before Infinitives and Participles. 

Instead of the usual assertive construction, consisting of a 
^erb with its nominative (noun or pronoun), the following 
construction is often adopted : — the verb is put in the infini- 
tive or participial form, and the subject (whether noun or 
personal pronoun) is placed before it, the pronoun being in 
the accusative form (but whether the noun is nominative or 
accusative cannot be determined, as there is no distinction of 
form) ; as ip arhlmD bí Nmpi a^up Déipbpe, asup an 
Cenncairh ecappa, aftup lab 05 mnpc uippe, " it is in this 
manner Naisi and Deirdre were (seated), and the Cenn- 
chaimh (a chess board) between them, and they playing on it; 
ip arhlaib bo bí Cobcac, agup é 05 peapsab, " it is thus 
Cobhthach was, and, he pining away ;" cuipiop pceuld 50 
blricnuib é péin bo beic xmn pin, " he sends word to 
Blanid, he himself to be there" (i.e., "that he himself was 

120 idioms, [part iv 

This form of expression is often adopted even when the 
verb or participle is (not expressed but) understood; as bo óuip 
(an cú) a ceann a n-ucc Ohiapmuba agup é ma cobla 
" (the hound) put her head in the breast of Diarmaid, and he 
in his sleep." 

10. One person meeting another. 

"Donall met Fergus" is often expressed in Irish in the 
following way :— Do capab Pepgup aip Doiimall ; literally 
" Fergus was met (or turned) on Donall." t)o capab Goibell 
na Cpaige léice opumn, "we met Eevelof Craglea" (lit. 
44 Eevel of Craglea was met [or turned] on us") : cid 
cappaibe opm ace pcuaib-bean, "whom should I meet 
but the fair woman" (" who should be met on me"). 

The same idea is expressed by the verb capla, happened : 
a5Vjp cópla oslac oppca ap m-bosac, " and they met a 
youth on the moor" (lit. "and a youth happened on [or 
to] them") : cpialluib 50 SliablThp 50 ccápla banba 50 
n-a bpaoicib oppa ann, "they travel to Slieve Mish until 
they met Banba with her druids there" (" until Banba with 
her druidi happened on[ or to] them there "). 

U. Although: Although not. 

(5ion 50 or gion $up has two opposite meanings which can 
only be distinguished by the general sense of the passage : 
sometimes it means "although" (or "although that"), and 
sometimes "although not." 

Although:— a phmn, ap Orsap, 51cm gup poi^re mo 
gaol buicpe ná bo Ohiapmuib O'Ohmbne, "'0 Finn, 
says Oscar, 'although my relationship with thee is nearer 
than to Diarmaid O'Duibhne.' " 

Although not:— bo bépuim córhaiple maic bib, a 
Chlamn Uipmg, ^ion 50 n-béncap lib i, " I shall give a 
good counsel to you, O sons of Usna, though it will not be 
done by you ;" gion gup cedppb mnd an nibpm, "although 
that proceeding would not be the business of a woman." 

12. To be able. 

To be able lo do a thing is expressed in different ways. 
The most usual is by phrases of the type, ip péibip le, " it is 
possible with;" asippeibipl'om a béanab,Ican doit (lit. "it 
is possible with me to do it :" see Idiom 1.) 

Another, and more idiomatic way, is by the verb cisim. " I 


come," in its various moods and tenses ; and with this verb " I 
can do," or "I am able to do," is expressed by " it comes with 
me to do;" as Tnuna b-aseab pip an cailleac b'amap, 
" unless he would be able to strike the hag" (lit. " unless it 
would come with him the hag to strike") ; ace mop boilge 
pmn md pm map acdib dp o-cpí pémnibe ceangailce 
map b-piaonuipe, agup nac O-cig pmn psaoileab c-íob, 
"and we think more grievous than that, how our three 
champions are bound in our presence, and that we are not 
able to free them :" ni cumeann ualac opparnn nac O-C15 
linn a íomcap, "he puts not a burden on us that we are not 
able to bear." 

Sometimes the verb cd or ip is used instead of C15, and 
also the preposition 05 instead of le; as 6 nac liom bul 6n 
5-Concabaipc po, "since I cannot escape from this danger" 
(" since it is not with me to go from this danger " : here ip is 
understood) : 6 nac b-puil bul uaio a^um, " since I cannot 
escape from him" (" since it is not with me to go from him : " 
here cd and 05 are used, as in " possession : " Idiom 34. 

13. One of a pair. 
One of a pair is often expressed by the word leac, half : 
leac-cop, one foot (lit. half- foot). In this compound 
the word leac is used adjectively, so that lean-cop means, 
not half of a foot, but a half-foot (i.e., a foot which is itself 
a half, i.e., half of a pair). So also leac-ptiil, one eye, leac- 
caob, one side, &c. Ip arhlaio Oo bi an pig pm asup leac- 
larh aipgib aip, "it is thus that king was, and one hand of 
silver on him." 

14. To be alone. 

The word aonap, which the dictionaries now interpret as 
meaning " alone," was originally a concrete numeral noun 
like cpiup, cmseap, &c. (p. 39), and meant " one person;" 
and this meaning it ratlins to some extent in its present ap- 
plication: — bopiuDai mé a'm aonap, I walked alone (lit. 
" I walked in my one person" [see Idiom 42] : or " I walked as 
one person") ; bo piubal cú ab' aonap, thou walkedst alone : 
bo piubal pi n-a h-aonap, "she walked alone," &c. ; am 
aonap peal a piubal bioeap, " alone, of a time, walking I 

Another way of saying in Irish "he is alone" is "he is 
with himself : " ctí mé liom pern, I am alone (" I am with 
myself"): cd ct3 leac pern, thou art alone: cd piab leo 
p6m, they are alone : cd mo mdicpín 'n-a coblab, agup 
mipe liom pern, "my mother is asleep, and I am alone." 


15. One thing given for another. 

When you give or take, sell or buy, one thing for another, 
it is expressed in Irish by saying you give it, &c, on that 
other, the preposition cnp being used. Do óug pé cpí ba 
aip an 5-capall pm, he gave three cows for that horse : aip 
eipe ní 'neópamn cia h-i, "for Erin I would not tell who 
she is" ('neópamn for mneópamn : see p. 63). 

In this sense, the preposition aip is set before the noun of 
price : 00 Ceannuigeap an bó btín pm aip pé pumc, I 
bought that white cow for six pounds : ni h-ionsna ap 
Copmac, óip íp maic an luac cusap uippe, "'No 
wonder,' says Corniac, ' for good is the price I gave for it.' " 

16. Debt. 

The fact that Donall owes Fergus money, or that Donall 
is under any obligation to pay money to Fergus, is expressed 
by saying, " Fergus has money on Donall," the preposition aip 
being used before the name of the debtor, and the act of 
"having" being expressed by cd and 05 as in Idiom 31. 
Cd cpt púmc 05 pepftup OLp Oomnatl, Donall owes three 
pounds to Fergus : cd bean eile a n-eoóaill a b-puil aici 
cop 6m aip, there is another woman in Youghal to whom he 
owes a crown" ("to whom is a crown on him") : íp amlaift 
bo bt an pig po, agup ciop cdm mop cpom 05 Pomopaig 
a]) Cuaca t)é Oanann pe n-a Imn, " it is how this king was, 
and (that) the Fomorians had a great heavy tribute and rule 
over the Tuatha De Dananns during his time " (" a great 
heavy tribute and rule was with the Fomorians on the 
Tuath De Dananns"). 

17. Asking, entreating, &c. 

To ask, request, entreat, or demand of a person, is ex- 
pressed by "to ask, &c, on that person:" iapp aip Dbia na 
5pdna pm, " ask of God those graces." 

18. Sensation, suffering, &c. 

That a person is hungry, thirsty, cold, afraid, sick, &c, Í3 
expressed in Irish by saying that hunger, thirst, cold, fear, sick- 
ness, &c, is on him, the preposition aip being used : cd puacc 
enm (cold is on me), I am cold ; nd bio& eagla ope (let not 
feu/ be on thee) be not afraid : t>o bi cape móp. aip Sbea- 
gan (great thirst was on John), John was very thirst» ■ cat» 

PART rv.] IDIOMS. 123 

é rm ope ? (what is that on thee ?) what ails you ? Q cuiple 
mo cpoi&e cpeub í an gpuaim pin ope ? " O pulse of my 
heart, what is that frown on thee ?" 

19. One person entertaining feelings (of love, 
hatred, &c.) towards another. 

That Donall entertains certain feelings towards Fergus is 
expressed hy saying that Donall has such feelings on Fergus ; 
the preposition aip being used before "Fergus," and the act of 
" having " being expressed by cd and 05, as in idiom 34: — ni 
mó an cion po bd 05 Oongup opepa md an cion po bd 05 
mumcip Oongupa ap mac an peaccaipe, 50 paib popmab 
móp ap c'acaip pd n-a cionn pm, " not greater was the affec- 
tion Aonghus felt for thee than the affection the people of 
Aonghus felt for the son of the steward, so that thy 
father felt great jealousy on that account " (lit. " not greater 

was the affection which was with Aonghus on thee, 

so that great jealousy was on thy father on the head of that :" 
see Idiom 32). 

Where the agent is not specified, a similar form of expres- 
sion is retained : you are loved, is expressed by love is on you : 
you are esteemed, by estimation is on you, &c. : cd meap 
agup cion móp aip Opcap (great esteem and love are on 
Oscar), Oscar is greatly esteemed and loved. 

20. To know : to know a person. 

To know is usually expressed in Irish by the phrase know- 
ledge is with me, I have knowledge ; and to know a person 
by "to have or to give knowledge on a person : " " ' agup on 
b-puil a piop agab pém, a phmn?' 'ni b-puil,' ap 
Pionn :" " ' do you know it, O Finn ? ' ' I do not,' says Finn " 
(lit., is its knowledge with you, O Finn? It is not, says 
Finn): an ail leac piop b'pdjail? do you wish to know ? 
("is it a desire with you knowledge to get ?") : biob- a piop 
agac, a leugcoip, "know O reader" ("be its knowledge 
with thee, O reader"): (strangers are seen coming towards 
Finn and his party), po piappaij, pionn bo ede an b-cuga- 
oap aicne oppca, "Finn asked of the others did they know 
them" (lit. " did they put knowledge on them ") : asup cu- 
gaippe aicne opm, "and thou knewestme" (lit. u and thou 
didst put knowledge on me"). 

124 IDIOMS. [part IV. 

21. To part from, to separate from. 

To separate from a person is expressed in Irish by "to 
separate with a person," the preposition le or pe being used: 
much in the same manner as we say in English, " I parted 
witb him: '' pcapabap pern afiup Oiapmaib pen-a céile, 
" they themselves and Diarmaid separated from each other : " 
bo pcap pé pinn, " he separated from us ;" pcap Opcap le 
Oiapmaib, " Oscar separated from Diarmaid : " bo pcapjiip, 
"he separated from him;" 05 Cuppac Cill'-bapa bo 
pcapap le gpab mo cpoióe, "at the Curragh of Kildare 
I parted from the ' love of my heart.' " 

22. However great, however good, however 
brave, &c. 

Da placed before some abstract nouns gives a meaning which, 
though it is well understood in practical use, has puzzled 
grammarians to analyse and explain, and which will be best 
understood by a few examples. From the adjective dlainn, 
fine or beautiful, is formed dilne or tíille, fineness, beauty; 
and ba dilne or ba dille, means " however fine," " how fine 
soever." Examples: — Ní b-puilpionúpbdrheub.nacb-cuil- 
lit>," there is no punishment however great that they do not de- 
serve : " an cpeap geip, san corhpag aoinpip bd bpéipi aip 
calrhain b'obab, " the third injunction, not to refuse single 
combat to any man on earth, however mighty :" bearhannd 
biabal bd cpéipe Idrh, " demon or devil, however mighty of 

23. Both one and another : both these and those. 

Both, in such phrases as "both men and women," is often 
expressed in Irish by the preposition lbip, between ; as bain- 
pib Dia pdpam biob ann gac poóap b'd b-eugjDóib lbip 
ceill, ceabpabaib, asup conac paogalca, " God will exact 
an account from them in every advantage He has given to them 
between understanding, senses, and worldly prosperity :" cdifr". 
mile lbip peapaib asup mndib, five thousand, between men 
and women (i.e. both men and women, or reckoning men and 

24. To overtake. 

To overtake a person is often expressed by " to bear on a 
person," the verb beip, bear, being used with the preposition 


aip. Examples: — pdsbam an culac po ap easla 50 
m-beappaó Gongup an Ohpoga oppuinn, "let 113 leave this 
hill for fear that Aonghus of the Brugh would overtake its :" 
leanuji aip a lop 5 50 péimoípeac iat) bo'n 111 hum am, 
50 PU5 oppa 05 Solcóit), "he follows them on their track 
directly to Minister, so that he overtook them at Solenoid . " 
50 nac púispibíp an ponn pm no 50 m-beipeao TCIapcpa 
Si&e oppa, " that they might not leave that territory till the 
fairy cavalcade should overtake them:" panpabpa leac ap 
an lácaip po nó 50 m-beipip opm apip, " I will wait for 
thee at this place till thou overtake me again :" 506 aon aip 
a m-béappamnpi, "every one whom I would overtake" 
(" every one on whom I would bear"). 

25. To win a game on a person. 

To win a game on a person is expressed by "to put a game 
on hiin:" asup bo cóo Oipin an peap pm, asup po Cuip 
an cluicce ap ptnonn, "and Oisin moved that (chess-) man 
and won a game on Finn:" agup ni pugamap an báipe ap 
a céile, "and we did not win the goal on each other" (i.e. 
neither of us won the goal on the other." 

26. To think long, short, well of, ill of : to think 
hot, cold, hateful, &c. 

Such phrases as " it seemed long to him," "he thought it 
long, 1 ' are expressed by the verb lp and the preposition le : ip 
paba liom ("it is long with me"), it seems long to me, I 
think it long. dsup bo bo paba le na bpáicpib bo bi 
bpian uaca, "and his brothers thought it long that Brian 
was away from them" (" it was long with his brothers, &c.") : 
ip ole linn ap bean pioc, " we think bad of what has 
happened to thee"'(" it is evil with us:" ap = a po, and a 
means " all that : " see p. 47) : cuigimpi nac lonrimm leacpa 
me pern, " I understand that thou dost not love me" (" that 
not beloved with thee am I myself"). 

Observe the difference in meaning conveyed by the two pre- 
positions le and bo : ip maic é bo'n b-peap pin, it is ad- 
vantageous to that man (whether he thinks it so or not) : ip 
maic é leip an b-peap pin, that man thinks it advantageous 
(whether it is really so or not). The following example shows 
buth forms : — ba maic liom piubail ace mop maic bam 
é, I wished to walk, but it was not good for me. 


27. To wish for : to like : to be glad of : to prefer. 

After the same manner, a desire, wish, liking for, &c, is 
expressed by such words as micm, desire ; die, pleasure ; ail, 
will or pleasure, &c. : ip dill liom piop O'pdgolil, I wish to 
know (" it is a desire with me knowledge to get") : Oo cuip- 
pmn péin púil an caic pin at» h-ucc a n-ionaO Oo púl, ap 
peap Oiob : Oo b'aic liom pm, ap an Oóippeoip, " ' I would 
put the eye of that cat in thy lap in place of thy eye,' says 
a man of them. ' I'would like that,' says the door-keeper." 

The word pedpp, better, is used in the same way to ex- 
press preference : ip péapp liom Oo Oeapbpdcaip nd cupa, 
I prefer thy brother to thyself: I would rather have thy 
brother than thyself (lit. " thy brother is better with me," 
&c) ; Oo b'pedpp le bpigiO leabap maic nd aip^eaO, 
Brigid would prefer a good book to money (lit. " a good book 
would be better with Erigid," &c). The following example 
shows the application of both mian and pedpp : — Ní h-é ip 
mian leip an ugOap (ni mo, ní h-é ip nnan liom-pa) cu Oo 
bpeugan ; . . . . ace ip é Oob' pedpp leip pm (a^up 
liom-pa) Oo cpoi&e Oo pealbugaO: "it is not what the 
author wishes (neither is it my wish) to amuse thee (cu Oo 
Speu^an) .... but it is what he would pi-efer (and I also) 
to possess thy heart." 

Pedpp followed by le expresses mental preference as shown 
above : butpeapp followed by Oo is equivalent to the English 
expression "better for," "better that," &c. Ip pedpp 
Oompa anoip, ap Lug, piop na h-eapca ÚO Oo cabaipe 
óaoib. Ip peapp ceana, ap íaOpan, ' it is better for me 
now,' says Lugh, ' a knowledge of that eric (fine) to give you.' 
' It is better indeed,' say they." 

28. To think little of — much of — to grudge. 

Similar to the preceding is the use of the words beaft and 
móp (little and much) in several idiomatic phrases, which 
occur very frequently, and which will be best understood by 
the following examples : — lp mop liom an luac pm, I think 
that price large ("that price is large with me"): 6ip Od 
m-beic mac agumne lona pui&e pompa, niop beas leo 
Oo cuip Odp mapbaO é, " for if (even) a child of us would 
be sitting ("in his sitting:" see Idiom 42) before them, 
they would not deem it (too) little cause to kill us " (lit. " it 
would not be with them a small [thing] for a cause to kill 
us :" for Odp inapbab: see Idiom 1) : Oap mo bpiacap ap 


Naifi nibes Imnepin uaic, '"by my word/ says Naisi, 'we 
do not think that small from thee.' " 

The two expressions ip móp le and ni beas le (it is much 
with, it is not little with) are used to express the idea of un- 
willingness or grudging : ip móp liom aon pmgín t>o oab- 
aipc oo, I think it much — I grudge — to give one penny to 
him : the very same idea is expressed by ni beag liom aon 
pmsin, &c, I think it not little— I grudge— one penny, I 
think one penny enough, &c. The two reverse expressions 
(ni mop le — ip beag le) are used to express willingness — 
not grudging, &c. : ní móp liom na cpi ba po oo cabaipc 
bo, I do not think it much — I am quite willing — I do not 
grudge — to give him these three cows ; which might also be 
expressed by saying, ip bea^ liom, &c. — I think it little — I 
would give more, I would have more, I would want more ; 
I am willing— I do not grudge, &c— bo beipmíb áj) 
m-bpiacap, ap piab, nac beas linn a m-beupam 50 pionn 
biob, " ' we give our word,' said they ' we think it not small — 
we grudge — what (a = all that : see p. 47) we shall bring 
of them to Finn.' " (See Mr. Standish O'Grady's note, in 
the " Pursuit of Diarmaid and Grainne," p. 140.) 

When móp and beci5 are used with the preposition bo, 
they give the idea of enough or not enough for a person: 
niop beas bo (mapbab bap n-aicpeac) map eipic aaibpe, 
(the killing of your fathers) is not small to him — is enough 
for him — should suffice for him — as an eric (fine) from you : 
niop beag buic a ba bo bp eic 6 phionn, " it was not little 
for you — it was enough for you — to take away his cows from 

29. Woe to. 

Ip maips bon b-peap pm, woe to that man : a rhaips 
bo'n bpung goipeap bo'n olc maic, "woe to those who call 
evil good." Expressions of this kind are sometimes elliptical ; 
as, ip maips nac n-béanann comaiple beaé-iimá, " woe 
[to him] who doeth not the counsel of a good wife " (lit. " it 
is woe who doeth not," &c). 

30. So . . as : as . . as. 

When these "correspondent conjunctions " are expressed 
in Irish, the second one is usually translated either by 0511 p, 
" and," or by le, " with :" aftup a bubaipc pia an can bo 
biob a mac com appacca asup 50 lionpab a meup an 
106, " and he said to her when his son should be so grown 
(com appacca) as that his finger would fill the ring" (lit. 

128 IDIOMS. [part IV. 

"so grown and that his finger," &c): bo bi a pleag com 
peumap le mol muillmn, "his spear was as thick as the 
Bhaft of a mill" (lit. " as thick with.") 

Qgup follows amlaib or amla (thus, so, in this manner), 
much in the same way as it follows com ; and in this use it 
sometimes answers very nearly to "viz.:" cm amlaib 00 
pump Naipi acap Déipbpe, acap an Cenncaem eeappa, 
" it is thus he found Naisi and Déirdre, and the Cenn-chaemh 
(a kind of chess-board) between them.' (Meaning, " it was 
thus he found them, viz., with the Ccnn-chaemh between 

31. Every other day : every second day : every 
alternate day. 

Phrases like these are often expressed in Irish by the in- 
definite pronoun 50c, followed by the preposition le or pe. 
(5uc le Dorrmac 05 bul cum ceampoill, going to the church 
every other (or every alternate) Sunday : na cpí pi^ce pm bo 
GhuacmbOe Danann bo bi 1 b-plcuciop Gipearm 50c pe 
m-bliagam, " these three kings of the Tuatha De Danann 
were in the sovereignty of Erin every other year" (i.e. each 
for a year). 

32. The Head. 

The word for head is used in Irish, as it is in most lan- 
guages, in a great variety of idiomatic phrases. Some have been 
already noticed among the compound propositions ; and these 
and others will be understood from the following examples. 

a 5-ceann bliabna, at the end of a year : bo bi piab a 
5-ceann na paicce, they were at the end of the field, a 
bubaipc Naipi le h-Opban bul aip ceann pepsuip, "Naisi 
said to Ardan to go for Fergus " (" to go on the head of Fer- 
gus") : pillpe aip a 5-ceann, "turn thou back for them" 
(" on their head"). O nac liom bul on 5-concabaipc po 
am ceann, "since! am not able to escape from this danger 
[that liesj before me" (am ceann, " in my head " = before 
me). "Racpab ab ceann, a phmn, asup a 5-ceann na 
pémne, " I will go to thee (or before thee), O Finn, and to 
the Feni" ("in thy head and in the head of the Fern"). Qcap 
beipib buaib acap bennaccam bá cenn, "and bear ye vic- 
tory and blessing on its account" (bd cenn, " from its head"). 
Cap ceann sup paoil an coiceacnacpaibbaosalap bic 
ap pern, "although the rich man thought that there was no 
danger at all to (i.e. of) himself (cap ceann sup, "over the 
head that" = although), lp longna buicpe an 5pab pm bo 


cabaipcbarhpa cap ceann phinn, ap Diapmaib, " 'it is a 
wonder for thee to give that love to me instead of (to) Finn ' 
says Diarmaid" (cap ceann phmn, "over the head of Finn," 
in preference to Finn, instead of Finn) 

33. A proper noun with the genitive of a noun of 

When a proper noun is followed by a noun in the genitive 
signifying a profession, office, trade, or calling, the resulting 
phrase has a curious idiomatic meaning. 

Seagan anpigeabopa, which is word for word, "John ?- S~^ 
of the weaver," means in reality " John (the son, son-in-law, 
servant, or some other close connection) of the weaver ." 
Seagan na bamcpeabaige, "John (the son, &c.) of the 

If, while the proper name is in the nominative, the second 
noun is also in the nominative, the meaning is quite different, 
the second noun being then simply in apposition to the first : 
thus Pepgup maop (nom.) means "Fergus the steward;': 
but Pep^up an rhaoip (gen.) is " Fergus (the son, &c.) of 
the steward." 

Suppose, now, you have to express in Irish such a phrase 
as " the house of Fergus the steward," in which the proper 
name must be in the genitive : as the two nouns are in appo- 
sition, the second, according to a rule of Syntax (Rule 6, 
p. 96) should also be in the genitive: ceac phep^uip an 
liiaoip. But here is an ambiguity; for, according to the 
present idiom, this expression would also mean " the house of 
Fergus (the son, &c.) of the steward." To avoid this am- 
biguity, a disagreement in case is allowed in such expressions, 
between the two nouns, when they are in apposition. Thus 
" the house of Fergus the steward" is ceac phepsuip maop 
(in which piiepstiip is gen. and maop nom.) ; whereas ceac 
phepsuip an rhaoip is understood to mean " the house of 
Fergus (the son, &c.) of the steward." So in Dr. MacHale's 
translation of Homer, the first two lines are rendered : — 
bpuc (Xcuil pemn, 615" nearhoa, a'p buan peaps ; 
dcuilmic peil, an gaipsióeac ceinnceacgaps. 
" The wrath of Achilles sing, O heavenly virgin, and his en- 
during anger, of Achilles son of Peleus, the fiery fierce hero." 

* The substance of thi3 explanation and the illustrative 
examples have been taken from an interesting Essay on the 
present state of the Irish language in Munster, written and 
sent to the Royal Irish Academy by Mr. John Fleming of 

130 IDIOMS. [part IV. 

Here the last noun 5aip5lÓea0, with its two adjectives, ie in 
the nominative, while Ócuil, with which it is in apposition, 
is genitive. 

In the first example, Rule 7, p. 96, bean Sheagam an 
pigeaOopa, accordingly, is not " the wife of John the 
weaver," but " the wife of John (son, &c.) of the weaver;" 
the wife of John the weaver, would be expressed by bean 
Sheagam pigeaOóip. 

34. Possession. 

There is no verb in Irish corresponding to the English verb 
"to have" as expressing possession; and the sentence "the 
man has a book," is expressed in Irish by the verb cd and the 
preposition 05, in this form, cd leabap 05 an buine, "a 
book is at (or with) the man :" ca aipgeab asum (" money 
is with me"), I have money: cm bé 05 a b-puil aipseaO 
(" whoever with whom is money"), whoever has money. Ni 
péi'oip le bume an nió nac m-beioeao aige bo cabaipe 
uaio, agup ni b-pml Oo-mapbGacc agumpa, " it is im- 
possible for a man to give away what he does not himself 
possess, and I do not possess immortality" (word-for-word : 
" it is not possible for a man the thing which would not be 
with him to give from him, and not is immortality with my- 
self"). Do aisel Concubap bopac acap bo piappaig Oé 
an paib pleO ollam aige 60, " Conchobhar addressed 
Borach and inquired of him whether he had a feast prepared 
for him" (lit.: "whether a feast was ready with him [i.e. 
Borach] for him [i.e. Conchobar."] 

The use of pronouns in this idiom sometimes gives rise to 
further idiomatic complications. Cia agumneag a b-puil 
an pipmne? "Which of us has the truth?" This is word 
f orword: " Which of us with whom is the truth ?" and the 
interrogative appears without any government or other syn- 
tactical connection. Some good authorities believe that the 
preposition 05 in this construction governs not only the rela- 
tive a, but also, by a sort of attraction, the interrogative cia. 
Cd bean eile a n-6ocaill ab-puilaici copóm aip, "there 
is another woman in Youghal who has a crown on him" (i.e. 
to whom he owes a crown : Idiom 16). Here, also, there is 
an apparent redundancy, the act of " having" being expressed 
doubly, namely, both by the relative a before b-puil, and by 
aici ; and the relative, according to the same authority, would 
be governed by the preposition 05 of aici. The sentence may 
be expressed without redundancy in this manner : — Gd bean 


eile a n-Gocaill 05 a b-puil copóm aip. The last ex- 
ample exactly resembles the English "there is a man in Dublin 
whom I owe a pound to him : " and perhaps it would be 
better to consider it, like the English sentence, merely as bad 
grammar, which is to be avoided by using a different form of 
expression in the manner shown. The apparent redundancy 
of the first example, which is from a good authority, cannot, 
however, be got rid of in this way. So also in, cia lei p an 
ceac pin (who owns that house), the le of leip would ap- 
pear to govern the pronoun with which it is combined, and 
also the interrogative cia. 

35. Ownership. 

Ownership is expressed by the verb ip and the preposition 
le, with: ip leacpa an ceac, " the house belongs to thee" 
(lit. " it is with thee the house ") : ip lem' acaip na ba pin, 
those cows belong to my father ("it is with my father those 
cows'): cia leip na ba pm, who owns those cows ? ("who 
with him [are] those cows?") Oip ip le neac éigm bo 
Chuaca Oe Danann na muca, " for the pigs belong to 
some person of the Tuatha De Danann." (A wizard holds a 
golden branch in his hand, and king Cormac asks him) an 
leac pern an cpaob pm ? "Does that branch belong to 
thyself ?" 

Observe the distinction between this idiom and the last in 
the following sentence: — Ga aipgeab 50 leóp agab, accni 
leac pém é, " thou hast plenty of money, but it does not 
belong to thyself." 

36. "Wanting a thing. 
The idea of wanting a thing, including a wish to get it, is 
usually expressed by the verb cd and the preposition ó from : 
ca leabap uaim, I want a book: lit., " a book is from me:" 
cpeub aca uaic ? " What dost thou want ?" 

37. Genitive plurals of Personal Pronouns. 
Each of the three prepositional pronouns, againn, agaib, 
aca, has two different meanings, which are always easily 
distinguished by the context. 

1. Possession, as in Idiom 34 : t)o bi leabaip aca, they 
had books. 

2. The sense of a genitive plural when following words de- 
noting a part: gaó peap aguinn, "each man of us/' po 
eipis an bapa peap acopan Co béanarii an cleapa, "the 


second man of thc?n (acopan, "of themselves") arose toper- 
form the feat :" cia asumne 05 a b-puil an pipinne, ap 
Pionn, '"which of us has the truth,' says Finn" (05 a 
b-puil, "with whom is" =" has:" see Idiom 31). 

38. To give a name. 

To give a name to a thing is often expressed in Irish by to 
put a name on it ; map 50 ccuscap bá bancuacac aip 
bhécoill asup aip Ohanann, "as (the name) 'two ladies' 
was put on Eechoill and Danann: i.e. as they "were called 
'two ladies.'" TTlap 50 b-cus cleap aip an 5-cleap pm, 
"as he called that feat 'afeaf/" (lit. "as that he put [the 
name] 'feat' on that feat"). 

Sometimes, also, to give such and such a name to a thing 
is expressed by "to say such and such a name with a thing :" 
TCop-bá-páileacpip a pdibceap Luimneacaniu, "Eos-cla- 
shaileach which is called Limerick now" (lit. " E. with which 
is said ' Limerick ' now"). 

39. t)e after comparatives. 

The prepositional pronoun be " of it," is often postfixedto 
comparatives, giving rise to some idiomatic phrases. G5UP 
5ion 50 b-puil cuib asumn bo mapbao Oiapmaba, nf 
móibebo geubab (Gongup) an pipinne uaun, "and al- 
though we have no part in killing Diarmaid, Aongus would 
not the more receive the truth from us" (here móibe is be 
added to mó, the comparative of mop, great : for 51 on 30 = 
" although not :" see Idiom 11). lp pupaibe b'Phionn típ 
lopQ-na leanarhain, an eacpa beica^ainn, " it is the easier 
for Finn to follow our track that we have the horses " (pu- 
paibe = be after pupa, comparative of pupup, easy) : i.e. 
" our having the horses makes it easier for Finn," &c. 

40. " A man of great strength." 
"A man of great strength," is expressed by the Irish peap 
ípmóp neapc, which translated word for word is "a man 
(who) is great strength:" the words móp neapc beinginthe 
nominative, and not in the genitive, as might be expected 
from the English " of great strength." This idiom is ex- 
tremely common in Irish, the verb ip in some of its forms 
being always used ; and when translating it, remember that 
the Irish words, though in the nominative case, convey the 
exact sense of the genitive with " of " in English, and must be 


part rv.] IDIOMS. 133 

rendered accordingly. Mi paib a g-córhaimpip pip peap 
ba rhó óp agup aipgeab mdOiapmaib, " there was not at 
the same time with him a man who had more gold and silver 
than Diarmaid " (lit. " a man [who] was greater gold and 
silver," i.e. "a man who was of greater gold and silver.") 
Do Óeapcap an beic ba niarhoa cpuc, " I saw a lady (of) 
bright shape :" Galarh ba pedpp biaó agup beoc, " a land 
(of) the best food and drink:" Oipin ba cpeun neapc a'p 
luc, " Oisin of mighty strength and vigour." 

Sometimes the preposition 50 (with) is used instead of the 
verb: as peap 50 móp neapc, a man with great strength, 
i.e. a man of great strength. 

41. A wish. 

"I wish I had such and such a thing," is often expressed 
in Irish by some such form of phrase as " Alas that I have 
not got it !" the word 5011 being generally used as the nega- 
tive particle, dp cpuaig gan peaca 'n riiaoip 0511m ! 
"I wish I had the shepherd's pet!" (Here ap cpuai$, 
" it is pity" = " alas :" agum is used to denote possession, 
with its verb understood — Idiom 31 : and the word-for-word 
translation is "it is pity not the pet of the shepherd with 
me." Q Ohio gan mé am' abaillin, "I wish I were an 
apple" ("O God, I not an apple" — or "in my apple.") 

42. One noun asserted of another by cd. 

When one noun is asserted of another (or of a pronoun) by 
the verb cd, in any of its forms, it requires the aid of the 
preposition a or ann, 'in," and of one of the possessive 
pronouns, giving rise to a unique and extremely curiouí 
idiom. Thus "I am a man," if expressed in Irish by cd, 
will be (not cámé peap, but) cámé am' peap, which is 
word for word, "I am in my man. " bí cúpa at>' pgían 
agup mipe am peoil, "be thou the knife and I the flesh." 
(lit. "be thou in thy knife and I in my flesh"). Oecoill 
agup t)anann bo bi 1 n-a m-bamcíéeapnaib, "Bechoill 
and Danann who were princesses" ("who were in their prin- 
cesses") : íp pedpp éipean mile uaip nd cupa, cuip a 
5-ctíp 50 b-puil cd ao' pig no aO' ppionnpa. " he is better 
a thousand times than thou, even supposing that thou art a 
king or a prince" (cuip a 5-cdp, " put in case" = " suppose" 
or "although"): pagaib na baome btíp, cuib aca 'n-a 

134 IDIOMS. [part rv. 

n-ósdnaib, asur cuit> aca 'n-a pean óipigib, " men die ( ( re- 
ceive death :' Idiom 3), " some of them (cuib aca : Idiom 
37) as youths, and some as old men" ("some of them in 
their youths and some of them in their old men.") Q t)hia, 
gan mé am abaillin !" " would God that I were an apple !" 
(" O God without me in my apple !"). 

Even when one thing is not directly asserted of another, 
this use of the preposition and the possessive is extremely 
common in Irish. Gdimpe am' cobla, "I am asleep" ("I 
am in my sleep"): b'éipig ma peapam, "he scood up" ("he 
arose in his standing") : mipe am' aonap, "myself alone" 
("myself in my one person"): clanna Lip ma 5-ceacpap, 
(the four children of Lir) (" the children of Lir in their 

The preposition ann is used with ca without any governed 
noun, to denote existence in general ; as acd aon t)ia 
amtím ann, there is only one God ; here the ann in the 
end, which has no representative in the translation, means 
"in it," i. e. in existence. Sometimes this ann answei's very 
nearly to the English " here," or " there ;" as ip cú acd ann 
"it is thou who art in it — who art in existence — who art 

43. Differences between ip and cd. 

There are several differences, as to the manner of application, 
between ip and cd. 

1. Ip is a simple copula, and is used to predicate one thing 
of another, or to connect an attribute with its subject ; as 
ípmé an c-plige, an pipmne, agup an beaca, " I am the 
way, the truth, and the life." 

But if existence in connection with place is to be predicated 
of the subject, cd is used; as cd mé a m-baile aca cliac, 
I am in Dublin : an palb cii ann pm ? wert thou there ? 

If an adjective is to be predicated of a noun, either ip or 
cd may be used : — ip bpeag an lá é, or cd an Id bpeag, 
" it is a fine day," or "the day is fine." 

2. Ip connects one noun or pronoun with another, as 
predicate and subject dh'ectly, and without the aid of any 
other word ; as ip peap mé, I am a man. But cd cannot do 
this without the aid of the preposition 1 or inn and the 
possessive pronoun, as already explained in last Idiom ; as cd 
mé am' peap, I am a man ("I am in my man.'',) 


3. Ip expresses simply that a person or thing is eo t and 
implies nothing more. But when the assertion is made by 
cd, there is often something more implied than is contained 
in the direct assertion — the idea that the person or thing 
has not always been so — has come to be so, &c. Thus, if you 
say to me ip peap é, your assertion means nothing more than 
that " he is a man" — not a woman or a coward, &c. If we 
see a figure approach in the dark, and that after looking 
close you find it is a man, your correct phraseology is, ip peap 
é, by which I understand you to mean " it is a man" — not a 
woman, or a beast, or a ghost. 

But if you say to me ca pé 'n-a peap (" he is in his man"), 
here I take you to mean a very different thing — that he is 
now a man, no longer a boy, grown up to be a man. If I 
were speaking of a person as if he were a mere boy, and that 
you wished to correct this false impression, the proper 
phraseology would be, ca pé 'n-a peap. 

But though this idea of an implied change is often 
contained in an assertion made by cd, it is not always so ; as 
ni b-puilacc aon 'Oiaarhdm ann, aca 'n-apiop-ppiopaib, 
there is only one God alone, who is a pure spirit : here 
the last assertion is made by cd though there can be no 

4. Cd is used with 05 to denote possession (Idiom 43) ; 
ip is used with le to denote ownership (Idiom 44) ; in these 
two applications the two verbs cannot change places. 

Cd may indeed be used with le, but the idea conveyed 
is not "belonging to," but "being favourable to:" Oo bi 
Golup leo " (Eolus was with thetn"^), does not mean that 
they were the owners of Eolus (which would be the meaning 
if ip had been used), but that "Eolus was favourable to 
them " — " was on their side." 

5. Cd is used with the Irish words for cold, heat, hunger, 
&c, as in Idiom 36; as cd ocpap opm, hunger is in me, I am 
hungry : here ip cannot be used. 

6. When the comparative of an adjective is used as in the 
following sentences, either verb will answer : — ip paiúbpe é 
nd mipe or cd pé mop paiobpe nd nnpe, he is richer 
than I. 

But when the superlative is employed, ip, not cd, must be 
used:— ip é ip peap ip paiobpe pan búicce é, he is the 
richest man in the country. 


Additional Examples of Declensions. 


bpeac, a trout. 


.N. bpeac. 
G. bpic. 
D. bpeac. 
V. a bpic. 

a bpeaca. 


Ceine, afire. 



N. ceme. 
G. ceme. 
D. ceme. 


Cop, afoot. 
N. cop. copa. 

G. coipe cop. 

D. coip. copaib. 


pigeabóip, a weaver ; masc. 

N. pigeabóip. pijeabóipiée. 
G. pigeaOópa. pigeabóip 
D. pigeaOóip. pigeaOóipib. 

Ocaip, a father; masc. 
N. acaip. aicpe, aicpe^ 

G. acap. aicpeac. 

D. acaip. aicpeacaib. 

(TTIácaip, a mother, and 
bpdcaip or beapbpdcaip, a 
brother, are declined in the 
same way.) 

bliaoam, a year ; fern. 
N. bliaóam. bliaoanca. 
G, bliaona. bliaban. 
D. bliaóam bliaóancaib. 

amm, a name. 
N. ainm. an manna. 

G. ainme,anma. amnann. 
D. amm anmannaib. 

Gmtn, a little bird. 
N. émín. émínioe. 

G. éinfn. 
D. éinfn. 



Ldnama, a married couple, 
N. lanama. lánaiima. 
G. Idnarhan. Idnaman. 
D. Idnamam. lánaiimaib. 

Irregular Nouns. 
5 a, a spear. 
N. 5a, 50c. 5001, gaeca, 

G. gai, gaoi. 50c, gaecaO, 
D. 5a, 501. 5001b, seacai 
Cp6, a hut, asheepfold, 
N. cpó. cpaoióe.cpóic' 
cpaoioib, cpc 

a cpaoice, 

G. cpó. 
D. cpó. 

V. a cpo. 

Sliab, a mountain. 

N. pliab. 
G. pléibe. 
D. pliab.