Irish Language Alphabet And Their Pronunciations


Irish Language Alphabet Pronunciation 📚: In this blog, we talk more about the Irish language itself. More specifically, we share with you the Irish language alphabet and every letter’s corresponding pronunciation. 


Just a while back, we have mentioned the brilliance of the Irishmen in the past. More specifically, we have shared accounts of Irish monks of the past and how they had almost everything to do with the Irish language’s improvement. Not only did they greatly contribute to written Latin, but they also made it easier and more convenient to read by implementing spacing! I would imagine reading convoluted and continuous words – maybe I would’ve never learned how to read back then!


Kidding aside, today, we would be talking about something similar: Irish language alphabet and pronunciation. The alphabets and their pronunciations are not too far off from the English language as they also use the Latin alphabet. Therefore, I do not think you would have much of a difficult time understanding them if you put your heart into it and study earnestly at an ample amount of time.


Below, we cover the letters of the Irish language, pronunciations and even accents. This can help extremely for those who wish to learn the Irish language. Thíos, clúdaímid litreacha na Gaeilge, fuaimniú agus fiú haicinn. Is féidir leis seo cabhrú go mór dóibh siúd ar mian leo an Ghaeilge a fhoghlaim.



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Irish language alphabet pronunciation: important to learn


As mentioned above, the traditional Irish alphabet adapted is really an adaptation of the Latin alphabet. The Irish used these letters in the past in Ireland on a common basis up until the middle of the prior century. Nowadays, we can still see some of the letters used in road signs and public notices. In addition, we can also see them in some stop signs – a reminder of our past identity.


The traditional Irish Gaelic alphabet consists of 18 letters, with some borrowed (i.e., loaned) specifically for words that do not have any Irish origin.


Here, we take a look at the traditional Irish alphabet:

Anseo, caithfimid súil ar aibítir thraidisiúnta na hÉireann:


Aa, Bb, Cc, Dd, Ee, Ff, Gg, Hh, Ii, Ll, Mm, Nn, Oo, Pp, Rr, Ss, Tt, Uu 


Of course, 5 of them are considered as vowels. They are the following:


a, e, i, o and u


You might have noticed some of the consonants. or lack thereof. We will discuss more below.


Irish language alphabet and pronunciation nowadays


Nowadays, Irish language has added more letters to the mix as more words have sprouted that need certain letters for proper pronunciation. Of course, there are 26 letters in total. The following are the letters:


Aa, Bb, Cc, Dd, Ee, Ff, Gg, Hh, Ii, (Jj), (Kk), Ll, Mm, Nn, Oo, Pp, (Qq), Rr, Ss, Tt, Uu, (Vv), (Ww), (Xx), (Yy), (Zz)


Take note that those we have put inside a parenthesis insinuates letters not usually found in original Irish words. Instead, the Irish implemented these letters for words incorporated from the English language.


Below, we present you some examples:

Thíos, cuirimid roinnt samplaí i láthair duit:


  • Zú – Zoo
  • Vóta – Vote
  • Yóyó – yoyo
  • Vardrús – Wardrobe


“Are all the letters of the current Irish alphabet used?” According to the writer of this Gaelic Matters article,


While I am open to correction, there are no examples of words with the letter ‘q’ as they are generally handled by using the hard Irish ‘c’. The letter ‘c’ in Gaelic is pronounced as the English ‘k’. So, for example, the country ‘Qatar’ is translated as ‘Catar’ and pronounced similarly.

There is also no real need for ‘w’ either but the sound exists, you may be surprised to read, in the combination of consonants ‘bh’ or ‘mh’. For example ‘an-mhaith’ which is pronounced ‘an-wah’ means ‘very good’.


The need for accents


Why the need for accents? Cén fáth an gá le haicinn?


The answer to that is simple. Some words have the same spelling but have different pronunciations. Therefore, an accent is put on top of the vowel to stress a syllable.


In Irish, we know of the acute accent as a síneadh fada (length accent), also commonly called a fada. If you intend to use them, you can place the accent over any of the vowels for emphasis. As a result of using this accent, it lengthens the sound of the vowel.


Aa – Áá (“aw”, /aː/)

Ee – Éé (“ay”, /eː/)

Ii – Íí (“ee”, /iː/)

Oo – Óó (“oh”, /oː/)

Uu – Úú (“oo”, /uː/)


Fun fact: although the English have such words (e.g., cónvict as a noun and convíct as a verb, accent is usually not used in the English language). 


Irish language alphabet and pronunciation: typing the accents on a keyboard


Are you using a computer in studying the Irish language? If so, you might not have any idea on how you can type the accents. That is easy! Below, we share with you the codes:



  • á = Alt + 160
  • é = Alt + 130
  • í = Alt + 161
  • or = Alt + 162
  • ú = Alt + 163



  • Á = ALT + 0193
  • É = ALT + 144
  • Í = ALT + 0205
  • Ó = ALT + 0211
  • Ú = ALT + 0218


Learn Irish through FluentIrish


Now that we have shared with you everything you need to know about the Irish language alphabet and pronunciation, we also want to discuss with you how we can help you in everything Irish-related.


ba mhaith linn plé leat freisin conas is féidir linn cabhrú leat i ngach rud a bhaineann leis an nGaeilge.


If you can understand simple Irish, you will want to improve. FluentIrish is here for you. Listen every day to get on with Irish.

Má tá tú ábalta Gaeilge shimplí a thuiscint – beidh tú ag iarraidh biseach a dhéanamh. Tá Fluentirish anseo faoi do choinne. Bí ag éisteacht gach aon lá chun a bheith ag gabháil ar aghaidh i nGaeilge.

We provide informative blogs and helpful podcasts that can help in your quest to learn the Irish language.


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