Hints about Munster Irish / Séadna

If you haven't read anything in the Munster dialect, some things might be confusing to you. Here are some basics that should prove helpful, as well as a few hints about the particular Irish of Peadar Ua Laoghaire.

spelling, unusual words

Like always, when looking up a word, strip off the inflection (lenition, endings...), and look for the closest thing. Use my glossary for starters. There is a short glossary in the back of the book for truly unusual spellings and words. You will need at least the Ó Dónall dictionary, and Dineen wouldn't hurt either! Dineen has an addendum at the back that sometimes is useful, too.


this can be several things. It is the past particle that precedes a past tense verb. This is missing in the official standard, except as a d apostrophe before a vowel. But it is the reason for the lenition of a past tense verb. Do cheapas = cheap mé. D'imigh sé. Sometimes it is not used (in common speech), like 'Bhíos' instead of 'do bhíos.' It can also be the relative particle, in place of 'a.' An fear do chuaigh abhaile = An fear a chuaigh abhaile.

inflected verb endings

Munster Irish uses inflected verb endings. Here is a summary of the main ones you will need to know.

present tense

you (sing)are
we are (notice the fada - different from the standard)
tá siad

past tense

do chu+as. do bhí+os.
chuaigh mé. Bhí mé.
do chua+is
you went (chuaigh tú)

future tense (and conditional)

déanfaidh mé

Here's a great page that Laura Guardi made, for Connamara Irish. The synthetic endings are pretty much the same (she gives the variants).

do dheineas

Some of the irregular verbs are not quite as irregular in this dialect! Likewise, the rule about not eclipsing between 'dentals' does not apply - eclipsis always happens. So this is easier than standard Irish!

Speaking of eclipsis, if we have a choice between eclipsing and leniting, we eclipse. In this particular Cork dialect, at least in this book, often adjectives are eclipsed if their nouns are. Not hard to read, just different.

dá mba before another conditional

I read this as 'Dá mba rud é.' It's kind of an extra, like 'should it happen' that should I finish this sentence...

What's that extra 'leis?'

'leis' is sometimes uses as 'freisin' or 'leis sin.' Kind of like 'too,' or 'along with that.'


This is the same as feicim. Curiously, this is not only more common in Munster Irish, but also in Ulster Irish.

pronunciation differences

Here's a link about this by Antony Green.