Síscéal Nua Eabhrac
Though it is MUCH better to listen to Fred and Ger singing the song and imitating them, these approximations of pronunciations may help some people who want to learn more of the language.
BTW If you are a complete beginner and want to learn a simple way to read and speak the Irish language, please explore: https://ancroiait.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/learn-irish-lesson-1/
Here’s how I arranged each line of the song in four parts
Line 1: Correct Irish
Line 2: Approximate sound
Line 3. Word for word translation
Line 4. Translation
Note: Something to learn from this line
Before you begin, please note: ch is a gentle short gargling sound unless it’s written as tch below.
G and C are always hard sounds (never j or s)
ó is o as in only
B’í Oíche Nollag í is mé caochta óltach.
Bee eehu nulig ee is may cuayuchtu óltoch
Was it Night of-Chistmas it and I blind drunk
It was Christmas Eve and I blind drunk.
Note: Ba + í ► B’í = It was. Is í = It is. Chirsitmas is feminine so literally it is She is. Is í / Ba í is the form used for definitions, not for descriptions. The it (í) is repeated. Is í Máire í = She is Máire í.
Dúirt seanfhear in aice liom, “‘Sí mo Nollaig dheireanach í.”
Doo-irt shan-ar in aku lum shee mu nulig yerinoch ee
Said old man in side with me Is it my Christmas last it
An old man next to me said, ‘It’s my last Christmas.’
Note: Most adjectives come after the noun. teach mór, House big, Crann ard, Tree high etc. so Last Christmas ► Christmas last (Nollaig dheireanach) but seanfhear old man becomes one word and has the adjective in front.
Thosaigh sé ag gabháil fhoinn an ‘Rare Old Mountain Dew.’
husee shay eg guwawl in on ‘Rare Old Mountain Dew.’
Started he to go a tune the ‘Rare Old Mountain Dew.’
He started to sing a tune ‘The Rare Old Mountain Dew’
Note: The usual verb to sing is casadh or canadh but gabháil fhoinn is chosen here. It is more informal and it is similar to saying He went with a tune instead of He sang a song
Chrom mé mo cheann go ciúin is mé ag cuimhniú ortsa.
Chrum may mu chyon gu kyoon is may eg kuivnoo urtsu
Bent I my head to quiet and I at thinking on you
I softly bent my head down and I thinking about you.
Note: Ort means On you. Ortsa mean On YOU (it’s emphatic). In English in this context it’s About you.
Nach orm a bhí an t-ádh! Tháinig sí isteach go breá.
Noch urm a vee on taw Hawnig shee istoch gu bra
Isn’t it on me that was the luck! Came she in to fine.
Wasn’t I the lucky one! She came in well.
Note: ádh (aw) = luck. mór = big. ádh mór ort (luck big on you) = the best of luck to you. ☺
Airím istigh i mo chroí gur linne an bhliain seo romhainn.
areem istih i mu chree gur linye on vleen shoh róin
Feel I inside in my heart that is with us the year this before us
I feel inside my heart this coming year is ours.
Note: Airím = I feel. The letter m at the end indicates the I . Mothaím also means I feel. Options ☺
Ó, Nollaig Shona dhuit. Is tú mo stóirín.
Oh Nulig huna ghit Is too mu stóreen
Oh Christmas Happy to you. Is you my little treasure.
Oh Happy Christmas. You are my treasure.
Note: Stór and Stóirín are terms of endearment like love, darling, sweetheart etc. Stór means a store (like a store of treasures). The ín at the end means little. It’s also a way of indicating something is cute and very like …ito in Spanish. Nóra becomes Little Nóra when it’s written as Nóirín (Noreen).
Feabhsóidh rudaí fós. Amach romhainn atá sé.
Fwowsóee rudee fós. Umoch róin utaw shay
Improve-will things yet. Out before us that it is
Things will get better yet. It’s out there ahead of us.
Note: The óidh (óee) ending at the end of the Feabhsóidh is the Will part. Recognize the future 😉
Is gar le bear iad na cairr is na habhainn lán le h-ór.
Is gor le bar eed na cawir is na howin lawn le hór
Is close with bar they the cars and the rivers full with gold
The cars are like bars and the rivers full of gold.
Note: ‘an’ is the definite article (the). There is no indefinite article (a) in Irish. The plural of an is na.
Ach tá goimh ghéar sa ngaoth. Ní haon áit í gan ghlór.
Och taw giv yayr sa ngee Nee hayh awt ee gon ghlór
But is sting sharp in the wind. Is not any place it without noise.
But there’s a sharp sting in the wind. It’s nowhere without noise.
Note: Is means is for definitions. Tá (taw) means is for descriptions.
Nuair a thóg tú mo lámh ar ár gcéad Nollaig riamh,
Noor a hóg too mu lawv er awr gayd Nulig reev
When that took you my hand on our first Christmas ever.
When you took my hand on our first Christmas ever.
Note: Céad (cayd) means first. ár before it puts r and c together and the sound comes out a g so it’s written gcéad
Gheall tú dom Broadway a bheith romham ins an tslí.
Yal too dum Broadway a veh róm ins an tlee
Promised you to me Broadway that to be before me in the way.
You promised me Broadway was out there for me.
Note: Geall (gyal) = promise. by putting a h in as the second letter you put it in the past tense. This also changes the sound from Gyal ► Yal.
Bhí tú dathúil. Tá tú meabhrach. Banríon Nua Eabhrach.
Vee too dohool. Taw too myowroch. bonreen Nooa Owroch
Was you handsome. You are smart. Queen [of] New York
You were handsome. You were clever. Queen of New York City.
Note: Dath means color. dathúil (literally colorful) means attractive or beautiful.
Ní raibh críoch leis an scléip. Bhí an chraic is spraoi thar barr.
Nee raw creech lesh on shclayp. Vee on chrac is spree hor bawr
Not was end with the fun. Was the fun and fun over top.
There was no end to the pleasure. The fun and games were outstanding.
Note: There are lots of words for fun in Irish. That tells you something about the culture ☺ We even gave the word spraoi to English as Spree
‘Sinatra’ ag swingeáil. Na cloig is iad ag ‘ringeáil,
Sinatra eg swingawl Na clig is eed eg ringawl
Sinatra at swinging The bells and they at ringing
Sinatra was swinging, the bells were ringing.
Note: ag + …áil = …ing (One way to do this). Ag tógáil = taking Ag bácáil = baking
Muid ag pógadh is ag damhnsa gan imní faoin saol.
Mwid eg pógu is eg dowsu gon imnee fween sayul
We at kissing and at dancing without worry under the life
We kissing and dancing without a care in the world.
Note: Another way to do …ing is Ag + …adh Ag pógadh = kissing Ag múineadh = teaching
Is An Cór an NYPD is iad ag casadh ‘Galway Bay,’
Is on cór on NYPD is eed eg cosa ‘Galway Bay,’
And the choir [of] the NYPD and they singing ‘Galway Bay,’
And the NYPD choir and they singing ‘Galway Bay,’
Note: Ways to say Singing ♫ ag gabháil, ag casadh, ag canadh ♫
Is na cloig ag bualadh leo: Lá breith’ Mac Dé.
Is na clig eg boola ló: law breh moc day
And the bells at hitting with them: Day [of] birth son of-God
And the bells ringing away: The son of God’s birthday.
Note: Lá breithe or more commonly Breithlá means Birthday. Happy Birthday To You is Breithlá Shona Duit ☺
Fear déirce gan rath, a shean stróinse gan mhaith,
Far dayrcu gon rah a han strónshu gon woh
Man [of] begging without a blessing, You old pauper without good
You worthless begger, you no-good old pauper,
Note: The a here is like Oh you when addressing someone directly.
I do chrap ansin thall mar ‘bheadh cailleach sa gclúid.
i du chrop onshin hol mohr vaych calyoch sa glooid
In you shriveled state there over there like [it] would be a hag in the corner
Shriveled up over there like a hag in the corner.
Note: mar ‘bheadh is a contraction of mar a bheadh
A Sclíteach, a Chonúis, ‘Chacsmuitín an donais.
a shleetoch, a chunooish, chocsmiteen on dunish
You scumbag, you trash, [you] gobshite the of-badness.
You scumbag, you trash, you gobshite of badness.
Note: Donas is badness Donais is of-badness
Nollaig Shona, mo thóin! Faraoir gan é ‘thart.
Nulig huna mu hoon fureer gon ay hart
Christmas Happy my butt Shame without it [to be] over
Happy Christmas my arse! Shame it’s not over.
Note: The word that is missing before thart is bheith (ve) meaning to be
Bhí saol breá romhamsa. Nach breá an scéal agat é!
Vee sayl bra rómsa Noch bra on shcayl ogut ay
Was life fine before me. Wasn’t fine the story at you it
I had a good life ahead of me. Isn’t that a fine story you have!
Note: To say someone has something you have you need to say something is at someone. Tá scéal agat literally means It is a story at you. Really it means you have a story.
Sciob tú mo bhrionglóid uaim an chéad uair a chas mé ort.
shyub too mu vringlód wem on chayd oor a chos may urt
Snatched you my dream from me the first time that met I on you
You snatched my dreams away from me the first time I met you.
Note: uaim means from me. The m at the end indicates me. ort means on you. The t at the end indicates you.
Tá siad agam i gconaí, a stór, i dtaisce i mo chroí.
Taw sheed ogum i gónee a stór i dashke i mu chree
Is they at me in always oh you treasure, in storage in my heart
I have them always, love, stored away within my heart.
Note: A chroí, a stór, a stóirín, a ghrá… are all terms of endearment
Ná fág mé anois, a mhnaoi. Is tú bun is barr mo shaolsa.
Naw fawg may unish , a vnee. Is too bun is bawr mu sheelu
Don’t leave me now, oh you woman. Is you bottom and top [of] my life
Don’t leave me now, woman. You’re everything in life to me.
Note: Déan é means Do it. Ná déan é means Don’t do it.
If you are happy with all this and want to explore the things you learned from each line a little deeper, go to https://ancroiait.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/109-lessons-from-wake-me-up-as-gaeilge/
If you want to start at the beginning learning how to read Irish words and some basic phrases try: