How To Write Your Valentine's Day Cards 'As Gaeilge'

Can you hear that?  Ah yes ... That's the annual stampede of Irish men swarming into the towns diligently in early preparations, hoping to woo their significant others on Valentine's day next Saturday.

Ladies throughout the parishes are expecting well-thought-out gifts and love poems.  Oh, how lucky we are...Not.

When you think of 'romance', there's a reason the Irish don't spring to mind. Envisage for yourselves, dear friends: limp flowers and half-price Cadbury's Milk Trays - gifted on the fifteenth. However, not all hope is lost.

If you are an Irishman, desperate to better yourself this year, or an Irish woman wanting to show 'em how it's done, or if you are simply wanting to add a bit of Irish charm to your Valentine's day, look no further, for I am at your service.

Here are some of the typical phrases with which one could completely shock their better half:

Opening (Want to knock their socks off from the get-go? I like it.)

  • A _________, a ghrá,

                    _________, my love

  • A stóir,

                  Like a pet name, like 'dear' or 'sweetheart'

  • A ghrá,

                   Addressing your 'love', like the first, but a nameless love. Adds a bit of Irish mystery there.

  • Mo ghrá gheal,

'Geal' in Irish means 'bright', but is added to some phrases to better the noun they're adjective-ing for. So while you are technically saying 'My bright love', you really just mean 'my love who is just so awesome the Irish have to add in random positive words that seem slightly out of place JUST to show how bright you make my day'. You could even say that when translating it for them. Double aaw. Man, I'm smooth.

  • Grá mo chroí,

                   'Love of my life', though the direct translation would be 'Love of my heart'


Now you have their attention, you can either give up here and write your lovey dovey mushiness in your own language (boo), OR you could further channel your Irish roots and plough on (YAY).



  • Lá Fhéile Valintín Shona

                   Happy Valentine's Day.  Easy.

  • Is tú grá mo shaol.

                    You are the love of my life.

  • An mbeidh/An mbeadh tú i mo Valintín?

                    Will you/Would you be my Valentine?

  • Tá tú go hálainn.

                    You are wonderful/fantastic/beautiful/lovely.

  • An bpósfaidh tú mé?

Will you marry me? (They're obviously going to say yes after you went to to all that trouble of going all the way to Ireland, taking a plane, train and ferry, sourcing a very expensive translator JUST so that you could write your Valentine's card to them as Gaeilge.  Sssssh...THEY DON'T HAVE TO KNOW!)

  • Ní beidh do leitheid arís ann.

                    You are one of a kind.

  • Táim i ngrá leat.

                    I am in love with you.

  • Tá níos mó grá agam duit inniu ná mar a bhí agam inné, ach beidh níos mó agam arís duit amárach.

                    I love you more than I did yesterday, but I'll love you even more tomorrow.

  • Fanfaidh muid le chéile go deo.

                    We'll stay together forever.

You're doing a mighty job, or as we'd say here, you're sucking diesel. #TractorTerminology. You've reached the end of your card. This has been a tough journey. Go out with a bang.

Signing Off:

  • Ag seoladh grá chugat,

                    Sending you love,

  • Le grá,

                    With love,

  • Ó do ghrá gheal,

                    From your bright love, (Look how great you are)

  • Le grá an domhain,

                     With the love of the world/All the love in the world,

While everyone is not the Casanova we are all expected to be, Valentine's day can work for you, too, my dear, unaffectionate companion.

For the Awkward Ones:

  • Tá aghaidh siméadrach agat

                    You have a symmetrical face

  • Tá tú ceart go leor

                    You're okay

  • Rachainn go Gaillimh agus thiochfainn abhaile sa mbáid leat

Line from the old Irish Sean Nós song 'Bean Pháidín', wherein a fit of jealousy causes the singer to curse the name of her true love's romantic interest. For any sean nós enthusiasts among you, this is for you. This means, 'I would go to Galway and come home on the boat with you', a line sung in the recurring chorus. You should totally Google that song.

  • Bheadh cupán tae agam leat

                    I'd have a cup of tea with you

  • Níl tú ro-dhona

                    You're not too bad

  • An bheadh tú abalta níos fearr a dhéanamh?

                    Could you do better?

And that is it! You have now written your Valentine's card in Irish. When word gets out about this, you'll be swarmed next year. But don't thank me - thank Michael D.

Check out more Valentine's features at our Grá XOXO headquarters page.

Views: 6064

Tags: Gaeilge, Irish Language, Love, Valentine's Day

Comment by Fran Reddy on February 7, 2015 at 10:55am

LOL! I thoroughly enjoyed this article Meabh! Got a chuckle and a few ideas! Thanks!

Comment by Kelly O'Rourke on February 7, 2015 at 12:57pm

Tá sin an-ghreannmhar!!!!!!!

Comment by Ryan O'Rourke on February 9, 2015 at 5:37am

Nice one, Meabh!


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