Do you want to learn how to say Merry Christmas in Irish Gaelic?
When it comes to Christmas, Ireland goes all out. There is a lot going on during the holiday season, including family get-togethers, parties, and gift-giving. As the holiday cheer spreads, so do the good wishes on the phones and in Christmas cards.
You’ll hear a lot of English-language Christmas greetings in Ireland. However, if you are in the Emerald Isle for the holidays, knowing how to say “Merry Christmas” in Irish Gaelic may prove useful if you want to send holiday greetings to Irish family and friends.
In addition to the traditional Irish greetings, several Christmas customs are still observed in Ireland. Mistletoe is hung around the house in Ireland to ward off bad spirits. The practice of exchanging kisses under the mistletoe is another part of the holiday celebration. It’s said to keep the couple together for a long time.
An important element of Irish culture and history revolves around the celebration of Christmas. However, for guests, there is nothing better than being able to communicate one’s holiday wishes in the beautiful Irish Gaelic language.
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How To Say Merry Christmas In Irish Gaelic
1. Nollaig shona dhuit! – Happy Christmas!/Merry Christmas!
This is the standard Christmas greeting in Irish, pronounced as something like /Null-eg hunna with/. This Irish greeting is used only when wishing one person a merry Christmas in Gaelic.
When you’re buying Christmas cards in Ireland, you will most likely see “Nollaig Shona” often. This Irish Gaelic expression for Merry Christmas translates to “Merry Christmas to you,” rather than simply “Merry Christmas.”
2. Nollaig shona dhaoibh! – Happy Christmas! (To more than one person)
This is how you say Merry Christmas in Irish Gaelic when addressing more than one person. This greeting is pronounced as /Null-eg hunna gheev/.
Single-person “you” (dhuit) is distinct from multiple-person “you” (dhaoibh) in the Irish language. When using this and the greeting above, you have to be careful to avoid any misunderstandings or awkward situations.
You may use this in a card or letter for family members, as well as social media posts and messages to your followers or a group chat.
Just like in the singular “Merry Christmas” in Irish, Nollaig Shona Daoibh also translates to “Merry Christmas to you” but is addressed to a group of people.
3. How to respond if someone says Merry Christmas to you in Irish
There are different responses that you may give when someone wishes you a Happy Christmas in Irish (Nollaig Shona Dhuit):
- Gurab Amhlaidh Duit/Daoibh – The same to you
Unless you’re Grinch or Krampus, this is your standard response when someone sends you their best wishes for the holidays. As a general rule, it means “the same to you,” and the pronunciation is guh-rub ow-lig jeev/jeev.
Gurab Amhlaidh Duit/Daoibh is how you express your wishes for a happy holiday season to family and friends, as well.
A variation of this expression is Go mba hé duit, pronounced as Gom ah hey ditch.
- Nollaig Mhaith Chugat – a Good Christmas to you.
This is the standard way to respond when someone says Nollaig Shona Dhuit. Nollaig Mhaith Chugat is pronounced as Null-eg Mah HU-gut.
- Nollaig Shona Dhuit! – Merry Christmas to you
Of course, you may also just echo the greeting and simply say ‘Merry Christmas to you’ back.
4. Other useful Christmas Expressions in Irish Gaelic
- Crann Nollag (Crann Null-eg) – Christmas Tree
- Oíche Nollag (Each-ha Null-eg) – Christmas Eve
- Lá Nollag / Lá Nollag Mór (Loh Null-eg Mor) – Christmas Day
- Cárta Nollag (Kar-tah Null-eg) – Christmas Card
- Daidí na Nollag (Dahi-dee Null-eg) – Father Christmas
- Go mbeirimid beo ag an am seo arís (guh meh-rim-eed be-o egg un am shuh ar-eesh) – May we all be alive at this time next year . This is the traditional Christmas toast in Irish Gaelic.
Hi, I’m Christine – a full-time traveler and career woman. Although I’m from the Philippines, my location independent career took me to over 40 countries for the past 8 years. I also lived in 3 continents – from the Caribbean, South East Asia to Africa. But despite living in several countries, my love for Ireland remains the same. A country that had been a part of my life since I was 14 because of my love for Irish music and bands. Ireland Travel Guides was born because of this passion and hopefully, in some little ways, this website will be able to help you on your next trip to Ireland.