Irish is one of the six Gaelic languages, and all of them can be hard to learn. But don’t let that discourage you. Although tricky, Irish Gaelic (the first language of Ireland) is a beautiful and poetic language. And if your beloved has Irish roots or a love of Ireland, knowing how to say I love you in Irish is sure to impress.
“Irish Gaelic is a beautiful and poetic language”
Before learning how to say I love you in Irish, understanding the structure of this language and how it is different from English can be helpful.
The tricky thing about languages is that a word’s meaning has nuance. English relies on context and tone of voice. For example, you can say I love ice cream, I love my grandma, and I love you, and people understand what kind of love you mean from the context.
In Irish, the rules are a little bit different. And, if you translate word by word, the meaning might not make sense, or it can also end up meaning something different than what you intend to say.
‘Grá’ is the Irish word for love
In Irish, depending on the context, spellings of words also change. Therefore, very often, you will see different spellings of the same word. For example, the word for love is ‘grá,’ and in some contexts, it is spelled ‘ghrá.’
Google translate might seem like a good place to start, but if you want to mean what you say, our quick guide is a better way to find the right words to express your love in Irish.
5 Ways to Say ‘I Love You’ in Irish Gaelic
So how can you say ‘I love you’ in Irish? As we mentioned previously, translating word by word is not the best way to go about expressing your love. Learning a few phrases is a much easier and more effective way than translating them.
Learning how to pronounce ‘I love you’ in Irish can take some work. Many letters are silent in Irish, and their pronunciation can be changed by the letters next to them. But don’t worry, we’ve also included pronunciations after each phrase.
- Is tú mo ghrá (pronounced Is too moh graw) – This translates as ‘you are my love’ Word for word, it is ‘are you my love,’ but it is not a question. Irish puts the verb first in the sentence.
- Tá grá agam duit (pronounced taw graw agum dweet) – The exact meaning of this phrase is ‘I have love for you.’ Gra is the Irish word for love.
- Tá mo chroí istigh ionat (pronounced taw moh kree ish-tig un-at) – This very romantic phrase literally means ‘my heart is in you’.
- Is tú mo chuisle (pronounced is too moh coosh-lah) – Another anatomical phrase, this means ‘you are my pulse’. Fans of the film ‘Million Dollar Baby’ might remember the phrase ‘mo chuisle’ from the movie.
- Táim i ngrá leat (pronounced tame ee n-graw leat. Leat rhymes with eat) – This one means ‘I am in love with you.’
If you are learning Irish, you will probably come across some other expressions first: Is maith liom, meaning ‘I like’, and is fearr liom, meaning ‘I prefer.’ Both are a bit lukewarm for romance! Google will suggest ‘Is brea liom tú’, which is more suited for discussing your favorite food or a friend’s new haircut.
Irish Language Terms of Endearment for Your Partner
What terms of endearment do Irish speakers use for their partners? Here too, simply looking up words in a dictionary might not work well.
The Irish language has different terms of endearment for children and friends that aren’t used for romantic partners.
Mo stór means ‘my treasure,’ but it is used mostly for children by their parents. Another commonly used endorsement is Mo pheata, which literally translates into ‘my pet.’ It is a very broad term of endearment that can be used for children.
Another confusing thing is that you can use two different terms for the word ‘my’ in Irish. Mo is the most simple and clear. You can use it in any context, for example: ‘she is my love’ or ‘my love.’ Both expressions would take ‘mo’ for ‘my.’
Another option is the word ‘a’. This is used when you are addressing someone. Here are a few romantic terms to whisper to the one you love.
- Mo ghrá (moh graw) – my love
- Mo chroí (moh kree)– my heart
- Mo anam cara (moh anum cair-ah) – my soulmate
- Mo fhíorghrá (moh hear-graw) – my true love
Another Beautiful Way to Say I Love You in Irish
Love transcends words. Gestures such as hugging someone, buying a gift, or helping them with a task also communicate how we feel.
Knowing your beloved is key to picking the right gesture. For example, if your sweetheart has an interest in Ireland, an Irish gift is a perfect way to show that you see them and care about their interests.
A gift of Irish jewelry can be a wonderful and creative way to say ‘I love you’ because the designs are so meaningful. From the Claddagh that represents love, friendship, and loyalty to the Trinity Knot that symbolizes eternal love, the choices are truly beautiful.
Which is your favorite way to tell your beloved how you feel? What do you think of these Irish phrases? Will you try them? Tell us in the comments.