Irish Language Blog

Animals in Irish Posted by on Jan 21, 2022 in Irish Language, Vocabulary

Dia dhaoibh!

Did you know the the Irish word for wolf is ‘mac tíre‘ which translates as ‘son of the land’? Next time you watch Game of Thrones (which was largely filmed in Ireland) and think of the wolves (or dire wolves) roaming around the Kingsroad (aka the Dark Hedges) you can reflect on why the locals decided to call these noble and powerful animals mac tíre.

Photo from Pixabay, CCO.

Related to the wolf and probably a bit closer to home for all: an madra – a dog. 

Here are some dog commands that you may want to use at home to practice your Irish with your faithful companion:

Gabh i leith! – come here

Fan! – stay

Faigh é! – fetch

Suigh! – sit down

Seas! – stand up

Luigh! – lie down

Síos leat! – get down/off

Lapa! – paw

For some more dog commands as well as a pronunciation video on the commands, check out this Bitesize Irish post.

And now some other animal vocabulary in Irish:

animal – an t ainmhí
bear – an béar
bee – an bheach
bird – an t éan
butterfy – an féileacán
cat – an cat
cockroach – an chiaróg
cow – an bhó
deer – an fa
donkey – an t asal
duck – an lacha
eagle – an t iolar
elephant – an eilifnt
fly – an chuileog
fox – an madra rua (literally: red dog)
frog – an loscann
chicken – an sicín
dog – an madra
fish – an t iasc
goat – an gabhar
goose – an ghé
hare – an giorria
hen – an chearc
horse – an capall
insect – an fheithid
lion – an leon
monkey – an moncaí
mosquito – an corrmhíol
mouse – an luch
pig – an mhuc
rabbit – an coinín
rat – an francach
rooster – an coileach
sheep – an chaora
snake – an nathair
spider – an damhán alla (literally: little wild ox)
swan – an eala
tiger – an tíogar
turtle – an turtar
wolf – an mac tíre
lamb – an t uan


If you want to learn more, check out this vocabulary list with native speaker audio and many others with Transparent Language Online. Now through the end of the month, get 30% using the code NEWYEARS30

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About the Author: Bridgette

Just your average Irish-American Italo-Francophone. Client Engagement for Transparent Language.

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