Irish Language Blog

Being a Gael-Mheiriceánach, Gael-Cheanadach, or Gael-Astrálach, or Any Other Nationality “as Gaeilge” Posted by on May 31, 2009 in Irish Language

We recently discussed the various ways to use the word “Gael-Mheiriceánach” to say something is “Irish-American” or “I am an Irish-American.” Let’s go global and discuss some more possibilities.


If you’re one of about 4.5 million Canadians with Irish ancestry, you could say, “Is Gael-Cheanadach mé.”  If you’re one of almost 2 million Irish-Australians, you could say, “Is Gael-Astrálach mé.”


Please keep in mind as you read this, that the main goal in today’s blog is to show how to say that one is an Irish-American, an Irish-Canadian, etc. It would take a book, or more, to thoroughly discuss Irish identity, including such terms as Gael-Mheiriceánach (Irish-American), Gael Meiriceánach or Éireannach Meiriceánach (American-Irish), náisiúnaigh Éireannacha (Irish nationals), Éireannaigh eitneacha (ethnic Irish), easaoránaigh (ex-pats), and what, if any, difference it makes if one is from an chéad ghlúin (first generation) or an tríú glúin (third generation). In fact, even the term “first generation,” regarding inimirce (immigration), is in dispute, since it can refer to either the immigrants themselves, or, more commonly in my experience, to the first generation born in the new homeland.  So the goal here is not to tell people how to self-identify themselves, but to give them the Irish vocabulary to say what they want to say about themselves. Requests welcome! Admittedly, some will give me pause to reflect, especially if I haven’t seen them used before.  Gael-Nua-Eabhracach for an Irish-New Yorker, srl.?


And here are a few more straightforward examples, i.e. unhyphenated, using some of terms from the previous places on Celtic place names and nationalities:


Is Éireannach mé. I’m an Irishman.


Is Breatnach mná í Catherine Zeta-Jones, agus ban-aisteoir iontach. Catherine Zeta-Jones is a Welshwoman and a wonderful actress.


Is Briotánach é Alan Stivell, agus cláirseoir den scoth. Alan Stivell is a Breton, and a top-notch harpist.


Ba Chornach é William Golding (1911-1993).  William Golding was a Cornishman.


Is Albanach é Seán Connery, agus sáraisteoir.  Seán Connery is a Scot and a great actor.


Is Manannach é an príomhcharachtar in The Manxman, scannán de chuid Alfred Hitchcock, ní nach ionadh. The main character in The Manxman, an Alfred Hitchcock movie, is a Manxman, not surprisingly. 


And for good measure:

Is Ceanadaigh iad Gordon Lightfoot agus Loreena McKennitt, agus sáramhránaithe. Gordon Lightfoot and Loreena McKennitt are Canadians, and great singers.


Is Astrálach í Nicole Kidman, agus ban-aisteoir iontach. Nicole Kidman is an Australian and a wonderful actress. I know, she has saoránacht dhúbáilte (dual-citizenship) and dúchas (heritage) Astrálach-Haváíoch-Mheiriceánach but that’ll be Á.B.E.


Pronunciation tips:

as Gaeilge: “in Irish.” Remember the preposition “as” has a “hard” s-sound, like “floss,” or “DOS” in computer lingo. Or like “Bossy the Cow” but not “a bossy boss,” at least in my English pronunciation. The vowel sound is “aaahh.” Although this word looks like the English “as,” it isn’t!


Chornach: when the sentence is in the past tense, the verb “is” changes to “ba” and the word Cornach changes to Chornach, meaning you have a double dose of pronouncing the Buch-Achtung-Chutzpah “ch” sound. 

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  1. kathleen:

    seems we share a few of the same tastes in music — do you know Cathie Ryan also? one of my favorites.
    and how about words about music, for the subject of another blog — or two, or three…

  2. Róislín:

    A Chaitlín, a chara,

    Go raibh maith agat arís as scríobh (for writing).
    Sin smaoineamh iontach–tuilleadh eolais ar cheol (more information on music).

    Cócaireacht agus ceol coming up after the next few blogs in line get published.

    Glad you like the musical references also. I’ve just heard a little of Cathie Ryan’s music but love what I heard.

    I checked out “do bhlag féin” (your own blog) — an-deas ar fad (very very nice). If you wanted, you could combine the words “ceol” and “bóthar” to get a frása nua for “Musicroad.” Either a unique new compound, Ceolbhóthar, literally “music road,” or more traditionally phrased, “bóthar an cheoil” (the road of the music). But perhaps you already knew that! Best – R

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