Irish Language Blog

Féile an Altaithe – Thanksgiving Posted by on Nov 24, 2021 in Culture, Irish Language

Haigh, a chairde!

Photo from Pixabay, CCO.,

We all know Thanksgiving is an American holiday and thus not celebrated in Ireland, but did you know the influence Ireland might of had on the first Thanksgiving?

Apparently in February of 1631, after a hard winter, the pilgrims were ecstatic to find that some hope and sustenance had arrived in a ship called The Lyon. Loaded with food and drink from Dublin, The Lyon revived the spirits of the settlers, they had a feast and expressed their gratitude.

Of course this is debated as to whether or not this is true, and the true origins of the first Thanksgiving are certainly mostly exaggerated and feel-good fables.

Today there is no native Irish word for Thanksgiving, but Gaeilge speakers will refer to it as: “Féile an Altaithe” (or Lá Gabhála Buíochais, Lá Buíochais) The word is inspired by the Irish verb “altaigh”, meaning to give thanks, usually to God, or from the word “buíochas“, which means thanks.

For your Thanksgiving meals tomorrow, or any day, here’s an Irish blessing for your meal:

Beannaigh sin a Thiarna
agus Beannaigh ár mbia agus deoch
ós tú a cheannaigh sin go daor
saor sin ó gach olc


Bless us oh Lord, and these thy gifts which
we are about to receive from thy bounty, through Jesus Christ
our Lord, Amen


If you happen to find yourself holidaying in Ireland this Thanksgiving or in the future… it’s possible to find restaurants that celebrate with a Thanksgiving inspired meal:

Ballymaloe House, Cork

Nestled in the countryside, Ballymaloe House is a family run restaurant rich in history that goes all the way back to the year 1440.

The Merry Ploughboy Pub, Dublin

Traditional Thanksgiving dinner and Irish entertainment from owners and musicians “the Merry Ploughboys” and their troupe of Irish dancers.


Some more “Thanksgiving” related vocabulary:

buíochas – Thanks

buíoch –  Thankful, grateful

Buíochas le Dia –  Thank God

Míle buíochas – A thousand thanks (thanks a million)

Go raibh maith agat – Thank you (may you have goodness)

Go raibh míle maith agat – Thank you very much (may you have a thousand good things)

Go méadaí Dia thú – May God make you prosper

Lá an Altaithe sona duit – Happy Thanksgiving (to one person)

Lá an Altaithe sona daoibh –  Happy Thanksgiving (to multiple people)


Lá an Altaithe sona daoibh !

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About the Author: Bridgette

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

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