Did you know that Ireland has its Irish language? Some call it Irish Gaelic, others just Gaelic, but the Irish people call it Irish to avoid any confusion with another Celtic language, Scottish Gaelic.
However, this ancient Celtic language is both beautiful and complicated. The use of the official language of Ireland may have fallen dramatically after the many British occupations. However, it’s gaining popularity once again.
If you are planning to visit Ireland, you’re already well prepared for a drink or two in a proper Irish pub but you may also be wondering, how do you say cheers in Irish?
Well, you’re in the right place. So, let’s get going and find out how you can say cheers in Irish.
How Do You Say Cheers In Irish
There are many different ways to say cheers in Irish. However, the most commonly used phrase is Sláinte. This traditional cheers phrase means ‘health’ in English and has been used for centuries as an Irish toast over drinks with friends and family.
Even if you can’t get your tongue around any of the longer seasonal toasts, we know Irish is a tricky language to master, this Irish phrase is easy to learn, even for those a little more resistant to learning new languages.
How To Pronounce Sláinte
It is important to understand that because Irish Gaelic is an ancient Celtic language, it doesn’t work the same way many European languages work. Therefore, it can feel almost impossible to work out how these words are pronounced just by looking at them unless you understand how the Irish language works but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
Phonetically the word Sláinte is pronounced as Slawn Cha or Slawn Che. The ever so slight difference in how to pronounce this Irish toast to someone’s health will depend on where in Ireland you are. Yet, whichever way you pronounce it, the local Irish people will always appreciate your effort more than whether you get it 100% right.
What Does Sláinte Mean In Irish?
The literal translation of the word Sláinte means ‘health’. Using this Irish phrase usually means you are toasting to the health of someone. Deriving from the old Irish word Slán, which means safe or healthy in English,
Sláinte is spoken before you take that first sip of your whiskey or Guinness, although nowadays, it can be said before any kind of drink, even a glass of lemonade if you’re a non-drinker.
Nine Ways To Say Cheers In Irish
Sláinte may be Irish’s most traditional and commonly used way of saying cheers. You may hear this particular phrase many times while you are here in Ireland.
However, if you’re looking for more of a linguistic challenge, a more seasonal phrase for the holidays, or even a wedding, then keep reading to find out nine different ways you can say cheers in Irish.
#1 Sláinte na bhfear agus go maire na mná go deo
We’re starting you off in the deep end, but don’t worry, there are some easier ways to say cheers, but we love this Irish phrase. It’s great to use when a group of friends surrounds you. So, let’s break down what it actually means.
We already know what Sláinte means, ‘health’, but the rest of this phrase is equally as poignant and beautiful.
- Na = The
- Bhfear = Men
- Agus = And
- Go = That
- Mná = Women
- Deo = Forever
In English, this phrase means ‘Health to the men and may the women live forever,’ but I bet you’re wondering how to pronounce it now.
Phonetically, sláinte na bhfear agus go maire na mná go deo is pronounced as slawn-cha na var ah-gus guy mara na m-naw guy djeo. It takes a bit of practice, but using this fantastic Irish cheers phrase is worth it.
#2 Sláinte mhaith
A little simpler than our previous phase, this Irish term is very similar to just say sláinte. You may even come across this phrase being spoken in the local and traditional pubs of Ireland.
- sláinte = Health
- mhaith = Good
Directly translated, this way of saying cheers in Irish means Good Health and is pronounced slawn-cha vah.
#3 Sláinte Chugat
This way of saying cheers in Irish is a little more personal. You can use the phrase Sláinte Chugat when you raise a toast to a specific person. This Irish term can be used for a group of people if you use the word chugaibh instead of chugat.
- Sláinte = Health
- Chugat = You
- Chugaibh = You (plural)
This toast is phonetically pronounced as slawn cha hoo ut, or if you use the plural form of this phrase it is slawn cha hoo uv.
#4 Sláinte Agus Táinte
This is another simple yet impactful variation of the traditional way of saying cheers in Irish. It’s not heard as often as a simple Sláinte but it’s a lovely way to wish your Irish friends and family good health and good fortune for their future.
- Sláinte = Health
- Agus = And
- Táinte = Wealth
This popular phrase literally translates to health and wealth in English and is pronounced as slawn-cha ogg-uss tawn-cheh.
#5 Croí folláin agus gob fliuch
This phrase is a fun way of saying cheers over a few drinks. Although it’s not heard as often, unless you travel to the Gaeltacht areas of Ireland – these are the Irish-speaking areas, it’s still a great one to have in your back pocket.
- Croí = Heart
- Folláin = Healthy
- Agus = And
- Gob = Beak or Mouth
- Fliuch = Wet
This phrase loosely translates to a healthy heart and a wet mouth and means you are essentially toasting to wishes of a long life, health, and lots of drink.
The phonetic pronunciation of this way of saying cheers is Cree full-in ah-gus gob fluck.
#6 Fad saol agat, gob fliuch, agus bás in Éirinn
This particular phrase is more dedicated to someone who is moving to Ireland and starting their life there. It’s pretty lengthy but once you break it down it’s super easy to say.
- Fad = Length or Long
- Saol = Life
- Agat = You Have
- Gob = Mouth or Beak
- Fliuch = Wet
- Agus = And
- Bás = Death
- In = In
- Éirinn = Ireland
The perfect farewell over a few drinks, this toast essentially offers wishes for long life, lots of drinks, and death in Ireland. The last bit sounds a little morbid. However, it’s just a wish that you live out your long days on the emerald isle.
This phrase is pronounced as fah-d seal, gob fluck, ah-gus boss in Air-inn.
#7 Nollaig shona duit
Christmas is always a time where toasts over drinks are plentiful, so this seasonal toast will be very useful for the festive season.
- Nolliag = Christmas
- Shona = Happy
- Duit = To You
This is another Irish toast that can be used directed toward a single person or a group of many. The great thing about this phrase is that it doesn’t have to be changed if you are talking to multiple people.
This toast means Happy Christmas or Merry Christmas and is pronounced null-eg hunna gwitch.
#8 Go mbeire muid mbeo ar an am seo arís
This beautiful phrase is for the midnight bells ringing on New Year’s Eve. Essentially wishing in the new year, this phrase is the Irish equivalent of saying Happy New Year.
This phrase is a little tricky to translate directly but we can break it down into two parts.
- Go mbeire mid mbeo ar = May we live again
- An am set arís = This time next year
By using this phrase you are just saying may we be alive at this time next year, a poetic way of wishing health and prolonged life for you and your loved ones.
Phonetically this phrase is pronounced as go merr-ih-meedh mee-oh err on om shioh ah-reesh.
#9 Sliocht sleachta ar shliocht bhur sleachta
Weddings are well known for their bright and raucous toasts; an Irish wedding is no different. This wedding toast is perfect for wishing the happy couple well in their future marriage.
This particular phrase is hard to break down into translated words. However, try any google translate, and this is what you’ll get ‘excerpts of excerpts upon excerpts of your excerpts’.
Yeah, not that thoughtful and sounds pretty random but in the English translation by actual speakers, this phrase means ‘May there be a generation of children on the children of your children’.
So, essentially this phrase is you wishing for a long line of healthy generations in their family.
The phonetic pronunciation of this phrase is sluckt schlock-ta er shlucht voor schlock-ta.
I am a British-born copywriter who moved to Ireland over a decade ago and have been captivated by Irish culture, landscape and folklore. I enjoy sharing my passion for Ireland through my writing as a freelancer.