Dictionary recommendation for a newbie?

Fáilte (Welcome) Forums General Discussion (Irish and English) Dictionary recommendation for a newbie?

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    Dia dhaoibh! I’m just about to start trying to learn some Gaeilge and was wondering if any of you have any recommendations for a dictionary (preferably one I could use on a mobile device and/or desktop computer). I’ve ordered “Learning Irish” by Michael Ó Siadhail and have been doing what investigation I can do on my own in the meantime. In addition to a dictionary, if anyone has any other suggestions on resources for beginners, I’m all ears. Go raibh maith agaibh!


    I recommend “Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla” by Niall Ó Dónaill if you are really serious about learning this language. You will also be needing the “English-Irish Dictionary” by De Bhaldraithe. Eventually, when you get pretty advanced, you will probably want Dineen’s dictionary also, but Ó Dónaill’s and De Bhadraithe’s dictionaries are good enough for now.

    Good Luck!


    Welcome to Ó Siadhail-land. Not the easiest place to start, but worth what persistent effort you can muster.

    I’ve been studying Gaeilge for a little over a year now and found Foclóir Póca to be a suitable dictionary for the first 9 months or so. The transliteration of every Irish word using a simplified IPA-like symbology is extremely useful when you’re starting out. You don’t get that with the more comprehensive dictionaries. The print in Foclóir Póca is tiny though, so if you can get the larger print edition, Foclóir Scoile, it might be worth it. (One source is: http://www.litriocht.com/shop/product_info.php?products_id=4454.)

    At some point it became clear that I was ready for more extensive resources and I bought Ó Dónaill.

    For a mobile electronic dictionary, I’ve heard good things about Get The Focal (http://www.getthefocal.com/).

    Good luck! You’ve taken one excellent step by joining this community.

    Séril Báicéir


    I personally like having more than one dictionary. When I’m at a computer I like to use http://www.potafocal.com and when I’m not I usually reference my pocket sized Collins dictionary or Oxford Irish Dictionary. Both get used quite a bit and the Collins one with the durable plasic cover has held up better than the paperback Oxford Irish Dictionary.

    I hope this helps!

    Good luck! 😀


    Go raibh mile maith agaibh! I really appreciate the tips and am looking forward to diving in (and to working through the problems I’ll inevitably come across 🙂 ).


    For a mobile electronic dictionary, I’ve heard good things about Get The Focal (http://www.getthefocal.com/).

    Collins is also available for mobile devices. I have both on my phone, but I tend to use the Collins more, because you don’t need the internet to get the part of speech, declension, etc.


    Hi Aislingeach, thanks for the tip regarding the Collins mobile app!



    Foclóir Póca is usually available through the Daltaí shop, although it looks like it’s not in stock at the moment.

    In addition to a dictionary, if anyone has any other suggestions on resources for beginners

    A book I’d recommend is Buntús Cainte, which you can order from Daltaí. Is maith liom Buntús, it’s a nice alternative to something heavy like Learning Irish.


    I use the Collins on my Droid (it costs 10 dollars). I use it all the time when I’m just wondering what a word is in Irish. I use potafocal when I’m on my computer and use Níall Ó Dónaill when I’m getting serious. I also just started to use one I bought in Derry at the Cúlturán several years ago. It’s called “Learners Dictionary” by G.Bannister and I use it to comb through every word in a dictionary adding to my vocab. It is a sort of cheaters way to learn how to say anything essential in conversation. Welcome to the forum. It’s great and the Daltaí volunteers are great. Make sure to check out their shop and buy a Tshirt or something to help them and show the world you’re now speaking Irish.


    On my N97 mini, the installation of Get The Focal Out Of Here (through the Ovi service) did everything (except complete the installation). I got billed 3 eur though.
    The trial version directly downloadable from the site wants 5 eur before doing anything.

    Nocia 97, gaolmhar le creachadoiri – faolchu cheana ar a bhreith.


    Good point about supporting Daltaí by purchasing products through their store. I appreciate the further recommendations (on Foclóir Póca, Buntús Cainte, Collins, et al.), and for the warning about Get The Focal Out Of Here. Go raibh maith agaibh!


    Other people may be luckier wit GTF, my problem might be related to the phone, a model I could have lived without. This is not the first software that does not produce expected results with it. For many reasons, I should have taken the 30% cheaper, larger and thinner piece without a flap mechanism – actually it had a full keyboard, larger display and all characters available in all typing modes (I can only type tha fadas into SMS on the numeric keypad) – on this sorry excuse of a smartphone, even the local ÄÖÃ… require some patience to produce.


    Get The Focal doesn’t seem to be available for the Windows Phone platform at the moment (i.e. Lumia) so I can’t try it out – bút héý, wíth thís phóné I cán týpé thé fadas!


    wíth thís phóné I cán týpé thé fadas!

    I just recently discovered how to make fadas on my phone, too! I’ve only had it for a year now! Geez….lol


    There is an offline Irish-English-Irish dictionary available for the WP platform from Meltdown for 0,99€ but the Zune service doesn’t allow billing through the operator (credit card only) and the trial version is crippled. I will look into it at a better time, at least the price isn’t prohibitive.

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