Guide to Irish terms and names in The Awakening

Instead of a glossary in the back of The Awakening, I thought it would be helpful to have a list of definitions for the Irish you see in The Awakening along with a link to hear the pronunciations. They are listed in order of appearance in the book so it’s easy to follow along.

Click on the word itself to get the pronunciation link. When there are choices in dialect, go with Connacht.

Very special thanks go to the Macmillan Audio team for coming up with the list as they prepared for recording The Awakening. Any and all errors are mine.

Talamh –  earth, ground, land
Taoiseach – chief, leader
Cosantoir – defender, protector
Clann – family
Misneach – Courage, spirit  
Sláinte! – health  
Mo stór – my treasure 
Ogham – early Irish alphabet 
Bodhrán – traditional Irish drum  
Fáilte – welcome 
Déithe – gods  
libh – you  
Sidhe -fairy 
Dobhar-chú – King Otter
Cróga – brave 
Lasair – blaze
Mo dheartháir – my brother
Athame – blade
Lough – lake 
Fírinne – truth 
Finnguala – fair of shoulders
Lir – sea
Tuatha Dé Danann – tribe of the gods 
Taoisigh – chief/leader  
Ceilidh – a gathering with folk music and singing, traditional dancing, and storytelling  
Mo bandia – my goddess 
Mo chroi – my love, my darling  
Samhain – end of the harvest season

And here’s how to pronounce some names – which are also in order of appearance.

Aisling –
Tarryn –
Mairghread –
O’Ceallaigh –
Siobhan –
Eian –
Lonrach –
Keisha –
Finola –
Kavan –
Mac an Ghaill –
Igraine – 
Odran –
Mahon –
Aoife –
Shana –
Mina –
Yseult –
Deaglan –
Bria –
Mac Aodha –
Ultan –
Devlin –
Beryl –
Largus –
Minga –
Og –
Aidan –
Ywain –
Birgit –

40 thoughts on “Guide to Irish terms and names in The Awakening”

  1. Thank you, Laura! Actually, I’ve wanted this type of thing more than once when reading Roarke saying endearments to Eve!

    I clicked on the “mo chroi”; the 3rd guy’s pronunciation WOW! I think I’ll let him talk to me whenever!

    1. Well, put together. Just a tiny thing. It’s not called Gaelic. Gaelic is an umbrella term for more than one language. In Ireland, we call it Irish or Gaeilge. Happy reading!

        1. I’m really behind and just read this. Can you confirm whether this trilogy is just about Breen’s discovery and journey?

          Loved it by the way! Only you can transport me back to Ireland and I can see myself back there again!

      1. Good explanation, Laura!
        I’ve always thought of Gaelic as Scots & Irish for the Irish version. Probably something to do with all those Highland Heroes romances I’ve read over all the decades! 😉

      2. Thank you for saying this. Yes. It’s Irish, not Gaelic. Many prefer not to hear the term Irish as they would prefer we were all ‘British.’. The English taught Americans (or brought it with them to America) that Gaelic is the correct term. It’s not. Just like we are not part of the British Isles. We exist. So does our nationality and the name of the language as used by the government and our schools.

        1. It might seem a little thing. But with our culture already fading, It matters.

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I was killing the pronunciation of these name and phrases.

  3. Fantastic! Thank you so much!!!

    And, oh, happy news for a change…reading about the wedding was so much fun! Have not seen a lot of that in this world since March…so special thank yous!!

    Be well!!

  4. This is wonderful! Thank you!! I have wanted/wondered about these in previous books so this will be a great asset when I ‘get’ to read the book upon ‘receiving’ it at Christmas! 😊

    1. Thank you for all your hard work to gift us these books. I’m enjoying rereading many of your previous books and having an in Death reread I alternate haha. Unequivocally my favourite author for so many years I’m sure you get these sort of messages a lot, but I hope you really understand how you have added to people’s lives. Everything is just a little bit shinier and happier with a Nora Roberts book. 💓

      Will get the latest book soon as soon as I finish my rereads x much love to you and your family from Birmingham, England.

      And thank you Laura!

    2. We refer to it as Irish or Gaeilge. Talamhish…I have never in my life heard it called that. 🤷‍♀️

  5. Not, Gaelic, Laura—Irish (or Talamhish). Gaelic is a much broader term. Just FYI—I’d fix, but don’t know how!!

    This won’t post, but will probably post twice now.

    1. In fact Talamhish isn’t a true Irish word. It’s a sort of Irish/English mix that could be loosely translated to Earthy 🤷‍♀️

      1. I’m aware Talamhish isn’t an Irish word, and it wasn’t meant to be as Talamh isn’t a real place. It’s a fictional word connected to Ireland by a portal—which is, as far as I know, fantasy.

        I used Irish phrases because they’re easy for the reader (and me) to Google for meaning and pronunciation—and I really didn’t see the need to create a new language.

        I’m also aware Talamh means Earth in Irish—that’s why I chose it. I actually give this sort of thing considerable thought. And Talamhish is what, in this fictional word, I call their language.

        You wouldn’t have heard of it before because….I made it up. That’s what I do!

        1. Oh! Yeah, that would make sense. It was the way you phrased it. I thought you were saying they were both words for the language.

  6. Thank you, thank you!

    I have found myself sitting with my phone or tablet at my side whenever reading Nora’s books so that I can check Irish pronunciations. This is fantastic…great to have it all in one place! 🙂

  7. I appreciate this because I wasn’t sure if I was saying them correctly in head. I’m still not sure on Breen.

    1. I was married to an Irishman for over forty-seven years but unfortunately, he did not speak Irish! It sounds like such a beautiful language.
      We have a community radio station with an Irishman who does a music programme every Wednesday and he always introduces it in Irish first, then English. It has a lilt all its own.
      Thankyou so much for your wonderful stories. I have just finished reading the first book of The Awakening and loved it.
      Kathy Farrell

  8. Thank you so much for this Laura. I wondered about “craic”? It is like a gathering or party.

  9. Don’t forget for surnames in Irish, for instance, the surname O’Brien has both male and female forms – male Ó’Briain whereas female is Ni Bhriain. However this can change depending on where you live in Ireland and whether you use old Irish or modern. Even in a country as small as Ireland between the four provinces there are loads of different spellings etc. Well we’ve always been a contrary race! Loved the book, looking forward to the next.

  10. When I reread for the second time this will be great! However, have already finished for the first time! I will say that my dream vacation would be Ireland, unfortunately I don’t think I’ll ever make it but that’s okay, because Bremen took me with her and I saw this beautiful country those her eyes. Part one of the book was simply….wonderful. Not to say I didn’t love the entire book. I did! The ending was exactly what I would have wanted for Breen as well. A great surprise ending!!!!! I will now wait patiently for the wonderful creative mind of Nora to continue Breen’s journey.

  11. Wow, thank you for all the pronunciations! Not knowing before didn’t stop my reading and enjoying the book, but this will definitely enhance my next time through. Btw, what a last page!!!

  12. Ha! I went right to the back of the book to see if there was a guide like the Circle Trilogy and had to quickly flip away when I realized that I was going to spoil it for myself! I had google in one hand and the book in the other so I could look up pronunciations. Lol

  13. Appreciate this list it will stay in the book for rereading thank you love your trilogy series.

  14. Thank you! As an international reader (I’m from Mexico) I always wondered on the pronunciation of certain words. For example, I recently found out that Dr. Mira from the In Death series is pronounced Meera and not Myra. I will have to read The Awakening again but now with my list of words in hand.

  15. This is a fantastic resource! Thank you. I am constantly stopping and googling for the correct pronunciation. Although Audible has helped with that quite a bit. This is a very useful and fun tool. I’ve always known I have some Irish in my lineage, but I’ve recently discovered through DNA that I’m almost completely Irish and English with Irish being the dominant. Can’t help but think that’s why I’ve always felt connected to Ireland.

    I was given my first NR book as a gift in 1999 “Rivers End” which is also set in my local area and made it even funner to read.

    I’ve been a loyal fan ever since. I must have 150 + of Nora’s books. I have a dedicated book case just for NR and JD Robb books.

    Her books bring absolute joy to my life.

  16. Thanks – have been to Ireland 4 times and still have to stop and think what and how!!!!

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