Go dté mar atá tú? How to make sense of Ulster Irish

That said, there are differences between Ulster Irish and the rest. In Donegal, they say “go dté” (Go dté mar atá tú?). But, bear in mind, a competent Irish reader can understand most of Scots Gallic in written form. They say “druid an doras” instead of “dún an doras” for “close the door”. The form of Irish spoken in Ulster these days is essentially Donegal Irish, nuanced by the local, predominantly Belfast accent. It’s a different proposition when Ulster Irish is spoken, becoming as understandable to some ears as Swahili. In Connacht they say “cén chaoi”(“Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú?”). Take the different forms for the simple phrase, “How are you?”

In Munster they use “conas” (“Conas atá tú?”). In written form, there is not that much difference between it and the Irish of other Gaeltacht areas such as Connemara and west Kerry. In Ulster, the urú is ditched in favour of the séimhiú (aspiration). They say “ar an bhóthar” instead. Another big difference is found in the tuiseal tabharthach (dative case). When people say, for example, “on the road” in other areas, they say: “ar an mbóthar”. Instead of saying “chomh maith” for “also”, the say “fosta”. They tend to use the unusual “tchí” instead of “feiceann” for “look”. There are some words that are unique to the northern dialect. And when something is good it’s not “togha” or “go híontach” but “ar dóigh”. Instead of saying “scioptha” they say “gasta” for “fast”.