Lenition, known as séimhiú in Irish, is a particular feature of the language. It generally makes speaking easier and more natural (which in itself is an indication of when to apply it), but it comes at the cost of grammatical complexity.

Séimhiú is indicated with a letter h after the first consonant of certain words, usually nouns and adjectives. In the default state of the word the h is not present (this is the version you will find in a dictionary); rather it can be inserted as a result of what comes before it in a sentence. In most cases, one does know when to place this h. However it does happen that even experts have doubts in some cases.

The following document (in Irish) is available on-line, and it gives a brief outline of when and when not séimhiú should take place. If you need to read this document, your Irish is probably good enough to understand it.

LibreOffice - The Choice for Irish

We recommend it to anyone who is writing in Irish do download and use the free computer application called LibreOffice. This is an excellent wordprocessor that hosts a spellchecker and thesaurus, for example. One can make PDFs from documents easily as well.

In LibreOffice, it is possible to open MS Word documents, make changes, and save again as a MS Word document, if required.

An Foclóir Beag (Dictionary)

An Foclóir Beag, the Irish/Irish dictionay, is available on line. It offers more than the print version; for example, one can see verbs and adjectives in all their forms.


If you are looking for information, including translations, related to a word, you might not need to look any further than potafocal.com. This site uses many different resources to present to the user many different aspects related to the word. It even contains straight links to well-known sites such as focal.ie. It is well worth a visit.