With 33 million Americans claiming Irish heritage here’s a guide for all Irish Americans on giving thanks as Gaelige (in Irish)!

This Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States a commemoration of the harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrim Fathers, in 1621, and a family holiday which lends itself to gratitude for family and friends. With 33 million claiming Irish heritage in the last US census, we thought we’d help you Irish in America give thanks this Thanksgiving the Irish way with some traditional Irish expressions. 

Here are some Irish words and phrases you can use this Thanksgiving to wow those around your dinner table and give thanks for their presence. 


Let’s starts the basics. Buíochas (pronounced bwee-kus) is the noun, an acknowledgment of thanks or gratitude. 

Although this short, simple word for  “thanks” is not used as frequently as the phrase the Irish do use the phrase “míle buíochas”, meaning “many thanks”... we’re dramatic that way.

Read more: Irish blessings for you and your family this Thanksgiving

Go raibh maith agat

Pronounced gur-uv mah ah-guth, “go raibh maith agat” is the phrase the Irish use to acknowledge their thanks for something or “thank you”. For example if someone passes you a slice of cake you’d say “go raibh maith agat”.

What’s lovely about these Irish phrases is the poetry behind them. For example, “go raibh maith agat” literally means “may you have goodness.” How lovely is that a wish that the other party receive goodness in return for their kindness. 

Go raibh míle maith agat

Yet again never to miss out on a bit of drama “go raibh míle maith agat” (pronounced gur-uv mee-la mah ah-guth) literally means “May you have a thousand good things.”

In English, the Irish have often say “thanks a million”... apparently in Irish that gets downgraded!

Go méadaí Dia thú

This one is religious but still brilliantly Irish. Pronounced “gu may-dee dee-ah hu”. “Go méadaí Dia thú” literally means “may God increase you” or “may God make you prosper”. No one can argue with that sentiment. 

So this Thanksgiving when you gather with your friends and family raise a glass and give thanks in Irish. Míle buíochas!

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