Top 10 Irish town names that no one can pronounce

Some towns in Ireland are renowned for being mispronounced. See our list of the top ten Irish town names that no one can pronounce for proof.

Growing up in Ireland, we know how words should and shouldn’t be pronounced, but it isn’t until someone perhaps asks for directions when visiting the country that we are forced to stop and think about how strange our language can sometimes be.

Many of us studied Irish in school throughout the years. Although we might not all be fluent in Irish, we certainly have a basic understanding of the proper pronunciation of things, especially weird letter combinations.

Still, it does give us a little laugh when we hear Irish place names pronounced entirely wrong. With that being said, here are the Top 10 Irish town names that no one can pronounce.

10. Tuam, Co. Galway – pronounced ‘Chew-Am’

In tenth place on our list of the top ten Irish town names that no one can pronounce is Tuam.
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Americans commonly get this one wrong by pronouncing it ‘Too-Am’ when they are only half correct. We have to admit, though, that this is a tricky one.

9. Glenbeigh, Co. Kerry – pronounced ‘Glen-Bay’

In ninth place on our list of the top ten Irish town names that no one can pronounce is Glenbeigh.
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What if we told you that the second half of this name is spoken as ‘Bay’? You would probably laugh and think we were having you on, but that is the true reality of the Irish language. It is not exactly as it seems.

8. Thurles, Co. Tipperary – pronounced ‘Thur-Less’

In eighth place on our list of the top ten Irish town names that no one can pronounce is Thurles.
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We think this one should have been relatively easy for an Irish town name that no one can pronounce. We have heard it spoken as ‘Thurls’ far too often that it is now time to set the record straight.

7. Inistioge, Co. Kilkenny – pronounced ‘Inish-Teeg’

In seventh place on our list of the top ten Irish town names that no one can pronounce is Inistioge.
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This can be tricky, and we don’t blame you for not trying to say it because people rarely get it right on a first attempt.

6. Cobh, Co. Cork – pronounced ‘Cove’

In sixth place on our list of the top ten Irish town names that no one can pronounce is Cobh.
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We wonder how often the locals have heard their town being called after corn on the cob because we can only imagine it’s been a few times.

This town is pronounced much easier than you would think.

5. Drogheda, Co. Louth – pronounced ‘Draw-Heda’

In fifth place on our list of the top ten Irish town names that no one can pronounce is Drogheda.
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This has to be one of the prominent Irish town names that no one can pronounce, and we have all heard people ask for directions to ‘Drog-Eeda’ at one point or another.

4. Graiguenamanagh, Co. Kilkenny – pronounced ‘Greg-Nah-Mah-Nah’

In fourth place on our list of the top ten Irish town names that no one can pronounce is Graiguenamanagh.
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This can be an absolute mouthful for anyone to attempt, but you’ve got it when you’ve got it.

There are many strange letter combinations within the word, which might be confusing if you don’t know how they are correctly spoken.

3. Kilmacanogue, Co. Wicklow – pronounced ‘Kil-Muh-Ca-Nog’

In third place on our list of the top ten Irish town names that no one can pronounce is Kilmacanogue.
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Many people heading towards the Wicklow mountains will bypass the signs for this town, and many will be confused about how it is pronounced, so we will tell you how.

2. Youghal, Co. Cork – pronounced ‘Yawl’

In second place on our list of the top ten Irish town names that no one can pronounce is Youghal.
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This place’s name gets everyone confused, especially foreigners and Irish people who often don’t venture down to Cork. The town has heard many mispronunciations from ‘Yogg-Al’ to ‘You-Gal’.

1. Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin – pronounced ‘Dun-Leer-Ee’

In first place on our list of the top ten Irish town names that no one can pronounce is Dun Laoghaire.
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This South Dublin town is one of the most commonly mispronounced Irish names, and we can certainly see why. Irish is a strange language, and certain letters are either silent or pronounced like other letters, which can be confusing, so we will forgive you for this one.

Yes, many Irish towns are hard to pronounce because they generally aren’t spoken the same way as they are spelt, which is the beauty of our exotic Irish language.

It may drive people crazy to be constantly confused by crazy looking road signs and place names, but it will never seize to entertain us when someone not local asks for directions to one of these places.

It is worth knowing that some letters in Irish can either be pronounced different or are silent letters.

For instance, the letters’ bh’ are generally spoken like a ‘v’ (Cobh), while the ‘gh’ is usually pronounced as a ‘y’ (Glenbeigh).

It may take a little bit of time and some trial and error, but eventually, the Irish language becomes more straightforward and correct pronunciation becomes a lot easier.

In the meantime, it is handy to start with these 10 Irish town names that no one can pronounce and go from there because, as we all know, there are undoubtedly many more where they came from.

Other notable mentions:

Due to the complexity of the Irish language there are many Irish town names that no one can pronounce.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool

Oughterad, Co. Galway: Pronounced’ ooch-ta-rad’, this traditional village is situated beside the Republic of Ireland’s largest lake and is located at the beginning of the Connemara Mountain Range.

Schull, Co. Cork: Pronounced’ skull’, this town in West Cork is a beautiful place to stay when travelling along the Wild Atlantic Way.

Portlaoise, Co. Laois: Pronounced’ port-leash’ is a busy little town in County Laois that serves nearby communities.

FAQs:

What town in Ireland has the longest name?

The town of Muckanaghederdauhaulia has the longest name in Ireland. 

What is the most visited town in Ireland?

Ireland’s capital Dublin has the most visited town in Ireland as it attracts millions of visitors every year.

How many towns and villages are there in Ireland?

According to the most recently collected data, there are approximately 49,100 cities, towns, villages and townlands in Ireland.

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