The spelling is giving me a hard time. I had several possible pronounciations for "tapadh" in my head, non of which were even close to the correct one. Does this click at some point? As a beginner it feels as if spelling and pronounciation are sometimes hardly correlated at all.
Yes. Gaelic spelling-to-sound correspondance is much more predictable than in English, which is a bombsite of unpredictability. Once you learn how to pronounce certain clusters of letters (and the same clusters pop up over and over), you can generalise those rules to just about any other word with a high degree of confidence.
Usually the pronounciation of 'agus' seems to be like 'ayus' with a y sound in the middle, but occassionally it has a hard g sound in the middle. Is this just accent variation in the different speakers, or is there a grammatical reason why it's sometimes pronounced differently?
For languages that challenge our ear it's always good to learn the spelling before learning the sound.
I: Divided the letters in to words. Place the extra letters aside.
helo agus ---------- ta - pad - h ----- l - eat --- a ----- cha -raid
We got. TA - PAD - EAT- A - CHA - RAID
tapad-h l-eat a cha-raid
helò agus tapadh leat a charaid