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Irish translation for a tattoo??

Hi all! I found this quote on Pinterest and, as I'm like 80% Irish by heritage (not lucky enough to be born there though, sadly) I wanted to get it as a tattoo. BUT as I am very new to the Irish lessons on here, I wanted to see if anyone here could help me out? I, first of all, would like to know if this is an accurate translation but, secondly, how to actually say this properly.

The phrase I want is "The Beauty and The Mess". The Pinterest post said it reads like this in Irish: An ailleacht agus an praiseach".

Any help at all would be greatly appreciated! :-)

Thanks friends!

July 14, 2015



Which sense of “beauty” are you after? The quality (e.g. “comeliness”), a person who exhibits the quality (e.g. “belle”), or a thing that exhibits the quality (e.g. “gem” or “peach”)? Which sense of “mess” are you after?

Note that praiseach has more than one meaning — “mess” is one of them.

Since you’re planning on a tattoo, make sure that the spellings are accurate; e.g., áilleacht with an initial á, and an phraiseach (lenited because praiseach is feminine).

Will you be using a Gaelic typeface? If so, then lenition would be done with a dot above the lenited letter rather than an extra H, e.g. An áilleaċt agus an ṗraiseaċ.

EDIT: Curiously enough, someone wanted this same tattoo back in 2004.


Hi there,

As far as beauty i think it's more or less the quality.

I would love to use a gaelic typeface so I would have to use the dot....

Do you think you can spell out the pronunciation of this phonetically for me so I know how to say it?

Thank you for your help!


Áilleacht is fine for the quality; maise would also work. Scéimh (or sciamh) primarily refers to physical beauty.

The pronunciation could vary by dialect; for example, áilleacht in the three major dialects can be heard here, and praiseach here (its lenited form would begin with an F sound rather than a P sound).


Also, since praiseach has more than one meaning, would there be a better word for "mess" to use?

Thanks again!


It depends upon which sense of “mess” you mean.


scilling's excellent breakdown of this issue is why I advise people not to get tattoos in Irish unless/until they themselves are fluent enough to decide for themselves exactly what phrase they are searching for i nGaeilge. Direct translations between Irish and English can be very slippery, and the more abstract the concept or the more involved the phrase, the more slippery they can become, assuming one wants one's tattoo to be correct, anyway! My own mother ignored my advice and now has an Irish tattoo that, while a Gaeilgeoir could get the gist of it, doesn't mean quite what she intended, and the fadas are not correctly positioned.

I suppose it depends on how much any particular person cares whether their tattoo is correct or not; some people don't mind, and that's their prerogative. But if you do care about having your tattoo say exactly what you intend, when it comes to Irish, it's worth getting to grips with the language before you ink it.

Best of luck, whatever you decide. :)


I would also advise you to wait until you have a better understanding of Irish before getting a tattoo in that language inked permanently onto your body. Why not start of with a Celtic design, some of which are absolutely fantastic. But just for the craic what about ' an ghnaoi agus an ghráin.


ya that seems right, I like it. :)

Phonetically - on awylu[soft ch sound]t ogus on prasho[soft ch]

the o sounds are as in the English word 'on', u as in 'bus'


What is the 'Beauty' and the 'Mess' that you refer to? If it is just beauty and mess in everyday situations, then 'An ailleacht agus an praiseach" should do!

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