How To Pronounce ‘Erin Go Bragh’—and Why You Hear It So Much on St. Patrick’s Day

Erin Go Bragh flag for St. Patrick's Day

Erin go Bragh is one of the most common phrases heard around St. Patrick's Day each year. The greeting can be confusing for some, who may wonder, "Who the eff is Erin and why do I care where she went? Please, just bring me more green beers." Fear not! If you're baffled by "Erin go Bragh," we've got a full guide to the phrase, its meaning and how to pronounce it, so you can get back to more important things—like soda bread, leprechauns and shamrocks (not to be confused with four-leaf clovers).

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What does "Erin go Bragh" mean in Irish?

"Erin go Bragh" translates directly, for the most part, to "Ireland until the end of time," though some translations occasionally interpret the statement as "Ireland until doomsday."

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Do you say "Erin go Bragh" on St. Patrick's Day?

"Erin go Bragh" is commonly repeated on St. Patrick's Day, which is regarded as both a day to honor Ireland's patron saint as well as to honor Ireland and Irish culture as a whole.

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What do you say to "Erin go Bragh?"

To respond to "Erin go Bragh," you can either say it back or respond with something like "Cheers!" or "Happy St. Patrick's Day!" The world is your oyster here. You can also say "Sláinte," pronounced sort of like "slahn-cha." It translates loosely to "cheers" or "good health."

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What is the most commonly accepted English translation of "Erin go Bragh?"

The most modern and accepted translation of "Erin go Bragh" is "Ireland forever."

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How did it start?

The phrase "Erin go Bragh" is most commonly linked to the 1798 Irish Rebellion, in which, inspired by the French Revolution, the United Irishmen sought to unite Catholics, Protestants and Dissenters against English rule. It didn't end well for the United Irishmen—hence it being a "rebellion" and not a "revolution," and many were executed. Ever defiant, they held banners emblazoned with "Erin go Bragh" and are said to have shouted it as a rallying cry during battle.

In the United States, one of the first mentions of the phrase was during the Mexican American War. Irish-American mercenaries fought alongside Mexican and European forces against the United States, calling themselves St. Patrick's Battalion and flying the phrase on their flags.

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How do you pronounce "Erin go Bragh?"

"Erin go" is pronounced as it's spelled, while "Bragh" is pronounced as "brah." Still stumped? Tune into the video below and hear "Erin go Bragh" in its Irish and Americanized pronunciations.

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