No Fada? No Botha’! How to Type a Síneadh Fada

Written by Helen de Búrca December, 2023

There are plenty of examples in Irish that show the importance of the síneadh fada. As the only diacritic found in Irish, you must be aware of a síneadh fada in a word when you’re writing in Irish. That one little line above a vowel can change the whole meaning of the word, and in some cases those words written by accident can have embarrassing meanings!

Sceptical, are we? It’s easy enough for us to prove!

Cáca makes a nice dessert, but don’t order ‘caca’ at the bakery!

People will think your clothes are full of holes if you call your bríste! ‘briste’!

Be nice to Seán – don’t call him ‘sean’ and remind him of his age!

No Fada? No Botha’! How to Type a Síneadh Fada

There are more examples out there but we’ve made our point – don’t underestimate the fada! Now, how can you type a fada? Well, depending on the device used, there are many ways to put a fada over a vowel. Here’s a guide on the various ways to type a síneadh fada on a computer and a phone.

On Windows (Europe):

Push down on the ‘Alt gr’ key and the vowel together.

For example: Alt gr + a = á

On Windows (United States):

Push down on the ‘Ctrl’ key and the apostrophe key together. Release them at the same time and then if you press any vowel it will have a fada on it.

For example: Ctrl + ‘ -> release -> + a = á

On Mac:

Depending on what version you own, push down on the ‘⌥ Option’ key or on the ‘Alt option’ key and a vowel together.

For example: ⌥ Option / Alt option + a = á

On a Tablet or Smartphone:

Push down on the vowel and hold your finger on it until a menu pops up of all the accent options. Then slide your finger over to the vowel with the síneadh fada.

For example: Press and hold your finger on ‘a’ + fan + slide over to ‘á’ + release your finger = á

We hope that this was a help to anyone confused about how to type a síneadh fada. If you have an interest in Irish accuracy, perhaps you’ll be interested in our ‘Intensive Course in Critten Irish’? This intensive course focuses primarily on grammar, style and translation. There is also an emphasis on the technological resources available in Irish.

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