Meet the Author

Audrey Nickel is an Irish speaker, teacher, and singer who shares her home in the Santa Cruz Mountains of Northern California with her long-suffering husband (who is gradually picking up Irish in sheer self-defense!), a miniature poodle (who only responds to commands in Irish), two twenty-somethings (who have no interest at all in Irish, but are lovely people nonetheless), four harps, and about 40 tin whistles.

Audrey’s journey with the Irish language began when she worked as a volunteer in the Folklife Festival at Expo ’74 in her hometown of Spokane, Washington. She fell head-over-heels in love with the Irish traditional music that she heard all around her, as well as with American folk music, much of which draws heavily from Irish and Scottish sources. That passion for the music quickly became a passion for all things Irish: history, folklore, literature, and, of course, language.

Learning sources for Irish were rather thin on the ground in Eastern Washington in the 1970s, but with the internet came a world of opportunities. Audrey began studying Irish seriously in 2004, and never misses an opportunity to speak, sing, or listen to it!

In addition to being “The Geeky Gaeilgeoir,” Audrey is the author of “The Irish Gaelic Tattoo Handbook,” which was published in May, 2017, by Bradan Press, Nova Scotia, Canada. For more information on “The Irish Gaelic Tattoo Handbook,” including how to order a copy of your own (or for a friend!), please visit its page at Bradan Press:

Please note that Audrey does not do personal translations, either via this website or via email. If you’re interested in a translation, please seek out a professional translator, if possible. If that is not possible, please visit The Irish Language Forum ( and post your query on the main forum (“An Fóram Mór”).

37 thoughts on “Meet the Author”

  1. Hi,

    I’m writing a series of stories about a psudo-scotish monarch who’s taken the reign name meaning ‘Sword In Stone’ which I have translated as Clayicloch, and your point about context has me more than worried. Send the correction to ironwood dot edward at gmail dot com.

    Much thanks

    Ed Buchan.


      1. Edward, Audrey let me know about your question. I’m a Scottish Gaelic speaking blogger and author of The Scottish Gaelic Tattoo Handbook. I suggest that you check out my blog post, “How (Not) to Use Scottish Gaelic in Your Novel” ( After that, I would suggest that you consult a professional Scottish Gaelic translator with your question. I would recommend either Alasdair MacCaluim ( or Michael Bauer ( Both have very reasonable rates and will be able to answer all your questions!


      1. You have a couple of issues there.

        1) As I said above, Irish and Scottish Gaelic are different languages. A Scottish monarch, even a pseudo-Scottish monarch, would use Scottish Gaelic. I do not speak Scottish Gaelic. Further, from what you’ve posted, it seems that you are seeking translations from some source that is giving you Irish, not Scottish Gaelic. If you’re seriously planning to write about something/someone Scottish, this is a something you’re going to need to come to terms with.
        2) “Tá an pláta ar an tábla” means “The plate is on the table.” Not sure where you got that translation, but it definitely doesn’t mean “sword in stone” in either language.
        3) You have the accent on the wrong syllable. It’s “tábla,” not “tablá”

        I suggest you do some research on professional Scottish Gaelic translators. I’ll tag some people I know and see if they can recommend any resources.


  2. Audrey, I’m so delighted to find your blogsite and this hilarious if slightly sinister post about how Even Racists Get the Blues. My Gaelic is not as good as it should be but I listen to the news on TG4 every night to keep my ear tuned. My brother is a US citizen and lives in Palo Alto. He moved there in the late ’70s to work with Atari and while he lived in SF he taught night classes in Gaelic.


    1. That’s very cool! I wonder if I know your brother…does he ever go to the Deireadh Seachtaine Gaeltachta in SF?

      TG4 is such a wonderful thing (and even better now that they have Irish subtitles available!). I’m a major Ros na Rún addict, myself.

      Glad you’re enjoying the site!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Audrey, I took a Irish speaking class from you and Mary McLaughlin along with a singing in Irish years back. Just returned from a great trip to my family homeplace in Kilrea Northern Ireland. I got to stay in Cushendun where Ardicuan is located. I stumbled across your site and ordered you tatoo book. I did get hung up on the dialect thing. I live in Scotts Valley. Is there any resources in our area to interact with beginning level Irish speakers? I appreciate your passion to keep and kindle the Irish language.


  4. Hello Audrey;
    3 weeks ago I lost my “soul mate “, love of my life, fiance of 4.5 yrs. Joseph Reed. Both of us only 40 yrs old. He was of Irish decent. He had many tattoos (mostly jailhouse) but all of Celtic or Irish origin. I have no tattoos and I read your translation of “eternal love” “Mo Shíorghrá” . I am getting a tattoo and also want “my heart connected to your heart, your soul to my soul” can you tell me if there is a translation for that phrase in Gaelic?


    1. Oh, Laura…first let me say I’m so, so sorry for your loss.

      This is so very important, I think it’s vital that you take your request to the folks at ILF ( I recommend this to pretty much everybody, but especially when it’s something this important. You have to join, but it’s free. Go “An Fóram Mór” (the main forum), and explain why you want the translation. You can also tell them that “Redwolf” sent you. That’s the best way I know of to get a very accurate, well-thought-out tattoo translation.


  5. First, sorry for any grammatical errors, I’m from Brazil so English is not my first language, not even my second, lol.
    I met Irish Gaelic and I’m so in love! Soon, if everything goes as I plan, I want to start studying it directly in Ireland. And studying alone online I obviously met the famous “A” Word.
    And I decided to tattoo it and I know, I know, but I already knew about the religious meaning of it (definitely the reason I would like to do it and not the romanticized meaning of the word, fully aware that it doesn’t mean soul mate) and I found the blog by a Twitter indication – Siobhán thanks again – while searching for the correct grammatical reference of the word (I found 3 different Anam Cara, Anamchara and Anmcharae) and you helped me a lot! Really!
    Anyway, I just wanted to leave here my thanks, so thanks for your book (looking for a Portuguese version, but I don’t think there is any, right?) And thanks for your website (I’m reading all your posts)!


    1. Hi Debora,

      First of all, your English is very good, so no apologies needed!

      I’m sorry to say that the book is only available in English, but if you ever have any questions about something you read in the book, post them here and I’ll do my best to answer them.

      Glad to hear the site has been of help!




  6. Thank you! I am contemplating a lot about buying it in English!

    And I will accept the help, if you have any questions I come running here! For sure!

    Thanks again! And who knows, next time I will make a new comment in Gaelic? 🙂


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