Mystical and mythical Irish phrase ‘the Modh Coinníollach’ explained by TikTok star

Mystical and mythical Irish phrase explained by TikTok star

A social media star has created a TikTok video explaining the classic Irish phrase the Modh Coinníollach, describing it as the ‘closest thing we have to magic in Irish’.

The saying is something most Irish people will have heard at some point growing up.

However, to people from outside Ireland it may not be something they have heard before, or certainly understand. The uncertain characteristic of the phrase and its definition make it a bit of a tricky one. Even Google has not committed to a definition for the ‘Modh Coinníollach’.

The threat or possibility of what could happen in any given circumstance, be it good or terrible.

A ‘conditional tense’ is the way Irish star Séamus Lehane uses to explain the term to his audience of TikTok fans.

The Limerick primary school teacher tells us he is taking us ‘on a journey’ to discover the meaning of the Modh Coinníollach.

His video begins with another man asking in Irish what it is, and he secretly ushers him into the room so he can reveal all.

“It’s the multitude of things that might happen depending on the circumstances.”

Lehane explains all the Modh Coinníollach is to his enchanted friend, as eerie music and futuristic lights dazzle and delight.

The scene is brilliantly created to emphasise the importance of the lesson that is being taught, reminiscent of epic scenes from Hollywood movies in which the main character has a life-changing moment of enlightenment.

The video also features a few great jokes, including one about Albert Einstein and his relationship with the Modh Coinníollach

There’s another cracker about freedom of spirit that is swiftly shot down with a very modern tech subscription reference.

Throughout the music and background compliment the mystique and mythology being played out in the dialect.

You get the impression that Lehane carefully considered every aspect of the video before he was happy to post online. It is no surprise he has more than 100,00 followers and nearly 4 million likes on TikTok.

So, there is little more to be written, take a look at Lehane’s video revealing exactly what is the Modh Coinníollach.


The Modh Coinníolach. ##irish ##gaeilge ##foryurtpage

♬ original sound – Séamus Lehane

Lehane is not the first entertainer to reference the the Modh Coinníollach. More than ten years ago Irish American comedian Des Bishop did a hilarious routine about the traditional Irish phrase.

The video quality is a little dated compared to today’s tech, but the comedy is alive and well and delivered by one Ireland’s favourite stand-ups of recent times.

Having grown up in New York until he moved to Ireland aged 14, Bishop has a rare perspective of the clash of cultures and traditions, which he has frequently used in his act for many years.

More Des Bishop videos