I have tried for sometime now to find the correct pronunciation of the word feileacan. From people "who know", I have been told three different ways. I can't seem to find a dictionary that contains a phonetic pronunciation of this word. I would be most grateful for any help you could provide.
I asked two native speakers from Donegal for their pronunciation of 'féileacán' (showing them a picture of a butterfly, not the word so they wouldn't change their pronunciation to fit the spelling). Both pronounced it with an 'f': roughly FAY-luh-kuhn by someone from around Gaoth Dobhair, closer to FELL-uh-kan by someone from another area, not sure which. (He repeated the word with a longer 'e'.) Séamus Ó Grianna also wrote the word with an 'f', so I correct myself.
A very fluent speaker from Cork I know has FAI-luh-kawn (FAI as in 'fie'). He hears the word with a 'p' in the Dingle Peninsula in Kerry, and was even corrected by a native speaker there.
I think that nails down an older spelling I've seen: peidhleacán. It's the new spelling (without the 'dh') that can lead to a mistake, then, and not any pronunciation of it.