Dia daoibh! Hello, y’all! Due to a snafu, last issue’s column was omitted. It can be read on the internet at http://www.scoilgaeilge.org/t_na_t/Bealtaine2003.htm. I wanted to have a Summertime column in this issue.
Here’s a little vocabulary for you. Samhradh - summer (or summer garland). Amha and abha are the dipthong ow in Irish. –adh is the same sound as a (oo in some dialects). So this word is pronounced ‘sow-ruh.’ Remember Samhain (November)? Other words like this are abhann (river), leabhar (book, pronounced lyow-er), gabha (smith – any MacGowan’s out there?), ramhar (fat), gabhar (goat), gamhain (calf, young cow – pr. gow-in), gamhna (calves, of a calf, of calves).
Maybe you’ve heard the famous song “Thugamar Féin an Samhradh Linn.” The chorus is:
Samhradh, samhradh, bainne na ngamhna, (summer, summer, milk of the calves)
Thugamar féin an samhradh linn, (we ourselves brought the summer(garland) with us)
Samhradh buí na nóinín gléigeal, (yellow summer of the brilliant daisies)
Thugamar féin an samhradh linn. (we ourselves brought the summer(garland) with us)
lots of other words (and versions) which are easily found on the internet and
in song books, if you are interested.
An Irish proverb says “Bíonn dhá insint ar scéal agus dhá leagan
déag ar amhrán,” which means “there are (always) two tellings to every story,
and a dozen versions of a song.”
Irish place names are very interesting, and many are not hard to understand. If you travel in Ireland, for real or in your imagination, you will want to know some key words. ‘Béal’ (like bail in English) means ‘mouth,’ but in place names it means harbor. ‘Gleann’ is ‘glen.’ ‘Átha’ (aah –a) means ‘of a ford’ (‘áth’ is ford). ‘Dún’ means ‘fort.’ ‘Baile’ is ‘town’ or ‘home.’ ‘Gall’ is ‘foreigner.’ ‘Corca’ means ‘race’ or ‘people.’ ‘Inis’ (pronounced ‘inish’) is ‘Island’ (leith-inis is a peninsula – a half island!).
So, Dún na nGall (Donegal) – fort of the foreigners. Baile Átha Cliath – the town of the ford of the hurdles. Dún Laoghaire – fort of (King) Laoghaire. Gleann Colm Cille (pronounced ‘glon collum kill-a) – the glen of (Saint) Columba (dove of the churchyard). Corca Dhuibhne – the people of Duibhne. Inis Mór (Inishmore) – big island. Inis Meáin – middle island. Inis Oírr (Inisheer) is probably related to Oirthear or thoir, words for East. I live on Inis Fada – Long Island!
They all mean something! Sometimes names are tribal, or so old that the Irish is different now, but often these simple words will get you at least a piece of it. So now when someone refers to the ‘Island of Inisheer,’ you can smile to yourself at the redundancy.
Tá an samhradh ann, agus is dóigh liom go bhfuil mórán daoine ar saoire, ar feadh cúpla seachtaine, ar aon nós.
Well, it’s Summer, and I guess that many people are on vacation, for a few weeks, at least.
Bain sult as (enjoy it – to one person)! Bainigí sult as (to more than one)!
Is dóigh liom go bhfuil a fhios agat go bhfuil an Jeanie Johnston ar turas feadh chósta thoir na tíre. Macasamhail chruinn de long ó aimsir an Ghorta Mhóir is ea í. Bhí sí ar turas ar feadh Éireann cheana féin. Rinneadh an fíor-long I gCeanada, agus an ceann seo in Éirinn. Má tá seans agat, tabhair cuairt uirthi.
Seachas mórán longa eile, d’éirigh sé go maith le paisinéirí na Jeanie Johnston. Tháinig na mílte daoine uirthi sa dhrochshaol. Is maith dúinn machnamh ar ár sinsir féin, agus ar na mílte nár éirigh leo teitheadh ón nGorta, ón mbás. Daoine cróga, croí-bhriste iad a tháinig go tír nua, go dtí an tOilleán Úr seo. Cad a cheapfaidís faoin nglúin seo?