Sunday 15 January 2012

Irish Expressions

This being very much an Irish adventure, so it's an exploration into a foreign country for Dad, he's been very much enjoying getting a bit Irish along the way. This first showed up when we were engaging "Aerial Keith" to get rid of our scrap metal. His children play GAA (Gaelic Football) at a local club and the kids collect scrap to sell it to make funds for the GAA club, in his case the "Western Gaels". We were joking that we were happy to be supporting the local club and he joking warned us that GAA was actually SO locally based that the Gaels were not actually our 'local' club, because half a mile to the NE of us is a club called Eire Og (Young Ireland; sorry, you purists; I know there should be an "acute" accent (Fada, pronounced like fodder) over the O but this blog input page is not letting me use my cunning ALT-number ASCII codes, so I can't do accents! Even the "fada" should have an A-fada as its first 'a'.)

Anyway, as I was saying, the GAA is so parochial that were we to show up supporting the Gaels we would be frowned upon by our neighbours. Dad was even going to buy a smart "Castlerea GAA" sweat shirt out of loyalty to the area, but (gasp) Castlerea is EVEN FURTHER away. It's your local team (Eire Og) and then County, or nothing.

We have also been tinkering around the edges of the Irish language. All our people are Dublin city-folks and definitely English as the first language, reluctantly forced to learn Irish at school and living in horrored memories of the eponymous heroin of one of their "miserable" school books Peig, the sad life story of Peig Sayers (says Mum) and all the miserable people whom she knew, lived with and watched die. The young Silverwoods are a bit keener on Irish and Peig is long gone from school book lists. They are quite good at it. Over in Roscommon, though, we are all a bit closer to the genuine Irish speaking west of Ireland, so Mum, Sparks and co are dusting off some of their old skills and trying to use them.

The old out-building we believe is the original farm cottage is sometimes known as the Tigin Beag (Small wee house; again, Tigin beag, (pronounced Tiggeen Beyogg) should be bristling with fadas but cannot be here). It's not an easy language to learn, though, being riven with bizarre grammatical changes depending on context. The Tigin is the small house, but the word becomes "Teach" (pronounced a bit like "chock") if it is not being described as small, and if it is in a possessive form such as the "The Lady of the House", it changes again to Bean an (lady of the) Ti (house).

Can't see Dad being able to pick any of this up very soon.
Deefer Beag (or Deeferin)

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