All the Fat in the Fire and All the Beef in the Pot

Here is a transcription and translation of the story that appears here. There are some notes at the bottom. As usual, I have attempted to transcribe exactly, so any spelling errors in the original will remain. The English translation is somewhat stilted as I have tried to keep close to the Irish.

All the Fat in the Fire and All the Beef in the Pot

Do bhí buachaill aimsire ag obair i dtig a chómharsain aon uair amháin. Sé an obair a bhí ar siúbhal aige ná ag cur phrátaí. Do chuaidh sé isteach sa tig chun a phíopa a dheargadh. Nuair a chuaidh sé anonn chun na teine do chonnaic sé corcán mór ar an dteine. Do bhain sé an clúmhdach don chorcán agus cad a bheadh ann ná feóil. Do chuaidh sé amach sa pháirc arís agus dubhairt sé leis féin go mbeadh dinnéar maith aige an lá san. Tamall ‘na dhiaidh san do ghlaodhad isteach é chun a dhinnéar d’ithe.
Nuair a shuig sé chun an bhúird do chonnaic sé prátaí agus salann roimhis. Níor leig sé aonnídh air go raibh a dhinnéar ithte aige. D’eirig sé ón mbórd annsan agus dubhairt sé:
“All the fat in the fire, and all the beef in the pot agus beidh fhios (be bios) agaibh lá an fhóghmair, cé mhéid (an mór) dhon fheóil a fuair Jack.” Do chuaidh sé amach sa pháirc annsan agus do thug se mála mór síol amach leis agus chun iad a chrádh do chuir sé leath bhuicéad síol síos i ngac aon pholl. Nuair a fhás na prátaí is amhlaidh a bhí scart* mór (pnéocha) pnéacha annso is annsúd ar fuid na páirce.

Translation

A servant boy was once working in his neighbour’s house. The work he was doing was planting potatoes. He went into the house to light his pipe. When he went over to the fire he saw a big pot on the fire. He took the covering off the pot and what was [would be] there was meat. He went out into the field again and he said to himself that he’d have a good dinner that day. A while after that he was called in to eat his dinner.
When he sat at the table he saw potatoes and salt before him. He didn’t let on that he had eaten his dinner. He rose from the table then and said:
All the fat in the fire, and all the beef in the pot and ye will know on the harvest day how much of the meat Jack got.” He went out into the field then and he took a big bag of seeds out with him and in order to sow them he put a half bucket of seeds down in every single hole. When the potatoes grew the fact is that there was a big portion* of roots here and there all over the field.

Notes

ag cur phrátaí – planting potatoes. Lenition is usually found after the progressive in Cléire. In Muskerry it is at least found in common phrases (ag fáil bháis, ag baint fhéir, etc.).
ar fuid (ar fud) – all over.
chun iad a chrádh – to torture them? I don’t think so. I wonder if perhaps “chun iad a churtha” (“in order to sow them”) is meant. In Cléire, in constructions with a pronoun and “chun” (pronounced and often written “chuin”), the verbal noun is usually (though not invariably) put in the genitive (which often corresponds to the verbal adjective in form). For example: “chuin é a cheannaithe” instead of “chun é a cheannach”. I wonder if perhaps then “chun iad a churtha” in rapid speech could be rendered as “chun iad a chrádh”. If not, then I am at a loss as to the meaning of this.
deargadh – verbal noun of “deargaim” (I redden, I light). Used when lighting things.
d’ithe (a ithe) – to eat. Munster Irish often using “do” as a particle here (which was the traditional form).
gac (gach) – every. This is a spelling mistake. It should be “gach” (pronounced “geach” /g´ax/ in Cléire).
glaodhad (glaodhadh) – A typo, this should be “glaodhadh” meaning, roughly, “was called”; however, it is an autonomous form where the actor isn’t specified, rather than truly being a passive.
is amhlaidh – is is placed at the beginning of a sentence (followed by the relative form) in order to emphasise the following verb. I rendered it here as “the fact is…”, but it could be stated as something like “it is thus…”
pnéocha/pnéacha (fréamhacha) – roots.
*scart – I am not sure what this means. It may be connected to scar, scair or scairt. Perhaps something like “a great portion/layer of roots”, if a form of variant of “scair”.
síol (síolta?) – This appears to be a genitive plural (“of seeds”). The Standard Irish genitive plural form would be síolta.

Comments and corrections are welcome!

I make use of this source with thanks to Dúchas.ie, under the conditions of the CC BY-NC 4.0 licence.

An Tinneas Fiacla – The Toothache

Here is a transcription and translation of the story that appears here. There are some comments at the bottom, along with a vocabulary. As usual, I have attempted to transcribe exactly, so any spelling errors in the original will remain.

Sgéul.

Do bhí ministéar ann aon uair amháin agus do bhí sé marbh le tinneas fiacla. Do bhuail fear uime ar an mbóthar agus d’iarraidh an ministéar don fhear an raibh aon leigheas aige do thinneas fiacla. Acht sé dubhairt an fear leis, “Suidh annsan go fóil agus tabhairfidh me urra na fiacla duit.”

“Séid at fhiacal agus pianta nimhe innte, agus na fágaidh an pian seo do fhiacal coidhche.

Story.

There was a minister once and he was racked with toothache. He met a man on the road and he asked the man if he had any cure for toothache. But what the man said was, “sit there for a bit and I’ll give tooth strength to you.”

“Blow at your tooth when there are awful pains in it, and won’t this pain leave your tooth forever.”

Notes

  • The verb “buailim” is used with the preposition “um” to mean “meet”. It can also be used with the preposition “le” in this sense.
  • We have “d’iarraidh” used here instead of “d’fhiafraigh”. Normally in Irish forms of the verb “iarraim” (with the preposition “ar”) are used to make demands/requests of people and forms of “fiafraím” (with the preposition “de”) are used to make inquiries. What we are seeing here seems to be a blending of the two, as you’d expect “d’iarr” rather than “d’iarraidh” for the past tense of “iarraim” and “d’fhiafraigh” for the past tense of “fiafraím”. We find “do” rather than “de” as the two prepositions are somewhat confused.
  • The “na” in “na fágfaidh” should probably be “ná”, which is used instead of “nach” outside of copular constructions (where “nách” is used).
  • “an pian” should probably be “an phian” since this word is feminine, unless this differs in Cléire.

Foclóirín

As usual, (pre.) indicates a pre-reform spelling and (dial.) a dialectical spelling or variant and I have enclosed the modern “Standard Irish” equivalent in brackets.

acht (ach) – but (dial. now, but also pre.)
annsan (ansin) – there. The modern dialectical spelling is “ansan”. (pre., dial.)
at (a do) – at your (“ag do” becomes “at” before a vowel or f) (dial.)
choidhche (choíche) – ever/never, when used with the future tense (pre.)
do bhí (bhí) – was/were. Munster Irish often still prefixes the old past particle “do” to verbs. It is this particle which causes the lenition of the past tense and it is still visible in Standard Irish before vowels and f (d’ith, etc.). (dial.)
dubhairt (dúirt) – said (pre.)
fiacal (fiacail) – tooth. This spelling is also used in Músgraí/Muskerry, but there the word is masculine whilst here it is feminine, as in the Standard. (dial.)
fóil (fóill) – in “go fóil”, yet, still (pre.)
innte (inti) – in it/her. (pre.)
leigheas – cure
suidh (suigh) sit (pre.)
tinneas – sickness
urra – strength

Comments and corrections are welcome!

I make use of this source with thanks to Dúchas.ie, under the conditions of the CC BY-NC 4.0 licence.

An Tuille – The Flood

Here is a transcription and translation of the story that appears here. There are some comments at the bottom, along with a vocabulary. As usual, I have attempted to transcribe exactly, so any spelling errors in the original will remain.

Sgeul.

Do bhí beirt fhear ó Chléire sa Sciobairín fadó agus bhí fear ón ndúthaig amuich, a’ caint leo, istig i siopa. Le bád a chuadar ann, agus ars duine d’fhearaibh Cléire le na chomráda, “Is gearr go mbeidh tuille ann”. Do bhí fear na Dúthaighe ag eisteacht leis. “Cad é sin agat dá rádh?” ars fear na dúthaighe, “Dar ndóigh níl aon tuille indiu ann, na aon deallramh báistidhe”. Ars fear Cléire ‘á fhreagairt, “Da mbeadhfá-sa agam-sa i nGasconán (an súnta idir Inis Arcain agus Cléire) anáirde, do neósfainn-se duit, cathain a thiocfadh lá tuille gan baisteach.

Story.

There were two men from Cléire in Skibbereen long ago and there was a local man, talking to them, inside in a shop. By boat they had come, and one of the Cléire men said to his comrade, “It won’t be long before there’s a flood”. The local man was listening to him. “What are you saying?” said the local man, “Of course there’s no flood today, nor any look of rain”. Said the Cléire man in response, “If I had you with me in Gasconán (the cleft between Sherkin Island and Cléire) up high [from the waves], I’d tell you when a day of flood would come without rain.

Notes:

  • “ón ndúthaig amuich” (ón ndúiche amuigh) – I believe “amuich” (outside, outer) being used to give the sense that this man is an “outlander” from the perspective of the islanders.

Foclóirín:

As usual, (pre.) indicates a pre-reform spelling and (dial.) a dialectical spelling or variant and I have enclosed the modern “Standard Irish” equivalent in brackets.

anáirde (in airde) – up high, up in the air (pre. variant)
amuich (amuigh) – outside, outer (pre. variant)
deallramh (dealramh) – appearance (pre.)
indiu (inniu) – today (this word is pronounced “inniubh” in Munster and is often written as such, but indiu is spelling in Classical Irish) (pre.)
is gearr go – it won’t be long before
neosfainn (d’inseoinn) – I would tell (dial.)
tuille (tuile) – flood (dial.)

Comments and corrections are welcome!

I make use of this source with thanks to Dúchas.ie, under the conditions of the CC BY-NC 4.0 licence.

Sgeul an Fhile – The Poet’s Tale

A short one here for ye and it has our first bit of verse. I’ve transcribed it from here. As usual I have left it unchanged, so any errors in the original remain. Translation and vocabulary below.

Sgeul an Fhile

Do ghaibh file isteach go tig feirmeóra sa droch-shaoghal agus d’iarr sé ar bhean a’tighe, a bhí ag crúdh na mbó sa macha iostas na hoidhche uirthi: “Tabharfad agus fáilte” ar sise, “ach dein rann.” “Seo,” ar seisean: “Chím dhá chruach dúbha den mhóin; Dhá chapall córach, dhá choin, dhá phreachán níos duibhe nán gual, Dhá mnaoí, Dhá bhuaraig agus dhá bhoin.”

The Poet’s Tale

A poet went into a farmer’s house during the Famine and he asked of the woman of the house, who was milking the cows in the cattle-field, for lodgings for the night: “I will give you lodgings and welcome” said she, “but compose a verse.” “Here,” said he: “I see two black piles of turf; two shapely horses, two hounds, two crows blacker than the coal, two women, two spancels and two cows.”

Comments:

I have made no attempt to maintain the verse in the translation, as it is purely illustrative.

This piece contains several examples of the dual number. Traditionally, Irish had not only a singular and a plural, but also a “dual”, for two things. The form of the dual is identical to the dative singular.
dhá bhuaraig – 2 spancels. Nominative singular is “buarach”. The expected dual would be “bhuaraigh”, but the spelling used represents the pronunciation.
dhá choin – 2 hounds. The nominative singular is “cú”.
dhá mnaoí (mnaoi) – 2 women. Nom. sing. is “bean”. I would expect lenition here (mhnaoí). The use of “dhá” with nouns describing people is less common than “beirt”, but certainly acceptable.
dhá bhoin – 2 cows.
preachán – crow. This should be préachán, I believe.

Foclóirín:

As usual (dial.) represents dialectical spelling and (pre.) signifies pre-spelling reform spellings.
buarach – spancel
chím (feicim) – I see. The old independent form is still used in Cork. The dependent form is “ficim”. The unlenited “cím” is used as the independent form in Waterford and Kerry. (dial.)
córach – shapely, pleasant
cruach – pile
droch-shaoghal (drochshaol) – The Great Famine (lit. “The Bad Life”) (pre.)
gual – coal
iostas na hoidhche (na hoiché) – lodgings for the night (pre.)
macha – cattle-field
rann – verse, stanza

Comments and corrections are welcome!

I make use of this source with thanks to Dúchas.ie, under the conditions of the CC BY-NC 4.0 licence.

Scéul Bráthair Fith-innis – The Story of Brother Fith-innis

Here is a transcription and translation of the story that appears here. There are some comments at the bottom, along with a vocabulary. I have not changed anything from the original in the transcription, so any potential spelling errors will remain.

Scéul Bráthair Fith-innis.

Do bhí beirt bhan na gcómhnuidhe treasna’n bhóthar ón a chéile sa t-sean-shaoghal. Bhí duine aca chómh bocht dealbh agus d’fhéudfadh saoí a bheith agus bhí an saoghal ar a toil ag an mnaoi eile. Ní raibh aon uisce ar thalamh na mná saidhbhre agus chaitheadh saoí dul amach nach aon lá ag iarraidh uisge sa tobar a bhí ag ceann tighe na mná boichte.

Bhí lán tighe de chúram ag an mnaoi saidhbhir leis agus ní raibh aon chlann ag an mnaoi bhoicht. Ní bhíodh aon lá na go spídeadh an bhean saidhbhir an bhean bhocht síos go talamh agus go ciúis na mara. Sclábhuidhe a beadh fear na mná boichte seo. Lá dá raibh an bhean saidhbhir mar sin ag spídeadh is ag maoidheamh do gaibh bacach társa agus agus chuaidh sé isteach i dtig na mná saidhbhire. D’iarr sé déirc agus má iarr ní bhfuair sé ach an t-eiteachas tairciusneach. Tháinig sé amach agus d’iarr déirc ar an mnaoí boicht. Má iarr fuair go fáilteach agus go fial. Annsan chuaidh sé isteach ag triall ar bhean an t-saidhbhris arís agus seo mar a dubhairt:

“Eist-se a bhean an mhórtais,

As do mhór chuid ná bí teann

Ar eagla d’úrlar-sa bheith scuabhtha,

Ná úrlár na mnaoi úd thall.”

Bliadhain ó’n lá san do ghaibh sé an bóthar arís, agus ní raibh i dtig na mná saidhbhre ach croídhtín gan díon gan cómhla. Chuaidh sé isteach sa tig eile agus bhí leanbh sa chliabhán agus crut an t-sonais ar an dtig. D’iarr sé ar bhean a’tighe cad d’imtig ar muinntir a tighe eile.

“Tháinig ár orra”, ar sise. “Beul”, arsan fear, “is mise Bráthair Fith-innis, agus is le Dia an leanbh san agus caithfidh sé gabháil le teagasg an chreidimh.

The Story of Brother Fith-innis

There were two women living across the road from each other in the old days. One of them was as poor and destitute as she could be and the other one could spend her life as she pleased. There was no water on the rich woman’s land and she used to have to go out every day seeking water from the well that that was by the wall of the poor woman’s house.

The rich woman had a full house to care for too and the poor woman had no children. Not a day went by that the rich woman didn’t insult the poor woman down to ground and to the edge of the sea. The husband of this poor woman was a slave. One day when the rich woman was slandering and boasting in that manner an old beggar was passing by and went into the house of the rich woman. He asked for alms and though he asked he didn’t receive anything but a scornful refusal. He came out and he asked for charity from the poor woman. Having asked, he received it gladly and generously. Then he went in to the rich woman again and this is what he said:

“Listen, boastful woman,

don’t rely too much on your wealth,

on the fear of your floor being swept,

or the floor of the woman over yonder.”

A year from that day he came upon the road again, and the house of the rich woman was nothing but a little outhouse without a roof or door. He went into the other house and there was a baby in the crib and the household seemed happy. He asked the woman of the house what happened to the family of the other house.

“Destruction came upon them”, said she. “Well”, said the man, “I am Brother Fith-innis, and that child belongs to God and he has to go and teach religion.”

Comments:

  • Ná úrlár na mnaoi úd thall – I am not sure why it’s mnaoi (dat. sing) here instead of na mná (gen. sing.).
  • do ghaibh bacach társa – I believe “társa” should be “thársa” and we’re seeing a dialectical form of “gabh thar”, to “pass by”.
  • treasna’n bhóthar – across the road. “Treasna” (“trasna” in the C.O.) takes the genitive so I would expect “bhóthair” here.
  • D’iarr – normally this is used when making a request, rather than asking for information
  • The name Fith-innis might be something like “feith” + “inis” – “watch over” + “tell” (or even “island”) and have some relevance to the story, but I don’t know.

Foclóirín:

I have indicated dialectical spelling with (dial.) and pre-spelling reform spellings with (pre.)

a beadh (ab ea) – was/would be (pre.)
ag triail ar – lit. “trying on”. Can be used to mean “going to” a place.
ár – destruction, havoc, slaughter
ar a toil – lit. “on her will”. This is used to say someone can do something “as they please”.
beirt bhan – two women. Beirt is used for counting people and is followed by the genitive plural traditionally. Nowadays it is often followed by the nominative singular, but the genitive plural is always used in the case of “two women”.
ciúis na mara (cois na mara) – (at) the edge of the sea, beside the sea (dial.)
croídhtín (cróitín) – small outhouse (dial.)
crut (creat) – shape, appearance (dial.)
dealbh – destitute
déirc – charity, alms
díon – roof
eiteachas – refusal
imtig ar (imigh ar) – happen to. There may be an h missing after the t. (dial.)
lá dá raibh – one day/once/one time/in days gone by
maoidheamh (maíomh) – boasting, begrudging (pre.)
nach aon lá – gach aon lá (dial.)
orra – orthu – on them (dial.)
sclábhuidhe – slave, labourer (pre.)
spídeadh (spídiú) – insulting, reviling, slandering (dial.)
tairciusneach (tarcaisneach) – scornful (dial.)
tig (teach) – house. The Munster pronunciation of “tigh”, the traditional dative form of the word “teach”, which is used in the nominative in Munster. Compare Scottish Gaelic “taigh”.
treasna (trasna) – across (dial.)

Comments and corrections are welcome!

I make use of this source with thanks to Dúchas.ie, under the conditions of the CC BY-NC 4.0 licence.

Broad sé and sí in Cléire Irish

I was reading through this béaloideas story and I was struck by the use of a broad s for the third person singular subject pronoun (“saoí” rather than “sí”):

  • “d’fhéudfadh saoí” – she could
  • “do chaitheadh saoí” – she used to have to

Having a look through “An Teanga Bheo: Oileán Chléire” I discovered that in Cléire “sé” and “sí” (rendered in the book as “saé” and “suí”, respectively) are pronounced with a broad s in 2 situations:

(1) When following a verb that ends in -dh (a /x/ or “ch” sound) [Sections: 2.13 (pg. 11), 6.1.4 (pg. 48)]

E.g. “do bhíodh sé” (“he used to be”) rendered as “do bhíoch saé”

(2) In the phrases “ar sé shin” and “ar sí shin”, which are the Cléire forms of the emphatic “ar seisean” and “ar sise” (“he said”, “she said”), as far as I can tell. [Section: 6.1.4 (pg. 48)]

E.g. “‘Ní fheadar’, ar suí shin” – “‘I don’t know’, she said.”

An Tobac Mí-Shaoghaltha

Below is my transcription and translation of the story that can be found at https://www.duchas.ie/en/cbes/4798749/4795444, which is a wonderful collection of béaloideas (folklore).

There appear to be some spelling errors in the text, to which I have made no changes. There are some notes on word usage and explanations of meanings at the end of the post and I may come back and add pronunciations to that section as I learn the intricacies of this subdialect.

‘An Tobac Mí-shaoghaltha’

Tá suas le céud bliadhain ó shoin ó bhí seanduine ag baint phrátaí thuaidh annsan i nGort na nGrúch. Ní raibh tobac ana raidhseamhail ‘sna laetheannta san agus bhí cíocras i gcroidhe an t-sean duine seo i ngal.

D’réir mar a bhí an lá á chaitheamh do bhí a méadú ar a dhúil sa ghal. Sa deire do bhris ar an bhfoidhne aige agus do bhain sé de a chaipín agus d’iarr go dúrachtach ar Dhia, blúirín éigin tobac a seóladh* chuige. “Bheirim ón Riabhach!” ach an chéad fód eile a chaith sé amach ná go raibh píopa breagh istigh ann agus é lán go béul. Chrom sé agus thóg sé an píopa agus d’ól sé a dhóthain.

Nuair a bhí sé sásta do leag sé an píopa thairis sa chlais agus pé féuchaint a thug sé thar a ghualainn do bhí an píopa imtighthe* chomh imthighthe is da mba na raibh sé riamh ann.

‘The Otherworldly Tobacco’

It’s nearly 100 years ago since an old man was harvesting potatoes up to the north over there in Gort na nGrúch. Tobacco wasn’t very abundant in those days and there was a voracious hunger for a smoke in the heart of this old man.

As the day continued to pass his desire for a smoke increased. In the end, he lost his patience and he took off his cap and he implored God fervently to send him a small bit of tobacco. “Heaven help me!”, but when he had the next sod of earth taken out there was a lovely pipe inside it full to the brim. He bent down and took the pipe and he smoked his fill.

When he was satisfied he laid the pipe over the pit and when he looked over his shoulder the pipe was gone as though it had never been there at all.

Notes and Corrections:
There are some (potential) typos which are starred (*).

  1. seóladh – I believe this should be sheóladh (modern: sheoladh), unless it resists lenition for some reason in Cléire
  2. fód – I believe this should be “fhód”
  3. imtighthe – this should be “imthighthe”
  4. da mba na raibh – I believe we should have “dá” and “ná” here

I’m unsure as to the reason for the inconsistency in the spelling of seanduine (one word or two).

  • Bheirim ón Riabhach – Lit. “Take me from the Devil!” meaning something like “Heaven help me!” or “Lord save me!”. Bheirim is the old independent form of the verb tóg/tugaim.
  • “pé féuchaint a thug sé thar a ghualainn” – Lit. “Whatever look he gave over his shoulder”. This turn of phrase, though quite natural in Hiberno-English, may be a bit confusing to some readers. The sense is something like “However it so happened that…” or “However it came about that…” or “Whatever way it was done that…”.
  • “chomh imthighthe da mba na raibh sé riamh ann” – Lit. “as gone as if it were never there”
  • “do bhris” – In Munster the old particle “do” which is responsible for the lenition of the preterite is still found outside of verbs beginning with a vowel or an f (where it can still be seen, as “d'” in the Standard and other dialects).

Foclóirín:
This piece is written both dialectically and with spellings that predate the spelling reform. Where a word is dialectical I’ve noted it with (dial.) and where it is a pre-spelling reform form I have used (pre.). In both cases I give the standarised spelling immediately after the word.

ana (an-) – an intensifier. “very.” (dial.)
annsan (ansin) – there. This is normally rendered as “ansan” in Munster Irish nowadays. (dial., pre.)
bliadhain (bliain) – year (pre.)
breagh (breá) – lovely (pre.)
céud (céad) – one hundred (pre.)
chrom sé – he bent down/stooped over
cíocras – voracious hunger
croidhe (croí) – heart (pre.)
deire (deireadh) – end (dial.)
d’réir mar (de réir mar) – as (dial.)
dúrachtach (dúthrachtach) – fervent, zealous (dial.)
féuchaint (féachaint) – a look (pre.)
foidhne (foighne) – patience (pre.)
gal – a smoke of tobacco
ó shoin (ó shin) – ago. It seems we have a broad “sh” (orthographically) here in Cléire Irish. Peadar Ua Laoghaire (Muskerry Irish) also used this form at least once, but normally used the slender sh. I wonder if this form is more common in Cléire Irish. (dial.)
laethannta (laethanta) – days. The double n may be indicative of a different vowel quality in Cléire Irish. (dial.?)
lán go béul (lán go béal) – full to the brim [lit. “the mouth”]
mí-shaoghaltha (míshaolta) – otherworldly. In Cork Irish the t in -lt- clusters is lenited. (pre., dial.)
raidhseamhail (raidhsiúil) – abundant (pre.)
sgoláire (scoláire) – student (pre.)
sgéul (scéal) – story (pre.)
suas le – nearly (Lit. “up with”)

Comments and corrections are welcome!

I make use of this source with thanks to Dúchas.ie, under the conditions of the CC BY-NC 4.0 licence.