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.


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.


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.


  • “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.


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 Dú, under the conditions of the CC BY-NC 4.0 licence.

An Próca Óir – The Crock of Gold

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.


Ar an dtaobh shoir don bhaile seo (Cumolán) tá cuas ar a dtugtar Cuas a Dubhghlais. Aige bun a bhóthair atá sí agus sruthán uisge a rith síos ann. Deirtear go bhfuil próca óir curtha shíos sa chuas san agus fear gorm agus claidheamh aige á ghárdaíl.

Seo mar a thárla do bheith ann d’réir na sean sgéulta:- Fadó, fadó riamh tháinig long ón Austráil ar dtír san áit sin a lorg fíoruisge. Ní ró fhada ar dtír dóibh go dtáinig an tóir ón bhfairrge ortha. Ní raibh ach an próca óir sin acu agus thugadar as an luing é agus chuireadar annsan istig i dtóin a’ chuais é agus chuireadar an fear gorm mar ghárda air. Chuireadar geasa air an t-ór a chosaint beo agus marbh do go dtiocfaidís féin á iarraidh aris. Tá sé dóigheamhail nár thánadar chun an fhir bhoicht a fhuasgailt fós, mar ar uair áirighthe nach aon oidhche cloistear mar a bheadh duine ag gearán thíos san chuas.


On the East side of this town (Cumolán) there’s a cove known as “Cove of the Black Stream”. It’s at the bottom of the road and a stream of water runs down there. It is said there there is a crock of gold put down in that Cove and a black man and his sword guarding it.

This is how its being there came about according to the old stories: – Long, long ago, a ship came to land from Australia in that place looking for fresh water. They weren’t long on land before pursuit from the sea came upon them. They only had that crock of gold and they took it from the ship and put it there in the bottom of the cove and they set the black man as the guard of it. They put binding spells upon him to guard the gold, be he dead or alive, until they themselves would come seeking it again. It is likely that they never came to release/deliver the poor man yet, because at certain times every night it is heard as though there is a person complaining down in the cove.


  • a rith is simply “ag rith” (running), however the g isn’t pronounced.
  • beo agus marbh do – be he dead or alive (interesting that agus is used instead of nó here). The use of “do” rather than “dó” is dialectical.
  • don bhaile seo – don and den are somewhat confused in Munster.


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.

aige (ag) – at (dial.)
claidheamh (claíomh) – sword (pre.)
ar dtír – on land. An example of how the article can be dropped when a word is used in a generic sense. The preposition “ar” eclipses in certain calcified expressions.
as an luing (as an long) – out of the boat. We see a dative form here. (dial.)
dóigheamhail (dóighiúil, a variant of “dóchúil”) – likely, probable (pre., dial.)
fairrge (farraige) – sea (pre.)
fhuasgailt (fhuascailt) – release (pre.)
fíoruisge (fíoruisce) – fresh water, spring water (pre.)
geasa – plural of geas (spell, taboo)
nach aon (gach aon) – every single (dial.)
ortha (orthu) – on/upon them (dial.)
próca óir – crock of gold
shíos (thíos) – down. This is normally a dialectical way of spelling thíos, but it seems to be being used here in a way you’d expect síos to be used. (dial.)
shoir (thoir) – east (dial.)

Comments and corrections are welcome!

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

Pronunciation quirks of Cléire Irish

This post is essentially a sampling of interesting pronunciation features in Cléire Irish. It is far from exhaustive. Standard Irish forms in brackets.

Lenited r

Where you could expect lenition for other letters a broad r sometimes becomes palatalised. This can be seen, for example, in “a reá” (a rá, “to say”), where the spelling is an attempt to indicate that the the initial r is slender. “do rug” is another situation where this occurs.

The past autonomous and the pronunciation of -adh

In Cléire the past autonomous form of the verb usually finishes in a /v/ sound, though it can also finish in a /g/ sound.
Do dúnamh/dúnag (dúnadh) é – It was closed.
Note, this is still normally written as “dúnadh”.
In Muskerry (Cork), it is the /g/ sound which is used, though the /v/ sound was once also present.
In Déise Irish (Waterford) you get /g/.
In West Kerry Irish you get a /x/ sound (broad ch).

You do get the g sound in “bogradh” (boglach, rainy weather), “glasradh” (vegetables or cold, damp and windy weather). However, “scanradh” is pronounced /scaurəv/ (something like “scamhramh”). In Muskerry this word is pronounced /scaurə/ (scamhra).

Medial bh and mh

-bh- and -mh- tend not to be pronounced when they appear in the middle of words, though this can affect vowel quality. Example:
tábhacht -> tácht (importance)
fómhar -> fór (Autumn)
lámhadóir -> ládóir (manual labourer)
nimhneach -> níneach (painful, poisonous)

This sort of dropping can be seen in the rest of Munster too.


This is a really interesting one. When labial sounds come together (m,b,p) you can get delenition:
“im bhéal” (“i mo bhéal”) becomes “im béal”
This is easier to pronounce because both m and b are pronounced with the lips pressed together.

th- is delenited after n and s
an ceann tuas – the one up there
thíos agus tuas – down and up
This phenomenon can also be seen in Kerry and Muskerry Irish, and perhaps beyond.


This is the inversion of two consonants and it can be widely seen in Irish. Examples:
milseáin -> mísleáin (sweets, candies) – This form is also seen in Kerry and Muskerry, though not Waterford.
tráthnóna -> tránthóna (afternoon, evening) – This form is also seen in Muskerry and Kerry, though Rinn in Waterford has /tra:xnu:nə/.

Eclipsis of s

My favourite. If an s appears in a position where a consonant would normally be eclipsed you can eclipse it in Cléire Irish. For a broad s this becomes a /z/ sound (as in the English “zoo”) and for a slender s this becomes a /z’/ sound (like a voiced sh, or French j).
i zSasana (i Sasana) – in English
ag an zséipéal (ag an séipéal) – at the chapel

This sound used to appear in East Galway Irish.* Raymond Hickey (in “The Dialects of Irish) also makes an oblique reference to /z/ in Déise (Waterford) Irish, but I can’t find any examples; it’s certainly nowhere near as widespread as in Cléire Irish, at the very least.

Pronunciation of -lt-

The cluster -lt- is pronounced as if it were lenited: -lth-.
fáilte -> fáilthe
This is found in Muskerry and Ring (Waterford) too, though not Corca Dhuibhne (West Kerry), as far as I know.

However, -lt is pronounced as -lt, if it’s the (non-historical) ending of a verbal noun:
an fhinneog a oscailt – to open the window

Comments and corrections are welcome!

“An Teanga Bheo: Gaeilge Chléire” – Breandán Ó Buachalla
“Cnuasach Chléire” – Breandán Ó Buachalla
“Gaeilge Chorca Dhuibhne” – Diarmuid Ó Sé
“The Irish of Ring, Co. Waterford” – Risteard B. Breatnach
“The Irish of West Muskerry” – Brian Ó Cuív
“The Dialects of Irish” – Raymond Hickey

*Hickey cites Ó hUiginn 1994: 559 for that.

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.”


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.


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 Dú, 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.”


  • 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.


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 Dú, under the conditions of the CC BY-NC 4.0 licence.

An Tobac Mí-Shaoghaltha

Below is my transcription and translation of the story that can be found at, 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).

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 Dú, under the conditions of the CC BY-NC 4.0 licence.