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Plandaí 7 naoimh

January 15, 2013

I thought I had my sleep sorted out last night but it’s (apparently) the time my brain prefers to process and plan. :-/ Anyhow, all sorts of things popped up today. I woke up at a decent hour (10 a.m.) and made my way to the local naíolann (with Síle and her grandaughter), which funny enough in the dialect of west Cork would be understood as the laundromat. They use the term naíonra. Anyhow, I got the thumbs up to come back over the next few days to visit and sing and play to the children while collecting the songs and poems they’re learning to help them learn Irish themselves. There were about ten there all under the age of five. The youngest were three. Very few of them had Irish, which is the aim of this naíonra. The teachers are local native speakers and are working to build the children’s Irish. Afterward, I went with Síle to visit her with her friend Mary and her grandson Jack. We had tea there and in general doted over the kids (granted both are extremely cute) then went on a walk.

WALKS ALWAYS YEILD SO MANY GREAT THINGS! This particular walk took us on a different route than the one a few days ago. We walked the three major arms of the roads that intersect Béal Átha ‘n Ghaorthaidh. On the first leg west out of town we came across the old road through town, which is called Casadh na Spride (roughly: trick of the fairy) and, of course, there is a story behind it. Fadó, fadó ó shin…I’ll keep it short…there was a fairy that tried to play a trick on the people of the village while the road was being put down. In short it twisted the road back on itself so anyone walking it would forever walk it. Thankfully, we humans are a tad smarter than that! Anyhow, now there’s a garden and small stream that runs through this peculiar cul-de-sac.

On the road north out of down, which follows Bun an Síleann there are low-hanging mountains called Cnoic Dhoire na Sagart (hills of oakwood of the priests). There are several placenames in the area that identify with oak trees (sacred in Ireland, you know). Síle would guess that likely during the penal era, when most Catholics couldn’t workshop openly, the priests held mass up on them. It was on this leg of the walk as well that her friend, Mary, explained the various pronunciations of /ina dhiaidh/ (after him/it). Her husband is from Co. Kerry and pronounces it /in-ah yow-ig/, Síle (a native of west Cork) pronounces it /in-ah yee-ug/ while in Conamara (my dialect) it’s pronounced /in-ah yee-uh/. Oh, the intricacies!!!

Finally, on our last leg, which took us east out of town, took us by the Ionad Chúram Leanaí (children’s center). There’s a fancy playground there but as we walked beyond it there was a garden that followed the footpath that had stones with pictures of plants and their names in Irish on them. I’ve included them below.











And now for the naoimh (saints)…there are placenames go leor in BÁG (Béal Átha ‘n Ghaorthaidh) referencing two saints in particular, Saint Fionnbarra and Saint Rónán. There’s a series of houses of which Síle’s is a part called Sraith Naomh Ronáin (St. Rónán’s row). The primary school is named after Scoil Naomh Fhionnbarra (St. Fionnbarra’s School) and the local parish is named for both. The former, St. Fionnbarra, is same fella who created Gugán Barra (see my previous post). And while Ireland is known for St. Patrick, St. Bridget and St. Columba, in west Cork St. Gobnait is queen. My bean a’ tí has a statue of her perched over the sink with candles nearly always lit in remembrance of her sister who has recently passed.



From → Teanga/Language

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