Speak Irish: Féasta Foclóir

By Bob Carney

In spite of a rough start this summer, we managed to make it to quite a few of the festivals already this year. We’ve enjoyed some great music, fantastic food and drink, caught up with some old friends, and made new ones. The dogs love going to the Irish festivals and are becoming a hit at the Scottish Games (this was our second year there with our wolfhound group).

Our vocabulary and phrases this month were inspired by those outings. I hope you enjoy them.

Music is a major part of the festivals. Festival, by the way is féasta (fay-esta) or feis (fesh).

Music is ceol (ke-yole). Styles of music would be stíleanna ceoil (steel-un-a ke-yole). Traditional music is ceol traidisiúnta (ke-yole trad-ih-shoon-ta), popcheol (pop-ke-yole) is the word for pop music and ceol pobail (pub-ull) is folk music.

Many types of musical instruments are used in ceol traidisiúnta. The fiddle, fidil (fid-ill), guitar, giotár (guitar) and consertina, conasirtín (con-ser-teen) are pronounced similarly to their English equivalent but with different spelling.

A bodhrán (boe-ron) is the traditional Irish drum, but drums would be drumaí (drum-ee). Bagpipes are píb uillean (peeb ill-inn), uilleann is the word for elbow, which is used to pump air into the bag and produces the sound.

Bosca (bus-ka) is the word for box, so bosca ceoil (bus-ka ke-yole) music box is an accordian. Feadóg stain (fa-dough-g ston) is  a tin whistle. You might hear all of these instruments being played at a seisiún ceoil (se-shoon ke-yole) or a music session.

In the “Sean nós” (shan nos) style of singing the song, amhrán (ow-ron) is performed by the singer, without musical accompaniment.

Bia agus Deoch
Nothing sparks memories like the taste or aroma of certain foods, even if those foods are not always the best for us! I eat all kinds of food, in Irish you would say, Ithim gach cineál bia (ih-im gach kih-nol).

Tá tart orm (taw tart or-um) I’m hungry. Tá ocras orm (taw  oh-kruss or-um) I’m thirsty. These translate more like there is hunger on me, or there is thirst on me. To ask someone if they are hungry or thirsty you would say, An bhfuil tart ort? (ahn will tart ort) or An bhfuil ocras ort?(ahn willoh-kruss ort). To respond we use the positive or negative form of the verb that was used to pose the question, in this case, that would be the verb tá (taw) for yes, níl (neel) for no.

(bee-uh) food
Arán  (a-rawn) bread                                          Torthaí (tor-hee) fruits
Práta (praw-ta)  potato                                       Úlla (oo-la) apples
Iasc (ee-usk) fish                                                 Peitseoga (pet-soga) peaches
Briosca (brish-ka) cookie or biscuit                  Oráistí (orash-ta) oranges
Feoil (fee-oil) meat                                              Glasraí (gloss-ree) vegetables
Sicín (shikeen) chicken                                       Trátaí (traw-tee) tomatoes
Im (im) butter                                                        Píseanna (peesh-in-a) peas Cabáiste (kabash-ta)
cabbage                             Piobair (pib-er) peppers

(jawhk) drink
Uisce (ish-ka) water                                             Uisce beatha (ish-ka ba-ha) whiskey (water of life)
Beoir (byohr) beer                                                Fíon (fee-on) wine
Tae (tay) tea                                                           Caife (kah-fay) coffee
Bainne (bahn-yeh) milk                                        Caife Éireannach (kah-fay ayrin-nach) Irish coffee
Sóide (sowdja) soda

Phrases in Irish
Cad ba mhaith leat? (kahd ba wah lyat) What would you like?
Ba mhaith liom… (bah wah lum) I would like…
Pionta Guinness le do thoil. (pyunta Guinness lay duh hull) A pint of Guinness please.
Go mo leithscéal (guh muh lesh-shkale) Excuse me.
B’fhearr liom… (bar lyum) I’d prefer…
Caife le do thoil. (kah-fay lay duh hull) Coffee please.
Caife le bainne, le do thoil. (kah-fay lay bahn yeh lay duh hull) Coffee with milk please.
Céard é seo? (kyard ay shoh) What is this?
An bhfuil sé go deas? (un will shay guh jess) Is this good?
Dhá bheoir, le do thoil. (gaw vyore lay duh hull) Two beers please.
Tá sé seo ar fheabhas. (taw shay shoh ar uwwass) This is excellent.
Go raibh míle maith agat! (gorra meela mah ah-gut) Many thanks!
Ar mhaith leat rud éigin a ithe? (ar wah lyat rud ay-gin ah ih-ha) Would you like something to eat?
Nior mhaith, go raibh maith agat. (neer wah guh rah mah ah-gut) No, thank you.
Níos deanaí, le do thoil. (neesh dee-ah-nee lay duh hull) Later, please
Ach, ba mhaith liom rud éigin a ól. (ahk ba wah lum rud ay-gin ah ole) But I would like something to drink.
Ceart go leor. Cad ba mhaith leat? (kyart guh lore. Kahd ba wah layt) OK. What would you like?
Níl fhios agam. Fíon… ní hea, beoir. (fee-on nee ha byore) I don’t know. Wine… no beer.
Míse leis, ba mhaith liom beoir. (meesha lesh ba wah lum byore) Me too. I would like beer.
Go mo leithscéal, ghá phiont, le do thoil. (guh muh lesh-shkale, gaw fyunt lay duh hull) Excuse me, two pints please.

(kuhl-toor) Culture
There is so much to experience at any ethnic festival, history, dance, language, food and music. All of these things play such a big part in who we are. By attending other festivals we see how much we are the same. There is still time this summer, get out there and enjoy!

Slán go Foill agus Sláinte Mhór!

*Bob Carney is a student of Irish language and history and teaches the Speak Irish Cleveland class held every Tuesday at PJ McIntyre’s. He is also active in the Irish Wolfhound and Irish dogs organizations in and around Cleveland. Wife Mary, hounds Rían, Aisling and Draoi and terrier Doolin keep the house jumping. He can be reached at [email protected]

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