Irish Language Blog

Picnic Lá Samhraidh Posted by on Jul 10, 2009 in Irish Language

Even though “An Ceathrú” (The Fourth) is now over for this year, with all of its picnic activities, I imagine there will be many more picnicí held over the course of the summer. 


Here are some selections of bia picnice (picnic food) that are popular in my neck of the woods (and that’s an idiom I won’t attempt to translate into Irish!).  Why is “-e” added to the end of the word “picnic”?  The phrase is literally “food of picnic” and the “-e” ending serves the same function as the word “of.” 


sailéad torthaí, fruit salad


sailéad uibhe, egg salad


uibheacha cruabhruite, hardboiled eggs


uibheacha teobhlaistithe, deviled eggs


liamhás teobhlaistithe, deviled ham


ceapairí, sandwiches


deochanna boga agus líomanáid, nó b’fhéidir buidéal fíona, soft drinks and lemonade, or perhaps a bottle of wine


sicín friochta, fried chicken


mealbhacán uisce, watermelon


arbhar sa dias, corn on the cob (that’s if you’re combining a corn boil with your picnic)


Some milseoga (sweets, desserts) are traditional, but not too much of the bia beagmhaitheasa (junk food). 


On the less formal side, you might have sceanra plaisteach, cupáin pháipéir, agus naipcíní páipéir.  For some elegant tailgating, however, you might have sceanra airgid, gloiní coise gloine (lit. “stemmed glasses of glass”), agus naipcíní lín. 


And, of course, to carry all this, you would need a ciseán picnice, a picnic basket or hamper. 


Oh, yes, there’s one other ingredient, but not part of the biachlár pleanáilte (planned menu), na seangáin uileláithreacha (the ubiquitous ants).  Just one ant?  Seangán.  It’s the inserted “-i” that makes the word plural.  But seangán amháin ag láthair phicnice?  One ant at a picnic site?  Neamhdhóchúil (unlikely)!


If anyone wants to add an item to the liosta bia picnice, or even send in a favorite family recipe, I’d be happy to help you work on translating it.  And since the séasúr picnice Meiriceánach (American picnic season) lasts at least until Lá an Lucht Oibre (Labor Day, in America, that is, an chéad Luan i mí Mheán Fómhair, the first Monday in September), there’s plenty of time to supplement our virtual picnic basket.  Moltaí?  Suggestions?  Anything that would be níos traidisiúnta for an Irish picnic as opposed to an American one? Ribena, b’fhéidir, in ionad líomanáide?  For anyone curious about the absence, Ribena is almost unknown sna Stáit.  This might be because cuiríní dubha (blackcurrants) almost died out in the U.S., having been banned for commercial farming because they could trigger a type of fungas on the more highly valued crop of crainn phéine (pine trees).


Leideanna Fuaimnithe:

samhraidh [SOW-ree], of summer; ceathrú [KYAH-hroo, N.B. silent “t”], picnice [PIK-nik-yeh], phicnice [FIK-nik-yeh], torthaí [TOR-hee], cruabhruite [KROO-uh-VRITCH-eh], teobhlaistithe [TCHOH-VLASH-tih-heh]


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  1. Lew Gramer:

    Róislín, go raibh mile maith agat for your wonderful blog. I began using a phone app to learn Irish last year, before my very first trip to Éire. Recently, I discovered your blog, and decided to go all the way back to the beginning and read each one, right from the start. I have enjoyed each one so far, and I happened to particularly enjoy this one. But I realized there was one very important things missing is your picnic: a picnic blanket to lay out on the grass!

    I still have quite a few years of your blog posts to read, but I hope you continue doing this for many more years to come. Not only are the blog posts enjoyable, but I have found them a great help in my learning also!

    All the best from one of the least Irish cities in America – Miami,

    Lew Gramer

    • róislín:

      @Lew Gramer A Lew, a chara,
      Go raibh maith agat as do nóta cineálta. Tá brón orm faoin mhoille ag scríobh ar ais chugat.
      Good questions about the term “picnic blanket.” To say “of a picnic” or “of picnic,” we simply add the “-e” ending to “picnic.”
      So for “picnic blanket,” we can say “blaincéad picnice.” Similarly, “ciseán picnice” and “bord picnice.”
      Glad you’re enjoying the blog. – R

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