Irish Language Blog

Bia le Beoir (Aguisín): One More Irish Phrase for a Beer-friendly Snack Food, Cuid / Part 2A of 2 Posted by on Mar 26, 2017 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

In our most recent blogpost (nasc thíos), we looked at Irish phrases for fried pork rinds aka cracklings and/or scratchings, good pub munchies, whatever you call them.  And we also went through the variations of the word “muiceoil” (pork) so you can now fill in the correct way to complete the following phrase (freagra thíos):

craiceann  __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __  friochta (from the previous blog)

That one’s to complement the fuller list of other beer-friendly snack food in the post before that (nasc thíos freisin)

And here are a couple more that may be new but hopefully predictable (an dá fhreagra seo thíos freisin)

pióg  __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ (pork pie)

gríscín  __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __  (pork chop)

Perhaps by now you’ve had some opportunity to apply some of those tidbits of information in your recent pub sessions in a ciorcal comhrá, or perhaps, while “chewing the fat,” (as they say).  So now let’s look at “meat” (feoil) as a general term and then at a few more types that are based on the word “feoil.”  There are, of course, some that aren’t based on “feoil,” such as bagún, liamhás, sicín, and turcaí, not to mention buabhall and others, but as with so many areas of vocabulary, sin ábhar blag eile.

Eventually we’ll work our way back to the blogpost on drinks, month by month, that started all this (nasc thíos), and do Cuid a Dó in that series.

Here’s “feoil“:

an fheoil (remember: the “fh” is silent), the meat

feola, of meat; sampla: ag ithe feola, lit. at eating (of) meat

na feola, of the meat

And this one does have a plural form, although I doubt that it’s used very often:

feolta, meats; na feolta, the meats; feolta, of meats; na bhfeolta, of the meats

And now for the other compounds; the five reasonably common ones are in this post and a few remaining ones will be in a second part to this “aguisín“:


A)) caoireoil, mutton (caora, sheep + feoil, meat)

an chaoireoil, the mutton

caoireola, of mutton (but not for “leg o’ mutton sleeves” which are “bolgmhuinchillí,” lit. stomach/bulge sleeves)

na caoireola, of the mutton

Not that “caoireoil” is very popular in the US, and I’m not sure about Canada, but it is (was?) the traditional ingredient for Irish Stew.


B)) Next up is circeoil, chicken, (cearc, hen + feoil, meat); this is specifically for the meat of the chicken; “sicín” can be used for either the animal or the meat.  We have the phrase “ceapaire sicín,” mar shampla, although, come to think of it, that could mean a sandwich owned by a chicken, should such a situation ever occur.

an chirceoil, the chicken

circeola, of chicken

na circeola, of the chicken

C)) “Beef” is an interesting compound in Irish: mairteoil, from “mart,” carcass of a heifer or bullock or a heifer/bullock fattened for slaughter.  Some sources indicate a plural for this word, others don’t, but I’ll list it anyway.  Probably you’ll end up using it about as often as you use the word “beeves” in English, which I mostly associate with 19th-century writing.  One representative example of “beeves” in English that I found is in Chronicles of Border Warfare by Alexander Scott Withers (1895): “The provisions and ammunition, transported on packhorses, and the beeves in droves, arrived soon after.”  By the way, that’s not the English-Scottish Border but northwestern Virginia, in frontier days.

Here are the details:

an mhairteoil, the beef (Cá bhfuil an mhairteoil?, as Clara Peller queried in the infamous 1984 Wendy’s ad!)

mairteola, of beef

na mairteola, of the beef

The plural forms are based on the plural of “feoil“:

mairteolta, beeves

na mairteolta, the beeves

mairteolta, of beeves (same form as the first example)

na mairteolta, of the beeves (same form and spelling as the second example)

As for “mairteolta,” I found one (1 — count ’em!) Google hit online, not much; it’s at: and concerns An Binse Fiosrúcháin um Thionscal Próiseáil na Mairteolta 1994.  Just for a lark (not for an ortolan, though!), I also checked “mairtfheolta,” (the old spelling), no hits.

Beef on the hoof by the way, is “eallach beo,” lit. live cattle


D)) Next, we have laofheoil, and I’m getting increasingly squeamish (“éisealach“) here — na laonna bochta!

laofheoil, the veal, lit. “calf meat” (lao, calf + feoil, meat)

laofheola, of veal

na laofheola, of the veal


E)) And finally, for our basic five, there’s “uaineoil” (lamb):

an uaineoil, the lamb (uan, lamb + feoil, meat)

uaineola, of lamb

na huaineola, of the lamb

Sometimes when we might expect “uaineola,” Irish has a different construction, such as “uaineoil i gcruth róis,” which means “___________ of lamb” (freagra thíos, this time checking out your culinary communicative competence in English.  And, lo and behold, “uaineoil” isn’t in the tuiseal ginideach in that phrase.

Well, that’s cúig shórt feola, and we’re  holding the venison and a few additional meat words till the next blogpost (Cuid 2B), since we’re already running out of space.  Somehow the chorus of “King Henry,” the ballad sung by Steeleye Span on their Below the Salt album, keeps running through my mind here (“More meat, more meat”) but the context there is definitely grislier, and maybe gristlier also, given that the “ghost” eats up all the skin and bones of all the meat, leaving only the hide and hair.  Recognize the song?

Pé scéal é, maidir leis an ngrianghraf thuas, the more I looked at online pictures of meat, the less appealing they looked.  And a picture of an “uan beag gleoite” and a picture of lamb chops seemed even more disturbing.  With the photo of the cheetah (síota) eating a small piece of meat, we can just say it’s another aspect of nature — an biashlabhra!

So, just a few more types of meat to go, for the upcoming aguisín to this aguisín, which will be blagmhír 2B.  SGF — Róislín


Today’s blagmhír is an aguisín to the following: Bia le Beoir (Aguisín): One More Irish Phrase for a Beer-friendly Snack Food, Cuid / Part 1 Posted by on Mar 23, 2017 in Irish Language, which itself is an aguisín to Bia le Beoir: Some Irish Words for Good Snack Foods to Eat with Beer Posted by on Mar 20, 2017 in Irish Language.  And that one was a follow-up to Cén fhéile? Cén deoch? (An Irish Language Guide to Beverages and When to Drink Them) Part / Cuid 1 Posted by on Mar 7, 2017 in Irish Language

Freagraí: craiceann muiceola friochta, pióg mhuiceola, gríscín muiceola, rosette of lamb

PS: The Irish for “gristle,” in case you never needed that before is “loingeán.”

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