Irish Language Blog

Deireadh an tSamhraidh (The End of the Summer) Posted by on Aug 21, 2010 in Uncategorized

Summer is rapidly coming to an end so this might be a good time to discuss some vacation or holiday activities that you may have participated in.  Below you’ll find a chart with some activities and typical locations where you might pursue them, some in Ireland and some in other locations around the world.  How many can you match up?  There may be some overlap in the answers, but I’ve based my list on various online sites for top locations for the activities:

 1.. snorcallú                                          a. An Daingean, Co. Chiarraí

 2.. tumadóireacht scúba                    b. El Medano, Tenerife

 3.. gaothshurfáil                                   c. Pluaiseanna na hAille Buí, Co. an Chláir

 4.. falróid ar chapaillíní                       d. Bonaire, Aintillí na hÍsiltíre

 5.  uaimheadóireacht                           e. An Mhórsceir Bhacainneach

Nótaí ar na gníomhaíochtaí:

tumadóireacht scúba: you might recognize the “tuma-“ part from the basic word for diving, “tumadh.”  This root is also used for words like “tumoideachas” (immersion education, as for language classes) and “tumthéitheoir leictreach” (an immersion heater).  It’s also used in a very different arena in the phrase “caora a thumadh” (to dip a sheep). 

gaothshurfáil [GWEE-HURF-aw-il, with a “hard g,” as in English “got” this is a combination of “gaoth” (wind, note the silent “th”) and “surfáil,” lenited since it’s in a compound, so the “sh” becomes just an “h” sound.

falróid can mean sauntering or strolling in general  – it’s the “ar chapaillíní” part that makes it “pony trekking.”  A “falróidí” (without the capaillín) is a “loiterer”. 

uaimheadóireacht [OO-iv-ad-orzh-ukht]: uaimh is the basic word for “cave,” uaimheadóir is someone who explores caves, and uaimheadóireacht is the activity.  “Pluais,” used in the place name mentioned, also means “cave,” but usually is reserved more for the sense of “den” or “crevice.”

Nótaí ar na logainmneacha:

An Daingean, lit. the fort or stronghold, anglicized as Dingle, although this has been very conspóideach lately.

Pluaiseanna na hAille Buí literally means “the caves of the yellow cliff (or precipice).  The name shows up a lot online without adjusting the phrase “an aill bhuí” (the yellow cliff) for the possessive (genitive) form, but the phrase as given (changing “an” to “na,” “aill” to “haille,” and “bhuí” to “buí”) would be the traditional Irish way to create such an expression and is the official name of this cave system in Irish. 

An Mhórsceir Bhacainneach: “sceir” is originally a Norse word, meaning “sea rock”  and shows up in many place names in Ireland, among them, several places simply called “Na Sceirí,” or “The Skerries,” one i gContae Bhaile Átha Cliath and the other i gContae Aontroma, for starters.  The word also traveled pretty far afield, albeit in its anglicized form, showing up as “The Skerries” (Talamh an Éisc / Newfoundland) and “Skrap Skerry” (An tSeoirsia Theas, South Georgia, the island san Atlantach Theas, not part of the stát in America or the European country, An tSeoirsia).  Compared to some of the smaller skerries, like Sule Skerry in Scotland (about 40 acres / 16 hectares), saying that this “sceir bhacainneach” (barrier reef) is “mór” (big) is a bit of an understatement, since it’s about 1300 miles long.   But the “mór” prefix gets the point across.  It’s lenited (mór changing to mhór) because “sceir” is feminine, making the whole noun feminine). 

Freagraí: 1a. snorkeling, Bonaire, Aintillí na hÍsiltíre (Netherlands Antilles); 2b. scuba-diving, An Mhórsceir Bhacainneach (Great Barrier Reef); 3c. windsurfing,  El Medano, Tenerife, 4d. pony-trekking, An Daingean, Co. Chiarraí, 5e. caving, Pluaiseanna na hAille Buí (Aillwee), Co. an Chláir

Oh, maybe I should have added at the beginning, “sa Leathsféar Thuaidh” [suh lya-sfayr HOO-ee], since we ended up talking about an tSeoirsia Theas agus an Astráil (leath-, half; sféar, sphere; thuaidh, northern).  At least that’s how I always understood the situation, samhradh sa Leathsféar Thuaidh, geimhreadh sa Leathsféar Theas.  Having just done a whirlwind tour of the situation online, I find the details more complex than I remembered and puzzles me by offering: “both hemispheres have the same seasons at the same time” among its “resolved” answers to a question about this issue.

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