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Glasra Oíche Shamhna (a Halloween vegetable), but what’s it called in Irish? Posted by on Oct 24, 2017 in Irish Language

(le Róislín) 

Cén glasra é sin sa phictiúr?  What vegetable is that in the picture?  To answer the questions in the graphic above:

An cairéad é?   Ní hea, ní __________ é.

An práta é?   Ní hea, ní __________ é.

An biatas é?  Ní hea, ní __________ é.

An svaeid é?  Ní hea, ní __________ é.   

Nó an toradh é?  Ní hea, ní __________ é.

An seanchnó cócó é?  Ní hea, ní __________ é.

Tá sé an-triomaithe agus an-seargtha, pé scéal é.   (It’s very dried out and very withered, anyway). 

And that was a good workout for the sentence structures “Is it a carrot?” “No, it’s not a carrot.”   Can you fill in the blanks?  If not, tá na freagraí thíos. 

So how did I come to possess the withered, desiccated, dried-out, distorted, and ghoulish-looking turnip on the left?  Well, last year, m’fhear céile (my husband) carved it, all round and fresh and fleshy, so I could show my Irish language class a typical turnip lantern, the predecessor of the North American carved pumpkin lantern.  We used it to describe the features of a face (súile, srón, béal, agus, ar bhealach, fiacla).  After the class, my husband put it in a little box in the cuisneoir (fridge), not really knowing what to do with it next.  A few days ago, that is about a year after carving it, my husband remembered it, and we opened the box.  What a ghoulishly delightful visage met our eyes.

He’s shellacked it now, and we hope it will keep forever, or at least until the original Jack (of the Lantern) can finally stop wandering the earth at night with his lantern, and take a long-awaited rest.  You know the story, right?  But meanwhile, his legend gives us great inspiration for humor, artistry, craftsmanship, and, well, lively competitions held all over the country to see whose carved “tornapa” or “puimcín” is the most “gúlach,” or to rephrase that in Irish, “Cé a rinne an tornapa nó an puimcín is gúlaí.”  “Gúlach” may not be a word you use real often in Irish, but it’s certainly tráthúil (timely).  Here are its forms, with sample phrases:

an tornapa gúlach

Tá an tornapa seo níos gúlaí ná an tornapa sin.

Sin é an tornapa is gúlaí ar domhan.

Aghaidh an tornapa ghúlaigh.

Aghaidheanna na dtornapaí gúlacha.

Bain an barr de sin, a ealaíontóirí maisíochta amuigh ansin!  Which is roughly equivalent to, “Eat your hearts out, you special effects artists out there!).  Slán go fóill — Róislín


An cairéad é?   Ní hea, ní _ cairéad _ é. (Is it a carrot?  No, it’s not a carrot.)

An práta é?   Ní hea, ní _ práta _ é.  (potato)

An biatas é?  Ní hea, ní _ biatas _ é. (beet)

An svaeid é?  Ní hea, ní _ svaeid _ é. (swede/rutabaga)         

Nó an toradh é?  Ní hea, ní _ toradh _ é. (fruit)

An seanchnó cócó é?  Ní hea, ní _ seanchnó cócó _ é. (old coconut)

So what is it?  As you probably have realized by now, “Is tornapa é.”

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