Lá Idirnáisiúnta na mBéar Bán (International Polar Bear Day): 27 Feabhra — February 27th Posted by róislín on Feb 27, 2018 in Irish Language
We recently referred to International Polar Bear Day in a list of féilte, feiseanna, and laethe speisialta in February (nasc thíos). February 27th is International Polar Bear Day, and a straightforward translation of the phrase into Irish is “Lá Idirnáisiúnta na mBéar Bán” (literally: International Day of the White, i.e. Polar Bears).
We’re probably all aware of the plight of the polar bear, as human activity encroaches upon its habitat. And all of us have probably admired the beauty and photogenic appeal of “na béir bhána” (the polar bears), but how many of us knew that they apparently have a genetic connection to an ancient Irish bear? Research by Dr. Ceiridwen Edwards (Trinity College, Dublin; Oxford University), Professor Daniel Bradley (Trinity College, Dublin), and Professor Beth Shapiro (Pennsylvania State University) and others has established a link between polar bears and subfossil grizzly bears in Ireland. Here is a link to a short article on the research and there are some more links below: https://polarbearsinternational.org/news/article-research/polar-bears-with-a-brogue/. Dr. Edwards’s research includes examining bear remains found at the aptly named “Poll na mBéar” (Cave of the Bears) in County Leitrim. Actually, it’s literally “hole” (poll), not “cave” (which is normally “uaimh” in Irish). But I don’t want to split hairs here!
For a little more about “Poll na mBéar,” you might want to check out “Eagle’s Rock” (http://leitrimtourism.com/stories/eagles-rock/) . According to this website, ” Eagle’s Rock is the highest free-standing natural rock tower on the island of Ireland, it stands at 330m tall.” The area has many caves, including “The Cave of the Bears.”
Back in 1999, Michael Viney published another interesting article on the topic in the Irish Times, “Wriggling our way into history’s hidey-holes, Sat, Oct 23, 1999, (https://www.irishtimes.com/news/wriggling-our-way-into-history-s-hidey-holes-1.242439)
An raibh duine ar bith ar an liosta seo riamh ag an uaimh sin? Má bhí, cad a chonaic tú?
Let’s finish up by working our way through the forms of the phrase “béar bán.”
an béar bán, the polar bear
an bhéir bháin, of the polar bear (gnáthóg an bhéir bháin, the habitat of the polar bear)
béir bhána, polar bears (Ní bhíonn cónaí ar bhéir bhána in Antartaice agus ní bhíonn cónaí ar phiongainí san Artach, Polar bears don’t live in Antarctica and penguins don’t live in the Arctic.)
na béir bhána, the polar bears (An bhfuil na béir bhána sa zú compordach agus sásta? Are the polar bears in the zoo comfortable and satisfied?)
na mbéar bán, of the polar bears (Tá gnáthóg na mbéar bán faoi bhagairt, The habitat of the polar bears is threatened)
Tá súil agam gur bhain tú sult as seo agus go mbeidh tú ag smaoineamh faoin drochbhail atá ar na béir bhána. Cad is féidir linn a dhéanamh a chuideoidh leo? I hope you enjoyed this and that you will be thinking about the plight of the polar bears. What can we do that will help them?
Tá roinnt nasc thíos ar an ábhar. There are some links below on the topic.
Previous Transparent Language blogs: Vocabulary Round-up for Féilte agus Feiseanna agus Laethe Speisialta na Feabhra: Fill in the Blanks Posted by róislín on Feb 5, 2018 in Irish Language and Féilte agus Feiseanna agus Laethe Speisialta i mí Feabhra: Fill in the Blanks Posted by róislín on Jan 31, 2018 in Irish Language
International Polar Bear Day: https://polarbearsinternational.org/get-involved/international-polar-bear-day/
Polar Bears International: http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/
Irish connection to polar bears:
“Ancient Hybridization and an Irish Origin for the Modern Polar Bear Matriline,” by Ceiridwen J Edwards, Marc A Suchard, Philippe Lemey, John J Welch, Ian Barnes, Tara L Fulton, Ross Barnett, Tamsin C O’Connell, Peter Coxon, Nigel Monaghan, Cristina E Valdiosera, Eline D Lorenzen, Eske Willerslev, Gennady F Baryshnikov, Andrew Rambaut, Mark G Thomas, Daniel G Bradley, and Beth Shapiro (Current Biology, Volume 21, Issue 15, 9 August 2011, Pages 1251-1258, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982211006452
And a little less technical: “Polar bears have maternal Irish brown bear ancestors,” By Steven McKenzieBBC Scotland Highlands and Islands reporter, 7 July 2011; http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-13965286.
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