Irish Language Blog

Lánurú na Gréine: Some Irish Words for Discussing Eclipses Posted by on Jul 31, 2017 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

Finally, a good chance to use the word “urú” (eclipse, eclipsis) aside from the context of Irish spelling!

August 21, 2017 is the date of the first total solar eclipse to stretch from coast to coast in the United States since 1918.  And a sort of eclipse-mania has set in.  But we’ll just be looking at the straightforward stuff in this blogpost — an stórfhocal bunúsach a bhaineanns le huruithe.

The graphic is pretty self-explanatory; I just changed the captions to Irish and added the glossary.

But, as always, the individual words deserve a further glance.

urú, eclipse, eclipsis (urú na gréine, urú na gealaí, srl.).  Mostly we use this in Irish to describe the process by which one consonant “covers” over another, eclipsing it, as it were (like “cat” but “a gcat,” with the “g” eclipsing the “c”” or “bodhráin” vs. “a mbodhráin,” with the “m” eclipsing the “b”).  But “urú” is also the word for “eclipse” in the astronomical sense.  So we have:

an t-urú, the eclipse

an uraithe, of the eclipse (lándorchadas an uraithe)

na huruithe, the eclipsis

na n-uruithe, of the eclipses (lándorchadas na n-uruithe)

Similarly we have an lánurú (the total eclipse), an lánuraithe, na lánuruithe, na lánuruithe (same as the previous word) .


Both “gealach” and “grian” are 2nd-declension nouns, which accounts for the way they change in the possessive form:

an ghealach, the moon

na gealaí, of the moon (fithis na gealaí)

na gealacha, the moons

na ngealach, of the moons (fithisí na ngealach; note that the final “a” of “gealacha” is dropped)


an ghrian, the sun

na gréine, of the sun (córas na gréine)

na grianta, the suns

na ngrianta, of the suns (uruithe na ngrianta, the eclipses of the suns, speaking of numerous “réaltraí,” of course)


An domhan” is “the earth” or “the world,” 1st-declension, masculine:

an domhan, the earth, the world

an domhain, of the earth, of the world (fithis an domhain)

na domhain, the worlds (since the “earths” is not particularly realistic)

na ndomhan, of the worlds (gealacha na ndomhan  sa spás amuigh)


By now , you probably recognize “fithis” as in:

an fhithis, the orbit

na fithise, of the orbit (bealach na fithise)

na fithisí, the orbits

na bhfithisí, of the orbits (bealaí na bhfithisí)


And finally, two words mostly limited to specifically discussing eclipses:

an leathscáil, the penumbra, lit. the half-shadow; the English is from the Latin “paene” (almost) and “umbra” (shadow)

na leathscáile, of the penumbra (na codanna níos gile ar imeall na leathscáile)

na leathscáileanna, the penumbras

na leathscáileanna, of the penumbras, same spelling as the form above (na codanna níos gile ar imill na leathscáileanna)


an lánscáil, the umbra, lit. the shadow

na lánscáile, of the umbra (dorchadas na lánscáile)

na lánscáileanna, the umbras

na lánscáileanna, of the umbras, same spelling as the form above (méid na lánscáileanna)


An bhfaca tusa lánurú na gréine riamh?  Remember your possible answers are “chonaic” or “ní fhaca.”  And if your answer is “chonaic,” perhaps you could write in and tell us about the experience.  — Róislín

BTW, we’ll still get back to “sraith na bpeataí” sometime — since there are still may more animals to go, not to mention breed names.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Keep learning Irish with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

Leave a comment: