Irish Language Blog

Seachtain Fhéile Pádraig a Trí: Pub-crawling Posted by on Mar 17, 2010 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

Aon ábhar ní b’fhearr ná beáir, given the “seachtain” that’s in it?

Here are two phrases for pub-crawling in Irish.  Both are really based on the idea of “rambling,” rather than “crawling’ as such, which would be “lámhacán ([LAWV-uh-kawn] moving on one’s hands and knees) or “snámhaíocht” ([SNAWV-ee-ukht] loosely, “land-swimming”).

1) Beidh muid ag raimleáil anocht.  “We’ll be pub-crawling tonight.”  “Raimleáil” [RAM-lyuh-aw-il] can also mean simply “rambling.”  I guess one wonders, for what other reason would one be rambling?  How to differentiate when necessary?  I have trí fhreagra for that: comhthéacs, comhthéacs, comhthéacs.

There are several other words that also mean “rambling” with no particular implication of drink being involved.  Their additional meanings help clarify the subtle differences involved: spaisteoireacht (walking around), fánaíocht (roving), and “falróid” (sauntering, loitering).  And then there are several phrases for “rambling speech,” including “sámsáil” (based on “salmaireacht” (psalm-singing), and “fánaíocht chainte,” based on “fánaíocht” as above but requiring “chainte” (of speaking) to specify that verbal rambling is what’s meant.  So “raimleáil” by no means covers all aspects of “rambling.”

2) Rachaidh muid ar raimil óil.  “We’ll go on a pub-crawl,” perhaps more literally, on a “ramble of drinking.”  And of course, you can change the verb tense as desired (Téim ar raimil óil, Chuaigh mé ar raimil óil, srl.).  You could also quite easily turn this into a sentence with our “seanchara,” the relative clause: Seo é an pótaire atá ag dul ar raimil óil.  Or maybe in the case of said tippler, it should be “Seo é an pótaire a bhíonns ar raimil óil,” with the implication that it’s a “síor-raimil óil.”  Have ye no home to go to, a phótaire?

And what city is most ideally suited for “raimil óil”?  I’d say, Baile Sheáin, Talamh an Éisc, where the world-famous George Street holds the North American record for having the most bars and pubs per square foot of road.  Pé scéal é, sláinte (má tá tú ar raimil óil) agus slán go fóill, mar “shlán” ginearálta — Róislín

Some pronunciation tips:

fánaíocht [FAWN-ee-ukht] and the related phrase, fánaíocht chainte [FAWN-ee-ukht KHAN-tchuh]

spaisteoireacht [SPASH-tcho-irzh-ukht]

Glossary with pronunciation tips:

ábhar [AW-wur or AWV-ur], subject, topic

Baile Sheáin [BAHL-yuh HyAW-in, note the silent “s”], St. John’s (Newfoundland), lit. just “the town of John.”  Sometimes also referred to as “Baile Naomh Eoin” or “Baile Naomh Sheáin.”

comhthéacs [koh-hayks, note the silent “m” and the silent “t”], context

ní b’fhearr [neeb-yar, note the silent “b” and the silent “f”], better

rachaidh [RAH-khee, note the silent “d”], will go

seanchara [SHAN-KHAH-ruh], old friend

Talamh an Éisc [TAHL-uv un ayshk OR TAHL-oo un ayshk], Newfoundland, lit. “the land of the fish.”  In Irish, this phrase is grammatically singular, that is, it’s the land of “a fish.”  I’ve always wondered why this isn’t “*Talamh na nIasc,” which would be “the land of the fish,” with “fish” in the plural.  Is “fish” singular in “Talamh an Éisc” because we’re thinking of one fish (an t-olltrosc, b’fhéidir) symbolically representing “fishes” in general?  English, of course, doesn’t usually distinguish a singular and a plural for “fish,” although we can sometimes use “fishes” when discussing species from an ichthyological viewpoint, when referring to the biblical incidents of “loaves and fishes” (for feeding the multitudes) or naming food pantries for such events, or when trying to talk ar nós drongadóra (“to sleep with the fishes”).

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  1. Séamus Mac Chonfhormaoile:

    In Donegal “rambling” can also mean going out at night to visit one of the neighbour’s house. ” ag airneán” a deireann siad. In Munster deireann siad “ag cuartaíocht”

    • róislín:

      @Séamus Mac Chonfhormaoile Go raibh maith agat as scríobh, a Shéamuis. Tá an ceart agat, ar ndóígh. Sin agus “bothántaíocht.” Tá an t-ainm “Rambling House” ar phub sa Bhroncs freisin!

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