It’s a hard thing to sit at a desk all day writing lecture notes only to come home and then feel compelled to sit down and enter a blog, but I have been thinking about this one for a while. To be perfectly honest, I have been thinking of about five different posts for a while, but this is the one that has gotten out of the cage. It is mostly because it has a practical, real-time focus, as opposed to the more reflective, narrative driven posts that I’ve been building in the back of my mind. This one is more a record of a current starting point, like a record of the weight lifted in a workout or distance and time running.
Gu deas. Sin e mo chuid de ro-ràidh.
I’ve decided that I’ve not enough Gaelic memorised, and by that I do not mean paradigms or vocabulary. I am talking about senchas, sgeulan agus sean-fhaclan, so I’m going to put down here the dàin for this week. I think I’ll start light here with some poems that I have been meaning to hard-wire.
First , I’ve noticed that one of the sean-fhaclan about the weather that I came across in an Almanac from 1907 is dead on. Tha e an seo shìos:
Gaoth Deas, teas is torradh,
Gaoth Niar, iasg is bainne,
Gaoth Tuath, fuachd is gaillioinn,
Gaoth Near, meas air chrannaibh.
Second, it’s high time I started getting a view of the bardic tradition from the inside. This is something I started trying to do a year back or so, but of course got sidetracked by ‘life’. (Now that’s a topic I’d like to come back to – that and the ‘world / saoghal … thing.) Following the bardic tracts (specifically Tract II), I’ll memorise verses according to the varying years of instruction. Since dían is the first, I’ve selected two of the examples to start with.
Currech life conalí.
Is terc ri dia fo-domair.
Rucad a chend uad i cían;
cosin slíab os badammair.
This relates to a story in the Finn MacCumhaill cycle. The story is told in the Rennes Dinshenchas:
49. Cenn Currig.
Currech Lifi, from whom is Raith Cuirrig, had a daughter Cochrann the mother of Diarmait hua Duibni (by her husband Dub). And Cuirrech’s mother was the same as the mother of Fothad Canann and of Teite daughter of Mac Niad, from whom Oenach Teite is named. Teite was the wife of Find son of Ragamain.
Now Find killed Dub hua Duibni, whose son was Diarmait mac Duib son of Duibne. He was Currech’s son in-law.
So there was savage warfare between them (Find and Ciarech). Then Cuirrech bethought him of a way to get an advantage over Find. In the eastern part of Femen, on the eastern bank of the Suir, in Cathair Dúne Iascaig, Find had a paramour named Badammair (from her Rath Badammrach is called). ’Tis she that used to sustain Find with food and raiment. So Cuirrech went to Badammair’s house and slew her, and destroyed Cathair Dúne Iascaig. Forthwith goes Find on Cuirrech’s track, by Femen, Tete, Roigne, the Nore, Gabran, the Barrow, till he saw before him Cuirrech’s shadow, and throughout the shadow he hurled a spear, chanting a spell over its head, and strikes it into Cuirrech, who fell thereby. Then Find took Cuirrech’s head, and came on the morrow in the early morning to that mountain (Cenn Cuirrig) a little to the west of Femen, and set a tomb of stone there about the head. Whence Cenn Cuirrig is so called.
Afterwards Find son of Regamain and his wife Teite fell by a single blow of Find when they went away from the ale-banquet which (the latter) Find had made for Fothad (Canann).
The second example is in praise of the eighth century king of the Ossraige, Anmchad mac Con Cerca.
Anmchad Osraige amra;
caíne fadla flaithrige.
Drec conbruthmar bruith’ elca;
Mac Con Cerca cathmíle.