Irishon the BBC
Chapter 1 of an online drama for learners of the Irish language (intermediate level) - 20 chapters. Written by Pól Ó Muirí. Additional resources in association with the Ultach Trust.
Is leor nod don eolach(A word to the wise is sufficient.)
The word ‘turadh’ comes from the adjective tur which means ‘dry’, as well as ‘boring’, ‘dull’. Arán tur is dry bread; cruinniú tur is a boring meeting. Specifically, turadh means that the rain has stopped. In Ireland there is always an expectation of more rain.
Tá sé ina thuradh – The rain has stopped
Tá turadh ann – We’re having a dry spell
You can also say - Tá sé ag déanamh turaidh
I bhfad ag cur agus i bhfad ina thuradh – long foul and long fair (proverbial idiom)
Tá fearthainn ann – It is raining (literally, ‘there is rain in it’)
Ní raibh fearthainn againn le tamall – We haven’t had rain for a while
Tá fearthainn ag titim – Rain is falling
Níl aon fhearthainn ag titim – No rain is falling
Note: Fearthainn is a feminine noun, so ‘the rain’ is an fhearthainn, ‘heavy rain’ is ‘fearthainn throm. It forms its genitive by adding an –e: braonta fearthainne / deora fearthainne – drops of rain
Grian = sun
Tá an ghrian sa spéir – The sun is in the sky
ag déanamh bolg le grian (also ok: bolg le gréin) – sunbathing
ag adhradh na gréine – worshiping the sun
Grianmhar – ‘sunny’ is an adjective created from the word grian
The rare phenomenon of a hot sunny day is celebrated by a whole set of over-the-top metaphors:
Tá an ghrian ag scoilteadh na gcloch – The sun is splitting the stones
Tá an ghrian ag scoilteadh na gcarraigeacha – The sun is splitting the rocks
Tá an ghrian ag scoilteadh na gcrann – The sun is splitting the trees
Note: Grian is also a feminine noun, hence an ghrian – the sun, and it also forms its genitive by adding an –e. Note the change in the vowels: an ghrian > na gréine. This is because there are two different ‘n’ sounds. In an ghrian, the ‘n’ sound is what is known in Irish as a broad consonant (as in ‘man’), while in na gréine it is slender (as in ‘senior’). All consonants in Irish have both broad and slender sounds. The letters ‘i’ and ‘e’ make a consonant slender, while the other vowels make it broad. See if you spot other examples in Dónal’s story.
If you are attentive you will already have noticed that, when a consonant is between two vowels, those on either side are both – generally – either broad or slender. This rule goes back for hundreds of years, and is known as caol le caol agus leathan le leathan – broad with broad and slender with slender.
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4. Arú inné / amárach
Inn’ means ‘yesterday’ and amárach means ‘tomorrow’. You can add an extra day by adding the word arú to either of these:
arú inné – the day before yesterday
arú amárach – the day after tomorrow
aréir – last night
arú aréir – the night before last
Note: There is a phrase in Hiberno-English, ‘ere yesterday’ which means the same as ‘arú inné’. In Donegal the word anóirthear is used more often than arú amárach.
5. Other phrases on the weather
Tá sé ag cur – It is raining
Tá sé ag cur fearthainne – It is raining
Tá sé ag cur báistí – It is raining (heavily)
Tá sé ag cur sneachta – It is snowing
Tá sé ag cur clochshneachta – It is raining hailstones
Note: The above are examples of idioms relating to the weather, using the verb cuir.
6. Advanced phrases
Tá ceobrán/ceobhrán ann – there is a light drizzle / mist (from ‘ceo’ – mist, and ‘braon’ – drop)
Tá fearthainn air – It’s going to rain (as opposed to ‘Tá fearthainn ann’ – It’s raining)
Tá sé ag cur de dhíon is de dheoir – It’s pouring rain
Tá sé ag stealladh anuas – It’s pelting down
Tá sé ag taomadh fearthainne – It’s teeming rain
Rinne sé balc throm – it was a total downpour (even more intense than the others)
Chuir sé an díle – The rain was torrential (díle is the Biblical Flood)
Tá an fhearthainn ag baint toite as an talamh – the rain is making the ground ‘smoke’
Tá sé ina líbín bháite – he’s soaked to the skin (a líbín is a small fish)
Níl acmhainn agam ar an fhuacht – I’m cold-rife (cannot bear the cold)
Tá mé conáilte – I’m perished with the cold
Tá mé fleaite – I’m perished with the cold
Bhainfeadh sé an fhéasóg den chat – (it’s so cold) it would freeze the whiskers off a cat
Lá marbhánta – a sultry day
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