Irish language

The Bluffer has plans for the wallflowers on his bookshelves

The Bluffer is first to admit that his bookshelves are not as cool as this one in the picture
Robert McMillen

GO mbeannaí Dia daoibh and a big air kiss of a welcome to the Bluffer's Guide to Irish.

It has to be said, the Bluffer is very proud of his leabhragáin - bookcases. Three rooms hold them and they are ag cur thar maoil - overflowing with books on subjects close to the Bluffer's heart.

There is a lot of stair - history, polaitíocht - politics, cultúr - culture and beathaisnéisí - biographies.

They are clúdach bog - hardback and clúdach crua - hardback, A4, A5 and weird American sizes and there are a few “coffee table” books on the shelves too. There is ficsean - fiction in the mix too and books that are pristine and others that are dog-eared and dusty.

The Bluffer doesn't like to boast but there are books in English, Irish, French and increasingly Spanish adorning his walls as the Bluffer, you will know, dear readers, is a bit of a polyglot.

Classics from Camus to Cervantes and Shakespeare to Seosamh Mac Grianna sit beside some chick-lit, manuals, humorous books and a hotch-potch of other genres.

And now the big confession. Cover to cover, most of them are unread by the Bluffer.

He covers his guilt with the “níl an t-am agam” - “I don't have the time” argument and it is true that he is iontach gnóthach - wild busy - but he imagines he is like many people who know a lot about books but haven't read them all.

Even as a teenager, he would read léirmheasanna leabhair - book reviews rather than whole books. Cheating? Laziness? Or fiendishly clever in that you learn about a wider variety of subjects in the same time it takes to read one book.

Whatever, the Bluffer intends to spend more time reading the books that are sitting on his shelves like wallflowers alone at the end of the parish tea dance.

He intends getting reacquainted with the Gaelic classics of Seosamh Mac Grianna and Máire.

Máirtín Ó Cadhain can expect a call soon too, but that might take more effort than the Bluffer can muster. Alan Titley I have got to know over the past couple of years and it'll be a trip to An Ceathrú Póil, the excellent bookshop in the Cultúrlann in Belfast or the one in the Cultúrlann in Derry and there are other outlets for buying books in Irish elsewhere and online.

The Bluffer is learning Spanish so he has books and tréimhseacháin - periodicals in español on the kindle on his iphone but there is nothing like the feel of a bound book that makes it an ‘experience.”

He might start off his serious reading with some gearrscéalta - short stories before working his way up to an úrscéal - a novel or a work of neamhfhiscean - non-fiction.

A quick glance at the bookshelf beside me sees early contenders - History Beneath Our Feet by Colm Ó Baoill is a great book about the archaeology of Belfast; An Irish-speaking Island by Nicholas Wolf is a history of the language between 1770 and 1870 then there are all those Ross O'Carroll-Kelly books...

leabhragáin (lyoragaan) - bookcases

ag cur thar maoil (eg ker har mweel) - overflowing

stair (star) - history

polaitíocht (politcheeakht) - politics

cultúr (cultoor) - culture beathaisnéisí (baheshnayshee) - biographies

clúdach bog (cloodakh bug) - hardback

clúdach crua (cloodakh crooa) - hardback

ficsean (fickshun) - fiction

níl an t-am agam (nee un taam ugum) - I don't have the time

iontach gnóthach (eentakh greehakh)- very busy

léirmheasanna leabhair (layrvassana lyore) - book reviews

tréimhseacháin (trayvshakhaan) - periodicals

úrscéal (oorshkayl) - a novel neamhfhicsean (nyaowickshun) - non-fiction

Irish language

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