Irish language

Having a ball while enjoying Irish culture at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum

SUMMERTIME: And the livin’ was easy for the people who had a great weekend of entertainment and education thanks to An Droichead and the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum at Cultra 
Robert McMillen

Go mbeannaí Dia daoibh agus bhur gcéad míle fáilte isteach chuig the Bluffer’s Guide to Irish.

Well, what a weekend it has been!

An deireadh seachtaine is the weekend and Saturday and yesterday, over 50 people headed to Iarsmalann Tuaithe agus Iompair Uladh - the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum at Cúl Trá - Cultra for a wonderful weekend of Irish language an culture.

(Cultra is a shortened form of Ballycultra, which means the “townland of the back of the strand”).

The idea for the weekend came from the Museum who contacted An Droichead in south Belfast with a view to organising a residential weekend.

Well, bhí an ghrian ag scoilteadh na gcloch - the sun was splitting the stones as the Bluffer headed out by train (a wonderful way to travel) along cósta an óir - the “gold coast” of North Down.

Three classes were on-going when he arrived as the sound of singing and laughter rang out in the courtyard at the museum.

His timing was perfect as he arrived in time for lón - lunch where he chatted to the pupils of all ages about the venture.

No sooner had we had some stobhach - stew than we for off for a walk along a meandering cabhsa - path in the glorious sunshine, various levels of Irish being practiced on the way.

The first stop was in a seanteach beag - a little cottage where we were entertained in story and song by Séamus Ó Donnghaile.

You really got a feel for how people enjoyed themselves before the TV arrived with the sound of a singsong escaping through the open door and up the chimney into the fields around.

Then we headed to the seanscoil - the old school where Davy Maguire was tuning his feadóg mhór - flute while Ciarán Kelly was preparing his bosca ceoil - accordion for some tunes and a little lesson on the history of their respective instruments.

Do you know the difference between a ríl - a reel and a port - a jig?

Or a fonn mall - a slow air and a cornphíopa - a hornpipe? 

(BTW An Droichead are also running trad trails if you want to find out more about the diverse world of traditional music).

As we slip-jigged along the country road back to the courtyard, the Bluffer had to head home but there was no rest for the wicked as the other pupils were up for a ceardlann damhsa - a dancing workshop.

Again, it was a case of the old meeting the new with the clicking of heels the same as it has been for centuries of dancing at the crossroads.

The pupils then had some am saor - free time before having dinner.

Well rested it was time for the Céilí Mór - the big céilí to practice na céimeanna - the steps they had learned earlier.   

By 11pm, it was well and truly time for a well-earned rest in the museum’s dormitories.

On Sunday, the craic continued but with a ceardlann amhránaíochta - a singing workshop and finishing off with an oíche airneáIl - a night of music and song.  

Let’s do it again!



An deireadh seachtaine (un jeroo shakhtinya) - the weekend 

Iarsmalann Tuaithe agus Iompair Uladh (eersmalaan tooeeha agis umper ulooo) - the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum 

Cúl Trá (coot traa) - Cultra 

bhí an ghrian ag scoilteadh na gcloch (vee un yreean eg skiltchoo ne glokh) - the sun was splitting the stones 

cósta an óir (cawsta un ore) - the gold coast

lón (lone) - lunch

stobhach (stowakh) - stew 

cabhsa (caowsa) - path

seanteach beag (shaanchakh big) - a little cottage

feadóg mhór (faadawg wore) - flute 

bosca ceoil (buxa cyoil) - accordion

ríl (reel) - a reel

port (purt) - a jig

fonn mall (fun maal) - a slow air

cornphíopa (cornfeepa) - a hornpipe

ceardlann damhsa (cardlaan daowsa) - a dancing workshop

am saor (aam seer) - free time 

céilí mór (caylee more) - the big céilí

céimeanna (caymanna) - the steps 

ceardlann amhranaíochta (cardlaan oreaaneeakhta) - a singing workshop 

oíche airneáIl (eeha arnyaal)- a night of music and song  

Irish language

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