Irish language

After a great Soma, there is still a feast of festivals for everyone all over the country

RÍOGHNACH CONNOLLY: The Armagh-born Mancunian was one of the stars of the Soma Festival in Castlewellan last week, with two sold-out David Gray gigs bringing the festival to an end on July 20 and 21
Robert McMillen

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

This morning, the Bluffer is knackered. That’s traochta or buailte amach for Gaeilgeoirí.

The reason for the fatigue is that he has just spent the weekend in Caisleán Uidhlín - Castlewellan at the Soma festival where music and wellbeing combine – although there was little thought given to wellbeing as the final pint was ordered and consumed.

Féile is the Irish for a festival and sometimes it’s shortened by leaving the last e out for a feast day so we have Lá na Féil’ Pádraig - Saint Patrick’s Day or Lá na Féil’ Bríde  - the feast of saint Bridget.

Oíche, as well as meaning night, also means the eve of, ie the day before, so oíche na Féile Eoin is the eve of St John’s Day and oíche Nollag is Christmas eve of course.

But back to feasts and festivals which can be anything from Electric Picnic to the Hillsborough International Oyster Festival and Orangefest to Tedfest.

The Bluffer is particularly looking forward to Féile an Phobail for its talks programme (1st - 13th August); Liú Lúnasa for its youthful  vitality (21 - 27 August)Scoil Samhraidh Mhic Reachtain ((21 - 27 August)) - the McCracken Summer School for its music and general good craic – but today he is nursing a hangover from the weekend’s Soma festival.

The town is always packed for the festival which runs at the same time as the very popular agricultural show so there were gleaming, brightly coloured tarracóirí - tractors flying around town, driven by young men in fleeces matching the colour of their bucolic mean machines. 

It’s hard to get lóistín - accommodation in the town itself but the Bluffer used AirBnB for the first time and stayed in Drumlee mobile, a   gorgeous teach soghluaiste - mobile home – and that’s not an oxymoron – about five miles outside the town. 

After getting a taxi into the centre of Castlewellan, the festival was in full flow with great music emanating from a tented area where people were enjoying locally-made beoracha ceirde - craft beers while the kids were being entertained by a group of Lochlannaigh - Vikings!

A big part of Soma is its attention to folláine - well-being so you could pamper your corp agus anam - body and soul during the day at the Sound Healing Spa or you could relaxation at a session of Tai Chi, dianmhachnamh - meditation, mindfulness or the wonderful Laughter Yoga!

However, the Bluffer decided that his body and soul needed to go to the blaiseadh uisce bheatha - the whiskey tasting in Maginn’s where whiskey ambassador Joe Magowan shared his knowledge and a few especially chosen half’uns.

All roads then led to King’s where a cornucopia of trad talent including  Alan Burke, pipers Paddy Keenan and John McSherry, Tola Custy on fiddle, Steve Cooney on guitar entertained us until the wee hours of the morning but the highlight for me was Ríoghnach Connolly and her band, the Breath.

2017’s isn’t finished yet but roll on Soma 2018. 


traochta (traykhta) - exhausted

buailte amach (booiltcha amaakh) - exhausted

Caisleán Uidhlín (cashlaan ileen) - Castlewellan 

féile (fayla) - a festival 

Lá na Féil’ Pádraig (laa ne fayl paadreeg) - Saint Patrick’s Day 

Lá na Féil’ Bríde  (laa ne fayl breeja) - the feast of Saint Bridget

oíche na Féile Eoin (eeha na fayl owen - the eve of the feast of St John

oíche Nollag (eeha nullug) - Christmas Eve

Scoil Samhraidh Mhic Reachtain (scul saowree vick raakhtan) - the McCracken Summer School 

tarracóirí (taracoree) - tractors

lóistín (lawshtyeen) - accommodation

teach soghluaiste  (chakh sawglooashta) - a mobile home

beoracha ceirde (byorakha kerja) - craft beers

Lochlannaigh (lokhlaanee) - Vikings

folláine (folaanya) - wellbeing

corp agus anam (corp agiss anam) - body and soul

dianmhachnamh (jeeanwakhnoo) - meditation 

blaiseadh uisce bheatha (blaashoo ishka vaha) - the whiskey tasting

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