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Irish language

With the world in a shambles, it's good to celebrate acts of kindness

THE DALAI LAMA: Lhamo Dondrub (his real name) says his religion is very simple. His religion is kindness but we don’t have to be a spiritual leader to be nice to each other. 
Robert McMillen

Go mbeannaí Dia daoibh, welcome back mes amis and mis amigos to the wonderful world of the Bluffer’s Guide to Irish.

Believe it or not, the Bluffer was writing this column on a bus as he was heading down town. Ná cuir bomaite amú - don’t waste a minute he remembers a classmate advise him and he has (mostly) taken it to heart.

The theme the Bluffer had chosen was helping others and he had got the first paragraph written when a seanduine - an old man fell as the bus drove off from the stop.

A young lady helped him up and gave him back his sunglasses as he sat down, bhí aiféaltas air - he was embarrassed of course, but unhurt.

“God Bless You,” he said. 

So there it was, before his very eyes, one of the many acts of kindness that people do for each other, every day of the week.

Cineáltas is kindness and cineálta is the adjective.

Níl cineáltas ar bith ann is how you would say a person was very selfish or self-centred. The type who sits on the outside seat on the bus and put their bag on the inside one. 

On the other hand, tá Máire iontach cineálta - Mary (or anyone else you know) is very kind.

The same friend who didn’t want to waste a moment was also someone the Bluffer could rely on to give lend him a pen or lunch money or  a text book because, let’s face it, the Bluffer was very dearmadach - forgetful when he was a child – and still is in many ways.

World Kindness Day is on November 18 and it’s a stupid idea because kindness manifests itself in so many ways every second of the day all over the world.

It could be the simplest of things like aoibh gháire - a smile that says “thank you” or “I sympathise with you”.

Comhrá is a conversation  and it’s great to have someone who you can sit

with and rant until your heart’s content. The world needs good éisteoirí - listeners. It’s nice to hear someone say “bhí comhrá deas eadrainn” - we had a nice (two-way) conversation or bhí tú an-spreagúil - you were very encouraging.

There are a trillion other ways you can help people, like doing someone’s shopping.

Rinne mé siopadóireacht Mhaimeo - I did Granny’s shopping is one act of kindness to an older person – although older people are much healthier nowadays but a frail neighbour might appreciate the gesture.

Just letting them know you are always around if they need help is a great comfort to many.

Lámh chuidithe is a helping hand as in dom lámh chuidithe - give iz a hand.

Everyone likes being complimented so saying your partner is looking particularly beautiful/handsome is always a nice thing to do.

Ag timireacht means running errands or doing odd jobs and it’s always good to help people with little things – and not just to be done for brownie points!

Letting other drivers out, letting someone go in front of you in a queue, sending a “thank you” card to someone, making someone a sandwich, these are all simple things that keep us human and connected.

Sometimes you need to ask someone to do something for you in which case you would say: “seo, déan gar dom - here, do me a favour. 

So, loyal readers, make sure you do someone a kindness today. Everyone benefits.


Ná cuir bomaite amú (naa ker bumatcha amaow) - don’t waste a minute

seanduine (shaninya) - an old man

bhí aiféaltas air (vee aafaltiss er) - he was embarrassed 

cineáltas (kinyaltiss) - kindness

cineálta (kinyalta) - kind 

Níl cineáltas ar bith ann (neel kinyaltiss er bee un) - he/she is a very selfish person 

tá Máire iontach cineálta (taa myra eentakh kinyalta) - Mary is very kind

dearmadach (jarmadakh) - forgetful

aoibh gháire (eev gyra) - a smile

comhrá (coe-raa) - a conversation

éisteoirí (ayshtoree) - listeners

Bhí comhrá deas eadrainn (vee coe-raa jass adreen) - we had a nice (two-way) conversation

bhí tú an-spreagúil (vee too an-spragool) - you were very encouraging 

Rinne mé siopadóireacht Mhaimeo (rin may shupadoreakht waamo) - I did Granny’s shopping

dom lámh chuidithe (doo laow khudgee) - give iz a hand

Ag timireacht (ag chimirakht) - running errands or doing odd jobs

seo, déan gar dom (shaw, jan gar doo) - here, do me a favour 

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