Irish language

Nothing quite compares to being a compere in front of a live audience

KÍLA AT THE O’DONNELL'S: The GAA club on the Whiterock Road was bouncing to a fabulous night’s music which brought Féile na Carraige to a mighty close and which featured Kíla, Laura and Barry Kerr and others
Robert McMillen

Go mbeannaí Dia daoibh agus bhur gcéad fáilte isteach OR ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together and give a big Irish News welcome to the Bluffer’s Guide to Irish.

Yes for the first time ever the Bluffer was fear a’ tí - the MC at a music gig on Saturday night (he would have been bean a’ tí if he were female) so if you are ever asked to compere a show, here’s the Irish you need.

But to begin with, as well as being deisbhéalach - well-spoken and witty, you need to have a lot of misneach - courage as an lucht éisteachta - the audience can be a cruel bunch at times.

The Bluffer still shudders at the memory of taking part in a school díospóireacht - debate using Roget’s Thesaurus to make his points clear.

It turned out that every word with more than three syllables was greeted with a loud “Oooooh” like in a raucous episode of The Good Old Days.

But in the phrase that defines the Irish language community, when the time comes ná habair é, déan é - don’t say it, do it.

So while you’ve got your courage in your hands and your God-given loquaciousness (Ooooooh!) ready and primed, it’s best to have a script - script so you can practice your spontaneity!

Know how you are introducing - and go for it!

The Bluffer arrived at the O’Donnell’s GAC club in good time and immediately tháinig lagmhisneach air - he took cold feet.

What the hell was he doing here? 

An ndéanfadh sé staicín áiféise dó féin? - Would he make a complete ass of himself?

But before he could run for the hills, the lights went up and there he was in front of the microphone.

If not exactly slick, he managed his way through it all.

“Aaaaa chairde!” he opened with as if he was born in the Grand Ole Opry.  

Tá fearadh na fáilte romhaibh chuig ... you are very welcome to ... and then you can name the venue you are in.

The first act the Bluffer had to introduce wasn’t on his original list but bhreac sé síos cúpla nóta -  he scribbled down some notes and was then blown away by Niamh Nic Ionnrachtaigh, a former pupil of Bunscoil an tSléibhe Dhuibh, who played the uilleann pipes and whistles. Cumann sí a foinn féin fosta - she also composes her own tunes and plays county football and camogie! 

The Bluffer began to settle in.

Next up was community and language rights activist Conchúr Mac Siacais aka Jake Mac, another product of Irish medium education who did Dirty Old Town and Teenage Dirtbag and everything in between which got the audience more engaged.

After a word with the innealltóir fuaime - sound engineer, there was a short break before the Bluffer, oozing confidence now, introduced brother and sister Laura and Barry Kerr who have a great new album out but hearing it played live with Donogh Hennessy and Ryan O’Donnell powering the music along, it reached another level altogether. 

By the main act, the Bluffer had finally found his mojo.

“The dance floor belongs to you. But. The. Stage. Belongs. To  KÍLA!!” he screamed, the cue for exuberant tunes, manic dancing and roof-raising sing-along from one of Ireland’s finest bands.

A the great sean-nós singer, Frankie Valli sang, "Oh, what a NIght!"


fear a’ tí (farh a tee) - the make MC

bean a’ tí (banh a tee) - the female MC  

deisbhéalach (jeshvaylakh) - well-spoken and witty

misneach (mishnyakh) - courage 

an lucht éisteachta (un lukht ayshtyakhta) - the audience 

díospóireacht (jeesporakht) - debate 

Ná habair é, déan é (naa habber ay, jaan ay) - don’t say it, do it

script (script) - script

tháinig lagmhisneach air (haneek lugvishnyakh er) - he took cold feet

An ndéanfadh sé staicín áiféise dó féin? (un nyanhad shay stakeen aafaysha daw hane) - Would he make a complete ass of himself? 

Tá fearadh na fáilte romhaibh chuig ... (taa faroo na faaltcha rowiv hig)  you are very welcome to ... 

bhreac sé síos cúpla nóta (vrak shay sheesh coopla nota) -  he scribbled down some notes 

cumann sí a foinn féin fosta (cuman shee a fwin hane fawsta) - she also composes her own

innealltóir fuaime (inyiltore fooama) - sound engineer

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