Irish language

Our sympathy to you unhappy souls caught in the grip of winter illnesses

PUG UGLY: Admittedly, this is how we all feel when we come down with the cold or the flu (man or otherwise) during the bleak midwinter - although I find this pug quite cute actually!   
Robert McMillen

CAD É mar atá sibh a chairde, how’s it goin’ dear readers and loyal fans of the world-famous Bluffer’s Guide to Irish.

There are some subjects the Bluffer is loathe to talk about in this column - politics, sex, vegan sausage rolls, etc. - but today he must tackle the yucky subject of winter illnesses.

Yep, what a lot of you will be going through at this very minute. 

You will be explaining that tá mo sceadamán nimhneach - my throat is sore, tá mo ghaosán ag sileadh - I have a runny nose, tá mé ag casachtaí - I am coughing and I am listening to country ballads on the hi-fi.

Could things be any worse? Yes, they could.

Okay, let’s have a good old role-play to learn some Irish.

Your unsympathetic by nature best friend some and says “A Dhia tá droch-chuma ort!” - Wow, you look awful!

That’s what friends are for, right?

You could answer with a sarcastic go raibh maith agat - thanks but you are too ill even for sarcasm.

Tá mo chloigeann ag réabadh - my head is splitting is how you might answer, adding that the tinneas cinn - headache has nothing to go with emptying the bottles of Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla gin left over from Christmas.

Now, the thing about illnesses in Irish, they are on a person. 

So tá tinneas cinn orm - I have a headache; tá slaghdan orm - I have a cold, tá olpóg uirthi - she has a flu etc.

(Nota Bene: this only refers to real illnesses and does not include manflu and the various other fake ailments people use to get a day off work).

So you are now looking like a cross between Baldrick in Blackadder the Third and a Japanese macaque.

As your charming friend has  pointed out, Winter is very unforgiving when it comes to one’s good looks as you sit in bed picking at your spuaic shlaghdáin - cold sore.

Tá mo chraiceann tirim - my skin is dry you can wail and here is something the Bluffer learned today - moisturising lotions and creams aren’t absorbed by the skin. 

Instead, they act as a sealant to stop the skin’s natural moisture evaporating away.

So all that is left is to sit at home ag mothú trua dom féin - feeling sorry for myself.

There is always the temptation to go for an uisce beatha te - a hot whiskey  rather than a Lemsip but the Bluffer is unconvinced about the medicinal powers of Powers – but it’s one of the nicest placebos there is!

Undoubtedly, especially in Ireland, there will be lots of folk cures to get us back to our fighting best.

You know the sort of thing – put vinegar under you oxter and walk three times around a rowan tree while singing You’re Such a Good-Looking Woman by Joe Dolan. 

The thing about being ill, of course, is that you feel brilliant once the symptoms have disappeared.

Tá mé ar ais ar mo shean-léim is the Irish for I’m back on my feet again, usually after a sickness. It literally means I am back on my old leap!

Tá biseach orm means I am feeling better or I have recovered from an illness.

So let’s hope all of you are feeling poorly due to one of the above-mentioned complaints get better soon. 

It’s not the most pleasant time of the year but with proper TLC from your nearest and dearest, you will all survive.


tá mo sceadamán nimhneach (taa maw shkadamaan nivnyakh) - my throat is sore

tá mo ghaosán ag sileadh (taa maw geesaan eg shiloo) - I have a runny nose

tá mé ag casachtaí (taa me eg casakhtee) - I am coughing 

A Dhia tá droch-chuma ort! (a yeea, taa droch-khuma ort) - wow, you look awful!

go raibh maith agat (go roe myh ugut) - thanks

Tá mo chloigeann ag réabadh (taa maw khliygan eg rayboo) - my head is splitting 

tá tinneas cinn orm (taa chinyiss kin orim) - I have a headache

tá slaghdán orm (taa slaydaan orim) - I have a cold

tá olpóg uirthi (taa awlpawg erhee) - she has a flu

spuaic shlaghdáin (spooeek laydaan) - a cold sore

tá mo chraiceann tirim (taa maw khrakin chirim) - my skin is dry

ag mothú trua dom féin (eg mawhoo trooa doo hayn) - feeling sorry for myself

uisce beatha te (ishka baha chay) - a hot whiskey  

Tá mé ar ais ar mo shean-léim (taa may er ash er maw han-laym ) - I’m back on my feet again

tá biseach orm (taa bishakh orim) - I’m feeling better

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