Irish language

Helping the kids back to school with a cornucopia of stationery

BACKPACKING: The Bluffer always enjoyed getting new stationery when it was time to go back to school, from drawing books to diaries to jotters and everything else
Robert McMillen

TOP OF THE MORNING to yez, and sure isn’t it another Bluffer’s Guide to Irish.

Across the land, tuismitheoirí - parents are dreaming of the beautiful Nirvana that is just weeks away - the kids are going back to school!

Whether it is the naíscoil - nursery school, or the bunscoil - primary school or a meánscoil - a secondary school, thoughts are turning to heading to the shops with little Fiachra and Bláthnaid to buy them the essential equipment  they need to become model daltaí - pupils.

Facebook is going to be full of pictures of proud little children as they wear their culaith scoile - school uniform for the first time and carry a mála droma - a back pack which will feature My Little Pony or Kurt Cobain depending on the age and sensibility of the pupil.

Inside the bag, is all the goodies. 

Hopefully, it hasn’t been tossed in a corner since the end of last term so there won’t be rotten bananas or festering apple doots lying in wait.

No, it’ll probably be spankingly new for all your requirements,

Thee is the cás pinn luaidh - the pencil case for your pinn - pens, pinn luaidh - pencils, scriosáin - erasers, a bioraitheoir - a pencil sharpener and maybe a rialóir - a ruler. 

Other pencil cases can be quite comprehensive with mysterious tools such as an uillinntomhas - a protractor and a compás - a compass.

Nowadays, however, you are also likely to find a méaróg chuimhne - a flash drive on which pupils can have saved their homework and material related to the subjects they are taking.

It will make for a nice lá siopadóireachta - shopping day gong out with the kids to get them all the stuff they need for school. 

This of course, means there are less books for schoolchildren to carry. Back in the day, schoolbags weighed seemed as if they had kettle bells in them as they were packed not only with your pencil case but also with your téacsleabhair - textbooks, leabhair nótaí - note books and your bosca lóin - lunchbox.

You might also have a dialann - a diary to keep your school timetable in and a note of all the dreaded homework you had to do.

You would have different comhaid - files for different subjects and you would spend hours “backing” your books ie covering them with brown paper or a nuachtán -  a newspaper or whatever was at hand to protect them so they would be handed down to next year’s class.

Being eagraithe - organised was an important skill to learn in those early days and having all the right tools is a great start.

Of course, it is an emotionally draining time as the little ones start at nursery or primary school. That sad little last look they give you as you leave them in the care of a possible Miss Trunchbull from Matilda will stay with you forever.

But so will the stories about new friends made and the lovely Miss Honey who is going to show your kiddies how to use Pritt and sing songs and read books and make believe and have fun while doing sums and spelling and and and ...


tuismitheoirí (tishmahoree) - parents 

naíscoil (neeskull) - nursery schoolbunscoil (bunskull) - primary school

meánscoil (maanskull) - a secondary school

daltaí (daltee) - pupils

culaith scoile (culee skulla) - school uniform

mála droma (maala druma) - a back pack

cás pinn luaidh (caass pin looee) - a pencil case

pinn (pin) - pens

pinn luaidh (pin looee) - pencils 

scriosáin (scrissaan) - erasers 

bioraitheoir (bireehore) - a pencil sharpener

rialóir (reealore) - a ruler 

uillinntomhas (ilintowas) - a protractor

compás (compaas) - a compass

méaróg chuimhne (mayrawg khivnya) 

- a flash drive

lá siopadóireachta (laa shuppadoreakhta) - shopping day

téacsleabhair (chaykslyore) - textbooks

leabhair nótaí (lore noetee) - note books

bosca lóin (buxa lone) - lunchbox

dialann (jeealaan) - a diary

comhaid (coewadge) - files

nuachtán (nooakhtaan) - a newspaper

eagraithe (ugreeha) - organised

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