Irish language

Happy families or dysfunctional kith and kin this Covid-time?

THE WALTONS: The eponymous family who kept it together despite being set in rural Virginia during the Great Depression and World War II which, let’s face it, puts our present predicament into some kind of perspective
Robert McMillen

TO THE real-life Waltons and Sopranos, your extended family is more than welcome to the Bluffer’s Guide to Irish.

With the lockdown, it’s obvious that whole families are spending much more time with each other.

How are yez coping? Let’s talk about it.

Réitím go maith le ... means I get on well with so réitím go maith le mo theaghlach - I get on well with my family or you could change mo theaghlach to le mo dheartháracha - my brothers or le mo dheirfiúracha - with my sisters.

If you get on well with your parents, you would say réitím go maith le mo thuismitheoirí.

The Waltons, tá caidreamh an-dlúth eatarthu - they have a very close relationship.

Outside a family, you could say tá dlúthcheangal acu le chéile - they have close ties with each other.

Caidreamh is a word the Bluffer likes and it means a relationship, be it between members of a family, between lovers,  between politicians or any other group of people.

But how is the present lockdown going to affect the relationships in families?

There is obviously going to be a lot of strus - stress involved.

Being in the same house with the same people 24/7 is of course going to lead to teannas - tension.

An mbeidh tú i bhfad? Will you be long? is the oft-asked question of someone who might be hogging the bathroom?

Then there are all the other battlefields in a typical household - na soithigh - the dishes; an níochan - the laundry; an cianrialóir - the remote control.

Suddenly, the normally placid home environment is more like a scene from Mad Max.

An milleán is the blame and blaming people for some real or imagined misdemeanour is one of the worst things that can happen. Rather than looking for a solution, the blame game begins and it’s about as “funny” as the TV programme of the same name.

“Ná cuir an milleán ormsa,” - don’t blame me, it was XX who did it.

Then XX denies it and blames someone else and so the old fáinne fí - the vicious circle begins.

The shouting and bawling then takes a 180 degree turn into complete tost - silence. Except there is no such thing as complete silence as you can hear people’s grudges clang about in their heads.

It’s V for Vendetta time.

However, a lot of families will get along just fine, thanks.

If someone does something wrong, tugann tú maithiúnas dó/di - you forgive him/her.

Everyone realises that the situation is grim so fighting just makes things worse. 

Everyone is in the same boat - actually, they’re not, the better off are, well, better off - but in the family situation everyone will be under the same constraints with the same worries and fears so if someone does go a bit do-lally, it’s best to give them a by ball. 

Your turn to throw a wobbler, lose the bap, throw the head up, throw a tantrum or even a hissy fit will come up sooner or later in these trying times.

In the meantime, “Night, night, John Boy.”


Réitím go maith le ... (raycheem gaw myh le) - I get on well with ... 

réitím go maith le mo theaghlach (raycheem gaw myh le maw haowlakh) - I get on well with my family 

le mo dheartháracha (le maw yarharaha) - with my brothers

le mo dheirfiúracha (le maw yerferaha) - with my sisters

réitím go maith le mo thuismitheoirí (raycheem gaw myh le maw hishmahoree) - I get on well with my parents

tá caidreamh an-dlúth eatarthu (taa cadgeroo an-dloo ateroo) - they have a very close relationship

tá dlúthcheangal acu le chéile (taa dlookyangal acoo le cayla) - they have close ties with each other.

strus (strus) - stress 

teannas (chaniss) - tension

An mbeidh tú i bhfad? (un may too i waad) - Will you be long? 

na soithigh (ne soyhee) - the dishes

an níochán (un neeakhaan) - laundry

an cianrialóir (un kanereealore) - the remote control

an milleán (un milaan) - the blame 

“Ná cuir an milleán ormsa” (na ker un milaan orimsa) - don’t blame me

fáinne fí (faanya fee) - the vicious circle 

tugann tú maithiúnas dó/di (tugan too myhooniss daw/dee) - you forgive him/her

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