Irish language

More of us are finding solace in a variety of artworks during the pandemic

SPIRIT LEVEL: Not only do you have to find the right image that will share your home with you and contribute to whatever mood you are in, but you also have to have it sitting at exactly the right height and angle
Robert McMillen

HAPPY EASTER to all you apprentice Irish speakers from all corners of the globe, you are all welcome to the Bluffer’s Guide to Irish.

If you don’t mind being asked a personal question, cad é atá ar crochadh ar do bhallaí? - what is hanging on your walls?

The reason he asks is because he read an article saying that the artwork people are hanging on their walls has changed during the dianghlasáil - lockdown.

Anseo sa chúige - here in the province or sa tuaisceart - in the north, it depends on what tradition you were raised in so you might have a Croí Naofa - a Sacred Heart or an Rí Liam ag trasnú na Bóinne - King Billy crossing the Boyne.

In the 1960s nearly every Catholic household had the dream team of Pope John XXIII and JFK watching over them above the mantelpiece.

There was also the ubiquitous Miss Wong by Tretchikoff bringing a touch of exotica to the mean streets of working class Belfast and many other areas. 

Upstairs was different. In teenage land, walls were adorned with póstaeir - posters of David Cassidy or Siouxsie and the Banshees or Guns N’ Roses, depending on the ré inar mhair tú - the era you lived in, your gender and musical tastes.

Student flats were different again and more likely to feature Jim Fitzpatrick’s iconic Che Guevera than a Pontiff.

An t-aos léinn - students, before they lost their radicalism and became merchant bankers, used to have sisters of réabhlóidithe - revolutionaries like the above mentioned Che joined by Ho Chi Minh or they were into scannáin sainealaíne - arthouse films such as A Clockwork Orange and to show how cultured they were there would also be a work by M. Toulouse Lautrec.

However, in the times we live in, people are googling and going on Artfinder to find íomhánna - images, píosaí ealaíne - pieces of art or just plain pictiúir - pictures that will have them through the pandemic.

More and more of us are looking for artwork containing tránna - beaches and crainn - trees to give us a sense of connection with the outside world.

Another spike in interest was shown in the tuar ceatha - rainbow,    aagiven the NHS fight against Covid-19.

Also are on people’s walls, you might have family pictures, the kids in their gowns holding their céimeanna - degrees, three flying ducks, a tapestry, mirrors, the head of the wildebeest you shot in that safari in Africa and so on.  

However, the opposite also happened as Artfinder also saw a rise in interest for an ealaín theibí - abstract art, suggesting we are now looking for an alternative escape from reality. 

“Tógann sé mo chroí” - it raises my heart is what you might say about your favourite artwork.

Michal Szczesny, CEO of Artfinder says “Pablo Picasso once said that ‘art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life’ and people have been washing away the dust of stay-home orders by seeking out art that depicts soul-soothing settings.” 

(You can find out more about what people are putting on their walls at


cad é atá ar crochadh ar do bhallaí? (cadge ay ataa er crokhoo er daw walee) - What is hanging on your walls?

dianghlasáil (jane-glasaal) - lockdown

anseo sa chúige (anshaw sa khooiga) - here in the province 

sa tuaisceart (sa tooishkeart) - in the north

Croí Naofa (cree neefa) - a sacred heart

an Rí Liam ag trasnú na Bóinne (un ree liam eg trasnoo na bo-inya) - King Billy crossing the Boyne

póstaeir (postayr) - posters 

an ré inar mhair tú (un ray inar waar too) - the era you lived in

An t-aos léinn (un tees layn) - students

réabhlóidithe (rayvloydgeeha) - revolutionaries

scannáin sainealaíne (scanaan sine-aleenya) - arthouse films

íomhánna (eeoowana) - images

píosaí ealaíne (peesee aleenya) - pieces of art or just plain 

pictiúir (pictoor) - pictures

tránna (traana) - beaches 

crainn (crin) - trees 

tuar ceatha (toor kyaha) - rainbow

céimeanna (caymana) - degrees

an ealaín theibí (unyaleen haybee) - abstract art

tógann sé mo chroí (toegan shay maw khree) - it raises my heart

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