Irish language

Dinnseanchas agus seanfhocal - an Irish place-name and a proverb

Robert McMillen

DINNSEANCHAS

Shannonbridge - Droichead na Sionnainne - the Shannon bridge

Shannonbridge is a village located on the River Shannon not far from the historical site of Clonmacnoise, the famous monastery founded in 544 by Saint Ciarán.

“At Curley’s Island between Shannonbridge and Clonmacnoise, there is a legendary ford of Snámh Dá Éan (“swim two birds”). 

It was here that a proselytising Saint Patrick ostensibly crossed the Shannon into Connacht, and much later the Anglo-Normans considered the ford important enough to be guarded by one of their campaign forts. 

Accordingly, they constructed the great Motte of Clonburren on the Roscommon side of the river, within sight of an even-then declining early Christian nunnery.”

Of course, to many it conjures up Flann O’Brian’s book At Swim-Two-Birds.

SEANFHOCAL

Is minic bréag ar aonach.

There is often a lie at the fair.

The Bluffer has tried to imagine what a 19th century fair would have looked like. 

No doubt there would be all kinds of chicanery going on as people tried to get as much money as possible for their wares – by fair means or foul. A lame horse might be passed off as Arkle; a life-enhancing elixir might be sold to a gullible invalid or money might magically disappear from a purse and who knows what happens when large amounts of alcohol are consumed.

They say that money is the root of all evil and looking at what this Tory government is doing, you tend to believe it. 

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Topics

Categories

Irish language