GO mbeannaí Dia daoibh, a chairde, hello to my life-long friends and newbies alike, you are all welcome to a very sad Bluffer’s Guide to Irish.
Tá brón air - he is sad because this is the last Guide he will write from the offices of the Irish Newsi Sráid Dhún na nGall - in Donegall Street.
After 117 years, the doors of the newspaper will close and its structure refashioned to begin a new life because the only constant in life is change or, as they say in Irish, ní buan gach ní a chaitear – nothing on earth is permanent.
The photograph opposite looking up Donegall Street, for example, was taken in 1915.
None of the people in the photo are alive today. The Metropole Hotel has gone and so has Duffin’s.
Níl tramanna againn níos mó - we no longer have trams but St Patrick’s and Clifton House still stand although one of the trams is obscuring the view of the Irish News offices which would have been reporting on An Chéad Chogadh Domhanda - the First World War, the battle for Riail Baile - Home Rule, bá an Lusitania - the sinking of the Lusitania and Belfast Celtic winning the League.
However, the Irish News had to wait for another 85 years until the arrival of the Bluffer onto its pages – but it was worth the wait, I think you’ll agree.
Actually, he wrote his first article for the paper in 1984, Stair na Nollag - the history of Christmas which has achieved mythical status in his own imagination.
The inside of the Irish News looks very different now to what it did 39 years ago.
Gone are na clóscríobháin - the typewriters as the computer has taken over; na clóphreasanna - the printing presses with its attendant noise and its skilled workforce and iriseoirí meisce - boozy journalists!
And what ever happened to gearrscríobh - shorthand?
The Bluffer started off writing sainaltanna - features and got to go on turasanna sómhara preasa - exotic press trips to Tunisia, Thailand and Portrush.
He regularly went to the Dorchester Hotel for preasócáidí - press events for new films and got to ask questions of Angelina Jolie, Ben Kingsley, Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman while back at his desk in the Irish News, he interviewed Ken Morley - aka Reg Holdsworth from Coronation Street!
But it wasn’t all glamour in Donegall Street.
Bhí na deora leis - he was in tears as the Dunblane Massacre unfolded on 13 March 1996 and over five years later, he and an fhoireann nuachta - the news team watched as the first and then the second plane crashed into the Twin Towers.
Luckily, the Bluffer didn’t work at the Irish News during the Troubles but tá meas as cuimse aige - he has great respect for those who did.
It must have been an emotional rollercoaster for many of them.
However, times have moved on and so must the Irish News.
A new chapter is about to begin as it moves to a new home in the Fountain Centre. Plus ça change ...
Tá brón air (taa brone er) - he is sad
i Sráid Dhún na nGall (i sraadge goon na ngaal) - in Donegall Street
ní buan gach ní a chaitear (nee booan gakh nee a khiytcher) – nothing on earth is permanent
Níl tramanna againn níos mó (nee tramana ageen nees moe) - we no longer have trams
An Chéad Chogadh Domhanda (un cayd khugoo dowanda) - the First World War,
Riail Baile (reeal balla) - Home Rule
bá an Lusitania (ba un lusitania) - the sinking of the Lusitania
Stair na Nollag (starh ne nullag) - the history of Christmas
na clóscríobháin (ne clawshkreeoowaan) - the typewriters
na clóphreasanna (na clawfrasana) - the printing presses
gearrscríobh (gyarshcreeoo) - shorthand
iriseoirí meisce (irishoree meshka) - boozy journalists
sainaltanna (siynaltana) - features
turasanna sómhara preasa (turasana sawera prassa) - exotic press trips
Bhí na deora leis (vee na jora lesh) - he was in tears
an fhoireann nuachta (un irin nooakhta) - the news team
tá meas as cuimse aige do ... (taa mass as kimsha iyga do) - he has great respect for ...