Hiyaz, my companions on the road to full fluency, you are all welcome to the Bluffer’s Guide to Irish.
Bhí cuairteoirí againn - we had visitors last week all the way from Caerdydd (that’s Cardiff to you monoglots) and we spent a seachtain lomlán - a chocabloc week, showing what this part of the world had to offer.
On Friday, we jumped into the car and headed to an Caisleán Nua - Newcastle in County Down. Why? Well, to sample the folcadáin feamainne - seaweed baths, of course. And what a treat they were!
Our company of four fitted into two baths in the one room, both filled with sáile - seawater and an fheamainn - the seaweed which was harvested locally.
It is claimed that the seaweed is great for cailleadh meáchain - weight loss; is better than any uachtar frithroctha - anti-wrinkle cream at keeping your skin as tight as a bodhrán; helps with eachma - eczema and even with the bould tinneas póite - a hangover as well.
The seaweed made the water really oily and rubbing it into your hair is as good as any conditioner.
After feeling renewed after the bath – the seaweed is used only once and is brought to a local farmer who uses it as fertilizer – we headed across the border to An tInbhear Mór, aka Arklow where our friend Joe Doherty lives.
Rugadh Joe ar leathláimh - Joe was born with one arm but he is more active than most of the men I know!
Not only did he put us up for two nights but he took us for walks along the nearby beach where, despite the fog, there were groups of fishermen trying to catch some faoitín - whiting, trosc - codling fíogach - dogfish and other fish.
Rón - a seal appeared nearby which wasn’t good news for na hiascairí - the fishermen.
One of the couples who were fishing were from an Úcráin - the Ukraine, having recently settled in Co. Wicklow.
Then Joe took the others to visit the stunning Gleann dá Loch - Glendalough while the Bluffer slaved away at his laptop.
We went to a small village called Redcross for our last meal in Leinster, heading to Micky Finn’s for the food and to sample the beer they make in the attached microbrewery!
Not too much was drunk as we had a long journey ahead, to Donegal via Belfast, so after saying goodbye to Joe, we headed off towards Teach Campbell ar an Bhun Bheag - in Bunbeg, áit ar stop muid thar oíche - where we stayed overnight, enjoying my favourite BnB in Donegal.
Let’s face it, there’s not always a lot to do in Donegal – but we and our guests loved it.
We went down to the little harbour and marvelled at the fishing boats and wondered at the life of the people there.
With the fresh air in our lungs, it was over to Teach Leo, home to the Brennans of Clannad fame for another lovely meal before hitting Teach Hiúdaí Beag for some live music.
Our visitors from An Bhreatain Bheag - Wales were at last able to hear a session of traditional music in an Irish-speaking area - the first time they had ever heard the language!
They left enchanted.
Bhí cuairteoirí againn (vee coortchoree ageen) - we had visitors
seachtain lomlán (shakhtin lumlaan) - a chocabloc week
an Caisleán Nua (un cashlaan nooa) - Newcastle
folcadáin feamainne (folcadaan faminya) - seaweed baths
sáile (saale) - seawater
an fheamainn (un yamin) - the seaweed
cailleadh meáchain (kyleyoo mahaan) - weight loss
uachtar frithroctha (ooakhter free-rawkha) - anti-wrinkle cream
eachma (ekhma) - eczema
tinneas póite (chinyiss pawtcha) - a hangover
Rugadh Joe ar leathláimh (rugoo joe ar lahlaav) - Joe was born with one arm
faoitín (fweetcheen) - whiting
trosc (trosc) - codling
fíogach (feeogakh) - dogfish
rón (rone) - a seal
na hiascairí (ne heeaskeree) - the fishermen
an Úcráin (un oocraan) - the Ukraine
Gleann dá Locha (glaan daa lawkha) - Glendalough
ar an Bhun Bheag (er un wun vig) - in Bunbeg
áit ar stop muid thar oíche (íytch er stop midge har eeha) - where we stayed overnight
An Bhreatain Bheag (un vratan vig) - Wales