A BIG HELLO to the proud possessors of travel passes (while they last) and to the still-have-to-pays you are all welcome to the Bluffer’s Guide to Irish.
The Bluffer is writing this magnificent page while ar an traein - on the train from Belfast to Derry and a thought has just occurred to him.
Fásra is vegetation so cad é an fásra a fhásann cois an bhóthair iarainn? What vegetation grows beside railways?
(A railway is a bóthar iarainn - an iron road (as in chemin de fer as they say in French).
Are there certain types of crainn - trees, tomanna - bushes, fálta sceach - hedgerow that are particularly suited to growing beside railway tracks?
Of course, things have changed since the days of the galinneall - the steam engine which would have left a lot of súiche - soot around the areas it passed through.
This apparently helped certain plandaí - plants to thrive and they are still around.
The worry back then was that craobhacha - branches would fall from trees or ainmhithe fiáine - wild animals would walk onto the line, whereas today the danger of speicis lonracha - invasive species such as the bould glúineach bhiorach- Japanese ragwort, the same yoke that is growing on the other side of the Bluffer’s back fence!
The Belfast-Derry train, however, offers a great variety of scenery as you trundle past.
Despite the slowness of trains in the north, the Bluffer loves travelling by rail.
There is the hope that, sometime in the future, that the whole transport infrastructure will be improved in the north and he is a big supporter of Into the West, the group who are campaigning to have train services restored to counties Derry, Donegal, Tyrone and Fermanagh.
The group’s Facebook page lists seven buntáistí - advantages that derive from rail travel.
Cuidíonn sé leis an ghelleagar - it helps the economy because people and businesses want to locate where there are good transport facilities.
Cruthaíonn sé deiseannaoibre - it creates opportunities because people can get training and education more easily.
Cuidíonn sé leis an troid in éadan athrú aeráide - it helps in the fight against climate change and brú tráchta - traffic congestion, the boon of many of our lives and, at the same time, will give sometimes life-changing mobility to people who don’t have a car.
And train travel also offers the chance for tourists to see places they might have considered too out of the way to travel to.
So, there the Bluffer is, looking out as the magnificent Magilligan Strand glides by and when the scenery changes to peoples’ back yards, he can take out a book or his laptop to watch a film or a TV programme he has downloaded.
That’s not to say that everything about train journeys is hunky-dory. They are notoriously slow, there is the chance, especially in the summer, of drunken youths getting on board but all in all, but given the choice, taking the iron road is a great way to travel.
ar an traein (er un trayn) - on the train from Belfast to Derry
fásra (faasra) - vegetation
cad é an fásra a fhásann cois an bhóthair iarainn? (cadge ay un faasra a aasan cosh un woher eeraan) - What vegetation grows beside railways?
crainn (crin) - trees
tomanna (tomana) - bushes
fálta sceach (faalta shkyakh) - hedgerow
galinneall (galinyil) - a steam engine
súiche (sooeeha) - soot
plandaí (plaandee) - plants
craobhacha (crayooaha) - branches
ainmhithe fiáine (anyiveeha feeana) - wild animals
speicis lonracha (spayckish lonraha) - invasive species
glúineach bhiorach (gloonyakh virakh) - Japanese ragwort
buntáistí (buntaashtee) - advantages
Cuidíonn sé leis an ghelleagar (cudgeean shay lesh un yellegar) - it helps the ecomony
Cruthaíonn sé deiseanna oibre (crooheean shay jeshana ibra) - it creates job opportunities
Cuidíonn sé leis an troid in éadan athrú aeráide (cudgeean shay lesh an tridge in aydan ahroo ayraadge) - it helps in the fight against climate change.
brú tráchta (broo traakhta) - traffic congestion