Unlike the previous two stories, which were taken from Seán Mac Giollarnáth’s wonderful Annála Beaga ó Iorrus Aithneach, this one comes from one of Liam Mac Coisdealbha’s notebooks in the Main Manuscript Collection of the Folklore Department at UCD. These are the transcribed manuscripts collected by the IFC in the 30s, in pure, unadulterated form.


The reason I turned to this was to pull some stories from Éamonn a’ Búrc, one of the last great seanchaí of Carna. There is a book of his stories published, edited by Peadar Ó Ceannabháin; however, a ridiculous amount of standardization has been done on the stories, completely removing many of the telling dialectal features (including examples of metathesis, something that’s difficult to find in writings in general). To combat this, I’ve decided to turn to the original manuscripts, and transcribe some of them here.


Today’s story, however, doesn’t seem to be in the book. It is titled An Triúr Searrachán, and can be found at the linked location above. All material is able to use as long as proper citation is given, to the best of my knowledge.

Rí a bhí fadó ann agus bhí bean bhreá dh’inghean aige. Duairt sé go dtiúbhradh sé an inghean dhon fhear ba leisgiúla sa domhan. Badh iad an triúr searrachán annsin an triúr ba leisgiúla sa domhan. Nuair a chuala an triúr searrachán é thaithnigh an bhean leothab fhéin agus duairt achan fhear acab -dhen triúr – go mbadh é fhéin ba leisgiúla; agus húradh (= dubhradh) leothab nuair a ghabhfaidís i láthair an rí go mbadh é sin an fear a d’innseódh dhób cé acab ba leisgiúla, agus go mbeadh an inghean le fáil ag a’ bhfear is leisgiúla.

Chuadar go dtí é, agus nuair a tháiniceadar isteach go dtí é d’fhiarthuigh sé dhen fhear is sine acub cé an leisge is mó a bhí ann.

“Bheul” adeir sé, “tá mé cho leisgiúil ‘gus dhá gcuirteá ‘mo shuí annsin i lár an urláir mé agus a’ dá dhorus osgailt agus a’ teach a lasadh os mo chíonn nach gcorróinn dhen urlár nó go ndóightí mé le leisge!”

“Cén leisge atá anois ort-sa?” adeir sé leis a’ darna fear.

“Tá mise cho leisgiúil,” adeir a’ darna fear, “‘gus dhá leagtaí thíos ar íochtar na trágha mé – tráigh mhór – nach leigfeadh a’ leisge dhom éirí as an áit sin nó go dtigeadh a’taoille tuile agus go mbáití mé le leisge!”

“Cé an leisge (atá) ionnat-sa?” adeir an sé leis a’ bhfear is óige?

“Tá mise cho leisgiúil,” adeir an tríú fear, “agus dhá mbeadh an bhean is breágtha sa domhain,” adeir sé, “ar leaba taobh thuas díom le balla agus ar cholú na leapa, agus me bheith iompuithe annuas uatha (= uaithe), nach leigfeadh a’ leisge dhom iompú go deo léithi.”

Badh é an fear is óige ba leisgiúla agus ‘sé fuair an inghean ón rí, le leisge.

  • dh’inghean – What’s happening here is the Connemara tendency to pronounce ‘de’ as ‘go’; it’s being written ‘dh’. This happens many places in the story for both ‘do’ and ‘de’.
  • inghean – iníon in the modern spelling; this is often said with a slender ‘n’ in Connemara, and better written as inín, though iníon can be heard.
  • tiúbhradh – ‘thabharfadh’ in the Standard. In modern spelling, ‘tiúrfadh’ would be expected.
  • Badh iad – In the Standard, this would be written as ‘b’iad’. In Connemara, it’s often said as ‘ba dh’iad’. This holds true with ‘ba dh’é’ and ‘ba dh’í’ as well.
  • thaithnigh – ‘Taitin’ in the Standard; the root form in Connemara is often ‘taithnigh’
  • leothab – leob, the Connemara form of ‘leo’
  • fhéin – ‘féin’ is often said as ‘héin’ in Connemara, though this is written as ‘fhéin’
  • achan – This comes from ‘gach aon’. I would’ve expected ‘chuile’ here, from ‘gach uile’. ‘achan’ can be heard, though ‘chaon’ is more common in my experience, with the meaning ‘both’; generally, I associate ‘achan’ with Donegal, in place of ‘chuile’
  • acab – a form of ‘acu’ in Connemara
  • húradh – This shows something discussed in the last post, where the ‘root’ past tense of ‘abair’ has been analyzed as ‘úirt’. Thus ‘úradh’ is the past tense autonomous instead of ‘dúradh’. Generally, in Connemara, if the past tense autonomous begins with a vowel, an h is prefixed.
  • ghabhfaidís – As mentioned previously, ‘gabh’ has all but supplanted ‘rach-‘ as the root form of the conditional and future of ‘téigh’. ‘Rachaidís’ would be highly uncommon in dialectal speech in Connemara.
  • dhób – Usually, I hear this with a slender b, but it’s the Connemara form of ‘dóibh’. It’s common in Connemara for word-final ‘bh’ in pronomial forms to become just ‘b’, .i. ‘sib’, ‘lib’, ‘daoib’.
  • a’ fear – This is ‘an’. The /n/ is often dropped before a consonant, in all situations. This is actually used in the orthography in Scottish Gaelic (as is the change of /n/>/m/ in certain sandhi situations). It’s a shame it isn’t in Irish
  • Chuadar – Past tense third person plural of ‘téigh’. This synthetic is still quite common in Connemara; in fact, it’s given rise to a new third person pronoun which is replacing ‘siad’ – ‘dar’. This started in South Connemara in Ros Muc to my knowledge, but has sense spread. It was a feature of Recess Irish in Galway as well (though I believe that dialect it, if it isn’t dead, is very weak)
  • tháiniceadar – Same as above, but notice the /c/ at the end of ‘tháinic’. Usually word-final consonants are devoiced
  • fiarthuigh – This is ‘fiafraigh’ in the standard. Despite how this looks, the metathesis actually occurred in the Standard, not Connemara (written as ‘fiathraigh’ in IIA, though always /rh/ in the transcriptions)
  • cho – chomh in the Standard. Often said with a short vowel in Connemara, though chó and comh are both heard.
  • ‘gus – ‘agus’ is often abbreviated agus ‘gus’ or ‘is’ or even ‘s’ (Dia’s Muire dhuit)
  • dhá – dá in the Standard. Pretty much always ‘dhá’ in Connemara
  • darna – dara in the Standard
  • tigeadh – tiocfadh in the Standard. ‘Tar’ often has many possible stems, with ‘teag-‘ being the most common nowadays.
  • breághtha – This would be ‘breácha’, though ‘breáichte’ is also heard.
  • uatha – A Connemara form of ‘uaithi’
  • léithi – A Connemara form of léi
  • ‘sé – ‘Is é’ is said like this in all dialects, though the Standard prohibits writing it like that


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *