There we were- waiting.
The 17th of January, and the first family meeting, with the care staff at Marymount Hospice, was imminent.
I don’t know what people do to prepare for or even distract from such meetings.
Me – I read the sign and was immediately on Teanglann as I had understood that the word was spelled ‘Agallamh’. The web confirmed that ‘Agallamh’ was nominative singular and genitive plural; and that, ‘Agallaimh’ was genitive singular and nominative plural.
‘Agaill’ is another word for ‘interview’ – but no sign anywhere of ‘Agaillimh’, except on the door of this room, possibly deliberately placed there to distract the likes of me.
Fast forward to May Day and the Cherry Blossom petals getting a bit of a bettering with the weather.
I have taken my chair. I wait to be called to request and receive a Death Certificate. I am once again distracted, trying to remember the genitive plural – fairly sure that it ought to be ‘Agallamh’
When I took my place in Interview Room 4, I was absolutely convinced that both ‘Seomra Agallaimh’ and ‘Seomraí Agallaimh’ could not both be correct.
Sometimes it is good to be distracted.
As I have mentioned more than once, I really appreciate poetry in the public realm.
I got a very pleasant surprise heading over town for lunch, a few chill out moments, compliments of PoetryDayIRL
When walking back to work, I could have been mistaken for a dog with the level of interest I gave to every tree en route. Unlike the dog’s bladder, I was unsatisfied as I did not spot any more.
I had hoped to get to the launch of Gerry Murphy’s new offering today at the City Library (17.30) but it looks like life will intervene.
In compensation, one of Gerry’s poems will form my contribution to @Poe_A_Tree when I leave work today – maybe there will be time for more when I get home later.
I do not remember learning the Irish word for daffodil when I was in school.
Four years ago, standing in our front garden, chatting with a neighbour who knew that I had started Conversational Irish classes, SOK pointed over and mentioned ‘Lus an Cromchinn’.
My questioning continued in English. I was rewarded with the expression – Flower of the Stooped Head.
Every Spring morning since then, opening the front door, I smile at the bowed heads.
Some days, there is a nod of acknowledgement.
Not for the first time on our Conversational Irish walk, I was delighted with the literal translation of a new Irish word learned.
Last Summer, I had learned of an expression from West Cork – as tough as ath fhéithlean, a bi-lingual acknowledgement of the strength and stubbornness of Woodbine. I had always known the plant as Woodbine, quite probably the name was ingrained following many visits with my grandfather to those institutions that no longer exist, the tobacconist. He had a preferred mix of a number of brands for his pipe.
It was well into the second half of my years to date before I knew it was also called Honeysuckle.
A few weeks later, as we walked around Blackrock and Bessboro, I learned of “Fás Aon Oíche”, or “Grows One Night”.
I thought it was such a lovely name, perfectly describing what was in front of us – a mushroom.
Only the previous week, sitting on a high stool while on holidays, Tim imparted the benefit of his local knowledge. We now know where to find mushrooms while on holidays.
A few days after that Conversational Irish walk, I headed west for the Dingle peninsula to pack up everything and everyone – the return home after the Kerry Summer Experience. Before leaving that Saturday, I headed out early and collected a cap-full of mushrooms that had sprouted up that night. It remains my most recent meal on the Dingle peninsula.
I can still recall the buzz of foraging and the flavours enjoyed.
A tweet last weekend from Robert Macfarlane on ‘puhpowee’, a native North American word for the force that pushes mushrooms up overnight, assisted in getting this blog from my brain into the virtual world.
It has also prompted a separate section of other words in Irish that brought a smile with their literal translations – Head of a Cat; Seal’s Snot; and, others. Hopefully, even more will be added over time.
I didn’t make it back to the West Cork Stone Symposium. It was on this weekend but time, and life, didn’t allow me a spare day. I did order my chisels from TabulaRasa – I write that more as a rebuke and reminder to self, rather than a piece of information for readers.
When visiting Paris in November 2016, I spotted this engraver adding to the writings on stone surrounding a grave. I could have spent an hour or more just watching. Disneyland was calling for a ten year old so I did not have that luxury, but in the few minutes that I stood and admired, I was struck by the difficulty in the stance of the craftsman; his patience; and, the peace of the cemetery.
Leaving Cimetiére de Montmartre that morning, I remembered when, less than two weeks previous, on another lovely morning, we took time out of the Bank Holiday weekend to visit another cemetery – in Crosshaven when I left puzzled as to the correction made in a headstone.
I have blogged previously as to some stone engraving that might be considered less than perfect. Unlike the headstone at St. Bartholomew’s in Kinneigh, I did not for a moment consider this to be the work of a family relative.
I have on a few occasions pondered why the correction was made and allowed stand. I would have thought that many would have erected a new stone.
Maybe Mr. Porteous was a bit of a joker and wanted the last laugh at those left behind.
Maybe, it was deliberate to prompt passers-by, such as yours truly, to pause a while longer and think of Joseph McNeil Porteous – if so, it worked.
The tweets earlier today on other headstone corrections reminded me again of Joseph Porteous and prompted this rambling.
Above is a painting by Sir John Lavery held in Crawford Art Gallery.
Below are photographs of the interiors of three Cathedrals.
Take your pick.
This blog post has been rambling around my brain for over two years – hopefully it will not be as long when you get to the end.
With the Taoiseach in the White House today, I was reminded as to a story told, possibly with some truth, of metal detectors picking up some strange findings in the White House a while back.
Last December, I had a novel experience accompanied by nuggets of information – local and traditional – that many might consider trivia, but which I believe are pure gems.
It was my first visit to the refurbishment of and extension to a cottage on one of the hills looking down on the city. This is my fourth decade attending building sites but that December Friday was the first time a client arrived to a site meeting with a pot of homemade hearty soup accompanied by some bread and cheese – very welcome they were, as the regular cold wind was blowing up the hill to compliment the damp environment of a house being plastered.
A sheet of plywood acted as the table and it was standing room only. It was not exactly homely, but the food put a stop to all talk of construction details and contract issues. We fell into general chatter which then veered towards traditions.
I had known of Gobnait’s Measure being used as a good luck charm for those in a building. I had visited the house where one of one of the Eucharistic Tiles was on a ledge over the front door to bless all those who enter the house. Until then, I had not known of the luck believed to follow the placing of coins in the floor of a building as it was being poured.
The builder told of a project, only two or three years previous, where the concrete lorry was on site but the builder was under clear instruction not to start pouring the floor until the client arrived with his coins to be placed in the four corners.
His colleague told a story from years back in Adrigole where the house owner left four sovereigns to be placed in the concrete floor as it was being poured. Seemingly, coins were placed in the floor slab, but not to the value of a sovereign.
As I was writing up this blog this evening, with a dirty black pint in Tigh an Cúinne, CC queried the use of a laptop in a pub. He was aware of coins in the floor – not necessarily four.
The morning of that site lunch, I had read that the architect of the White House had been born on that day in 1755 – 8th December. That lunchtime, I had heard that it is believed that the Kilkenny man, James Hoban, had placed coins in the corners of the White House which led to concern when the metal detectors went beeping, centuries later.
Whether true, embellished or pure fiction, I like.
Another blog post prompted by Folklore Thursday and the traditions associated with money……..
A few weeks back, I declined the option of a few hours at the Kildare Village outlet centre. Instead, I enjoyed chill out time around the town of Kildare, ending in a trip around St Brigid’s Cathedral and the adjoining cemetery.
On the corner of the building that I approached, I noted that one of the corner stones had a hole from one side to the other. I was intrigued.
As I was leaving, I spotted someone looking at this closely. When I asked, I learned that this was a wishing stone – one had to pass one’s hand through the stone and make a wish.
I was warned that one could not wish for love or money, as both were to come to you unbidden.
The topic of wealth and money on Folklore Thursday on twitter brought the wishing stone back to mind – reason enough for a blog post.
These steps have been closed for many years.
Growing up, I passed them regularly on my way home. In receipt of religious instruction, I travelled down them.
I cannot dance, or maybe don’t dance, but I clearly remember that there was a sense of rhythm in the moving down those steps – a sense of rhythm that was brought to mind when I walked past earlier this week, for the first time in a few years. It did allow a moment to look back.
The longer I reside on this planet, the more I become convinced that my mind will never become in tune with the mind of those involved in Marketing and Branding. They have provided many items that have provoked blog posts hereabouts.
Sunday morning in Dunshaughlin, I spotted this van and stopped for a while to consider how many ways there might be to pronounce it. No matter how I tried, I could not get past ‘HOW. SEX.’
For those of a certain vintage raised on movies of Cowboys and Indians, ‘HOW’ was a greeting repeated during streetgames and elsewhere. Raise one’s hand, palm facing away, say ‘HOW’ – was as good as ‘HELLO’ for most to whom it was addressed.
Today, I learned that ‘HAU’ was a term of greeting used by some American Indian tribes only. The movies did not distinguish and it was used by all – Sioux, Choctaw, Apache, and many more.
The pronunciation has rolled around my brain since Sunday morning and the best I can come up with is a speed dating type scenario – ‘HOW! SEX?’
I am not sure that is what SHOMERA or HOUSX intended. I suspect that would like their garden rooms to have many possible functions.
The website address on the van does not exist and is available to buy. The CIRI Register has a different website to the van.
Maybe the branding is a devious ploy for pedantic bloggers to spread the name – if so, it worked.
I have long been an admirer of public poetry.
I think Galway is the gold standard with carved stone, tile, and cast metal forms of poetry on display – just there, where you are not expecting it, where you can take a minute or two to read, pause, reflect and take time-out.
We all need time-out – well, I need time-out.
This morning, my journey to work took much longer due to the many poetry extracts that appeared overnight on poles.
This book was recently taken down from an attic in Ennis where it resided for probably close to 50 years. It is assumed that it belonged to the man who built the house but he was educated in Partry, Co. Mayo where he was born in 1918.
The web educates that fifth edition of the book was published in 1910. There is nothing to say whether this copy is a first or later edition.
Among those thanked in the Preface is an tAthair Pearar Ó Laoghaire, who died in 1920 and is buried in Castlelyons where Thomas Kent was reinterred in 2016. Seán Ó Catháin and Diarmaid Ó Foghludha are also thanked and, if I found the correct men, they died in 1937 and 1924 respectively, and were involved in Irish education.
sJames Griffin of Main Street in Dingle has his name written in the book. The 1911 Census reveals that there was only one James Griffin in Main Street, Dingle, the then youngest of ten children living with shopkeeper Michael and his wife, Kate. Their house was at 33 Main Street.
Having gone up and down the street on Google, very few premises have numbers on their doors. Even fewer appear to have the building number on their website or on weblistings. My best guess is that the south side (Foxy John’s; Benners) have odd numbers and the north side (Currans; St James’ Church) have the even numbers.
Number 33 would appear to be in or around McKenna’s . My mind supposes that young James Griffin, as one who had no problem with writing his name in many locations, was more interested in playing around the corner on Dykegate Street rather than perfecting the art of Irish Composition. The fact that at 4 his parents did not consider him able to speak either Irish or English, adds to that image.
I can understand how the book travelled from Partry to Ennis and why it resided in an attic for 50 years but am intrigued as to who Pat Carroll was; was he the second of three owners of the book; where was he living.
How the book got from Dingle to Partry is another riddle remaining unsolved.
I don’t think I have ever before enjoyed a book so much without reading it.
This was on the noticeboard of the city library a few weeks back.
I did wonder as to the survey…..
Whether one of the questions was how to spell ‘P-A-R-T-I-C-I-P-A-T-E’……
Whether one of the objectives was to measure tolerance for spelling and grammatical issues as one aged – may be there is hope for me yet
Blogs I Read & Links
Thought & Comment
For the Fainthearted
Bock The Robber
140 characters is usually enough
That’s How The Light Gets In
Tea and a Peach
Buildings & Things Past
Come Here To Me
Pilgrimage in Medieval Ireland
The Irish Aesthete
Ireland in History Day By Day
Buildings of Ireland
Irish War Memorials
The Standing Stone
Time Travel Ireland
Stair na hÉireann
Wide & Convenient Streets
The Irish Story
Our City, Our Town
West Cork History
Cork’s War of Independence
Cork Historical Records
Rebel Cork’s Fighting Story
40 Shades of Life in Cork