On Monday, I was cycling to collect our 9-year old from school and spotted this plaque at St. Finbarr’s Hospital on Douglas Road. It took a while to register but then came the eureka moment when I remembered last year a discussion as to ‘Othar’, meaning a patient.
So, just as ‘Uachtarlann’ is a ‘creamery’ or more literally, ‘Cream Building;’ Leabhlarlann’ is ‘library’ (book building), and ‘marclann’ a ‘stable’, so ‘Otharlann’ is a ‘house of patients’.
The CUH uses ‘Ospidéal’ and not ‘Otharlann’ so maybe ‘Otharlann’ is falling out of use in favour of English-ised Irish.
That very morning the same 9-year old ‘corrected’ my use of ‘gluaisteán’ for ‘car’, saying that ‘carr’ was correct. It is interesting to note that Focloir.ie lists ‘carr’ ahead of ‘gluaisteán’ and also lists ‘ospidéal’ ahead of ‘otharlann’.
After two years of conversational Irish class, I have now realised that language is not mathematical; that it does not always translates exactly; and that it is forever changing and growing.
Continuing my cycle, I wondered as to how many other Irish words did I once know, that have now been replaced by an English-ised Irish word. However many there might be, I have not been able to recall another but suspect there are quite a few.