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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2001 (July-December) » Irish phrase from the movie "The Secret of Roan Inish" « Previous Next »

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todd carlson (148.61.145.20)
Posted on Monday, September 24, 2001 - 04:35 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I was watching one of my favorite films, "The Secret of Roan Inish" the other day. If you are not familiar with this film, you should find it. It is wonderful. The film is in English, but in one scene the is a phrase of Irish spoken and I was wondering what is said. If you are familiar with the film, it is in the flashback of a story being told by the grandfather of the family patriarch who is mad at the English school master who wouldn't let him speak his native language. If anyone is familiar with this film and knows the translation of this phrase, please post and send me the answer at carlsont@gvsu.edu

Thanks in advance.

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Pól (199.95.204.183)
Posted on Monday, September 24, 2001 - 08:12 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I haven't seen it in a while, Todd, but I seem to remember the schoolmaster forcing him to wear a donkey harness for speaking Irish, and the character says something like, I'm not your donkey.
Then beats the crap out of him.
A great movie.
I've heard it said that the O Conghaile family traces their line back to seals...
Ádh mór/Good luck,
Paul

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Lúcas (64.19.130.78)
Posted on Monday, September 24, 2001 - 10:10 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Yes, I think I remember that scene. Grandfather is telling his grandaughter the story of a boy who was different. One day in school the boy is forced to wear some kind of straw harness for being caught speaking Irish. After being taunted in the school yard, the boy throws the harness at the school master and says, "Sac suas do thóin é." (Stick it up you arse.) The boy runs off and then there is a flashback to the Granfather. The Grandmother, looking shocked, chastises him for using that kind of language in front of the child.

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todd carlson (148.61.145.20)
Posted on Tuesday, September 25, 2001 - 02:18 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Thanks so much for the quick replies! You describe the scene perfectly. I will watch the film againg to here if "Sac suas do thóin é." is correct. It seems he says a couple of sentences so he may also say something about a donkey. I was wondering what that rope ring around his neck was. After the Grandmother chastises the Grandfather for the foul language, the Grandfather asks the Granddaughter if she understands and she says "I don't have any Irish", which the Grandmother admits is a pity. Is the phrase "I don't have any Irish" a typical way of saying "I don't speak Irish" or is that a creation of the screenwiter (an American)? Also, my favorite line from the movie paraphrased) is "I can't see the future - I can see the past quite well, and the present when the weather is clear". Does this originate from Ireland or another creation of the screenwriter?

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Alan Ó hAoire (154.11.218.34)
Posted on Tuesday, September 25, 2001 - 03:17 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Dia Daoibh,

Another interesting bit of film presenting the Irish language, which surprised me given it's date and the main character, is the Quiet Man, a 1952 film starring the Duke (John Wayne). It takes place in beautiful Innisfree, and at some point during the film the Dukes wife (Maureen O'Hara) and her Priest hold a short conversation in Irish, and with no subtitles. I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. Great movie, with lots of 50's style romance (posing in front of the camera and staring off into space), I recommend it for the landscape, and the comic wit of the film.

Slán,
Alan Ó hAoire

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Seosamh (198.211.71.70)
Posted on Tuesday, September 25, 2001 - 04:17 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

In "The Quiet Man" various aspects of Irish tradition are displayed in a way that is, I think, both Hollywood and smarmy on the one hand, respectful and affectionate on the other. To show the language, they worked in a little scene where -- if I remember this right -- the new bride wants to discuss their marital problems. She asks the priest if she can talk about this in Irish. That has a ring of truth. You can imagine that this is a Gaeltacht or, more likely, a breac-Ghaeltacht area and the priest is from outside (from the Galltacht), so they are used to speaking to him in English. But the problem is too personal for her to discuss in English.

Of course, they couldn't let the conversation go on too long, not without subtitles, so when the young woman says that her husband has been sleeping in a sleeping bag (instead of their marraige bed), the priest doesn't understand the term 'mála codlata' and he asks her to switch back to English.

An chuimhneach le duine ar bith "Darby O'Gill and the Little People"?

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Seosamh (198.211.71.70)
Posted on Tuesday, September 25, 2001 - 04:30 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

An cuimhneach le duine ar bith "Darby O'Gill and the Little People"?

Someone above mentioned the Connollys and the seals. This is from _Scéalta Chois Cladaigh_, published by Comhairle Bhéaloideas Éireann:

(From a storyteller:)

"Agus deir siad, más fíor, níl fhios agam ar fíor bréag é, gur Cloinneadh Conólaigh, mar a dúirt an fear eile, gnoithe na rónta."

Book's translation:

"And it seems, whether it be true or false, that the seal business, as the man said, has to do with the Connollys."

"[Besides the Connollys,] the Conamara Conneelys, the Sugrues in Kerry, the Cathánaigh (Keanes) of the Mullet Peninsula in Mayo and the McCodrums of Scotland are also said to be connected with the seals -- cf. X ... for .. names of families traditionally associated with other animals."

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Lúcas (209.191.34.177)
Posted on Tuesday, September 25, 2001 - 10:36 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Todd,

You asked, "Is the phrase 'I don't have any Irish' a typical way of saying 'I don't speak Irish' or is that a creation of the screenwiter (an American)? Actually it is an Irish language idiom, often used in Hirberno English. To express that you know how to do something, you can "Tá ____ agam."
For example,

Tá Gaeilge agam. I have Irish. (I can speak Irish)
Literally: Irish is at me.
Tá snámh agam. I have swimming. (I can swim.)
Tá galf agam. I have golf. (I can golf)
...

The negative would be.

Níl Gaeilge agam. I don't have Irish. (I cannot speak Irish.)

In the first chapter of James Joyce's "Ulysses," Haines, the Englishman is speaking to the Irish milk woman in Irish. She thinks he is speaking French, until Buck Mulligan asks her "Is there Gaelic on you?" This interesting because it should be, "Is there Gaelic at you." Did Joyce get it wrong? Probably not. He studied Irish for a bit under Patrick Pearse. I think this is a play on words. He uses the idiom one would use for a sickness, e.g., "Is there a cold on you?" In other words, Buck is saying do you have the affliction of speaking Irish?

Lúcas

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