Historical Irish Corpus
1600 - 1926

Notes and Queries.

Notes and Queries.
Laoide, Seosamh,
Laoide, Seosamh (Lloyd, Joseph H.)
Composition Date
Connradh na Gaedhilge

Search Texts

1600 1926

Notes and Queries

405. The following names of the parts of a spade I
give as heard from natives of Townawilly, Co. Donegal:
Spáid, gen. spáide, spade, is certainly not from the Eng-
lish word, as in that case the resulting loan-word would
be indeclineable: it is clearly from Lat. spatha, probably
intermediately through some Romance language, a
fact confirmed by the thorough agreement in declen-
sion and gender. Lann na spáide, láighe na spáide
(glossed for me by gearradh na spáide), the blade of the
spade. In Connacht, however, láighe is applied to a
peculiar half-bladed spade, this difference of use being
noticed by some of my Townawilly informants. Cluas,
the foot-rest. Crann, the shaft. Muirtis, the hole in
the cág into which the crann goes. Cág, the cross-bar
at the top of the spade. I have heard cá so used also
in the Omeath district, Co. Louth.

406. Parts of a flail (súiste) from the same source:
Lámhchrann, handle; crothadh, thong; buailteán, strik-
ing part.

407. Parts of a scythe (speal), same source:
Doirníní, handles for holding scythe; crann, shaft;
sál, the joining between lann and crann; lann, blade;
bárr na lainne, end or tip of blade, béal na lainne, edge
of blade.

408. Brúille, a fragment, a crumb, O'Don. Supp.,
is evidently connected with the root of brúighim. It
is curious to find this word treated so differently in
varying dialect, though it is probably that the same
idea is at the bottom of each form — viz., a desire to
ease the pronunciation. In Munster we have the well-
known blúire by transposition of r and ll, the latter of
course changing to l after b. But who would suspect
at first sight by mere comparison of the two the
identity of blúire with the Ulster (Donegal) word
sprúille (s-brúille) formed by the simple addition of a
prosthetic s? The following are some examples of the
use of the latter:— Ní'l ionn acht sprúille beag ime (often
used sarcastically of any soft substance); sprúille beag
aráin; d'ith mé sprúille aráin ar maidin; bhí sprúille beag
talaimh againn, &c.

409. The word bun is used as a prefix in Co. Donegal
in the sense of middling or intermediate, as the follow-
ing examples show:— Bun-bhean, a middle-aged woman;
bun-bhó, a middle-aged cow; ní'l innseo acht bun-chineál,
this is only a middling kind (an excuse once made by
a girl for offering a caller a piece of oat-bread). It
would be interesting to trace the genesis of this sense.

410. There is an ancient method of dividing land
amongst tenants still surviving in Ulster, and no
doubt elsewhere which was made thus: Suppose a
townland to contain three kinds of land — arable,
pasture, and meadow — each kind forming a compact
portion; each tenant was given a share of each of the
three kinds, without any regard to keeping the tenant's
holding in one lot. This is called rundale. Rundale
is evidently an Anglicised form of roinn-dáil (or ronndáil)
= division-distribution or distribution by division.
The share of arable land is called cuibhreann. The grass
mearing between the plots of arable land is called
cráibheáid. This was just broad enough for a person
to walk on, so as to get to his own plot. Páirc inigilt,
(dial. for inghilte) = pasture field. Páirc míodúin =
meadow. Is míodún (the common word in Donegal)
derived from meadow, or could it really be miodh-dún,
mead-enclosure? The unit of grazing cattle is called
súm, a word that is Anglicised as sum. It was explained
to me that “súm = dhá bhliadhain,” or “beirt-bliadhain =
aon tsúm.” Binn (the number of cattle the páirc
inghilte can maintain) does not appear to be known by
itself in Ulster. Bárr binne, though not common in
Donegal, yet is used there in the phrase Béidh sé annsin
a bhárr binne (.i. “nuair nach rabh maith ionn”); lit.:
he will be there as an excess of binn = he is “up the
spout.” The four stages of the cow in Donegal are —
(1) gamhan, till weaned, or up to six months; (2)
colpach (female), bológ (male), till the next spring;
(3) bearach, till birth of first calf; (4) bó. See N.& Q.
387, binn.

411. Fishing-net. The following technical terms
are used at Malinbeg, Co. Donegal: — Eangach = fishing-
net or tram; ípín, 40 yards of net and 60 meshes deep
= 20th part about; ceannrach, the two ends of the tram
or eangach for bringing it in; borb, middle of tram;

L. 474

mogall, mesh or square space between threads; snáithe,
thread; ciumhas, edge of net; bonnach or lásán, bind-
ing-thread or lacing, a thick cord that laces the net to
the rope to which it is buoyed; crosóg, burden-rope,
rope to help in carrying burden; bulla, buoy; leath-
chos, side of quadrilateral; téad uachtair, surface-rope;
téad íochtair, lower rope; téad fásaigh, the rope that
goes out with the man on the rock before the tram is
thrown. There is also leath-lúb, whose precise applica-
tion I now forget. By some the word ípín is pro-
nounced as if an English word - viz., deepin'. These
terms were communicated to me by Mr. Patrick
O'Beirne (Pádraic), a native of Malinbeg, whose name
is well-known on both sides of the Atlantic. - S. L.

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