Notes and Queries.
(418.) Another instance of the existence of two
forms, broad and slender, of a word is bunnán or
buinneán, bittern. I have heard that sweet song An
bunnán buidhe very frequently sung in Co. Donegal by
a variety of singers, some of whom said Ó's a bhunnáin
bhuidhe, (ō să wuNan wee) and others, the greater number
I think, Ó 's a bhuinneáin bhuidhe (ō să winan wee).
Buinneán, however, clashes with buinneán, a shoot, a
young twig or branch, and bunnán is the usual
dictionary form for “bittern” (bunnán léana), though,
indeed, O'Reilly , who is often found to be accurate in
regard to Northern forms, also has buinnean leana.
A Connachtman once explained bunnán léana as =
“the bog trumpet,” from the booming sound this
beautiful bird makes. It is not correct to suppose
that it no longer frequents Ireland. A couple of
months ago a gentleman living near Derry shot one
at Burnfoot. I should also state that the setting of
the air, now introduced to Dublin audiences, represents
the traditional form preserved by Mr. Peter Boyle, of
Mín a' ghiumhais, Co. Donegal. The notes were first
taken down by Miss L. McGinty, Donegal, who also
jotted down those of Siubhán Níg Uidhir, and several
(419.) The O.Ir. word altán, a razor, is still spoken
in Valentia I., Co. Kerry. It is common in the phrase
altán sgine = a strong very sharp knife.
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