Councillor uses poetic charm to highlight Irish place names
SINN Fein Cllr Pa Daly added poetic charm to the council chamber at Monday’s council meeting when he called on council management to have the Irish version of place names on road signs made bigger than the English version, as this would show the ‘real’ meaning of place names. For good measure, Cllr Daly delivered the following poem to accentuate his point before a hushed council chamber:
At a match in Gníomh go Leith
I asked a local to translate
But Just the anglicised version was he able to relate
A gníomh it is five acres
Go leith makes 7.5
But maintaining English spelling Means that the Gaelic is not alive
The spelling of gneeve
It pierced me like a thorn
But there was worse than that to come When I passed through Gattabawn.
Bhí ár teanga dúchas cosúil le Drúcht ar fud na tíre
Ach le brat an Béarla orainn tá na caora Scaipaithe ón Aoire.
Léigh mé faoi logainm
Agus go bhfuilid dofheicithe Agus cén fáth atá an . . . new version Clóite in aired.
The anglicised version is like An assault upon the ears
The placenames’ truth disguised By the Royal Engineers.
No the business interests say It is marketing and it’s nice But the colonisers grip
Is a stultifying device.
So we’re stuck with names like Beaufort Snave and Newtownsandes
And I’d be the first to say
That they do sound very grand. But I’m for Lios a Phúca
Snámh, Maigh Mheán agus cathair saidhbhín Cill Orglan, An Gleann gCearr Gleann beithe agus an Bealach Oisín
But look around the country
To the towns that bucked the trend Have visitors to Port Laoise Driven down a dead end?
Have trucks for Dún Laoghaire Failed to catch the ferry
Or misread the road signs
And for the road to . . . Londonderry?
We can see there has been an erosion of tradition
Brian Friel called it a sort of eviction
The Seanachas in Kerry we like to hold so tight But the title of our placenames was where we lost the fight
To the empires engineers who came from over the waves
Now we should take action our heritage to save.
Cllr Daly concluded: “I’m asking councillors and management to do what’s surely right and the colonisers legacy at last we’ll surely spite. withstand the business interests, ignore the greasy purse and rid us for all time of this colonisers curse.”
Tralee Municipal District Sinn Féin Councillor Pat Daly who made a poetic contribution to a council debate on the use of the Irish language at Monday’s meeting.