Ní Sinne an Bhrasaíl ach Tuaisceart Éireann/We’re not Brazil, We’re Northern Ireland

Gabh mo leithscéal má tá fonn ceoil orm ar feadh meandair…

‘Ní Sinne an Bhrasaíl ach Tuaisceart Éireann,

Ní Sinne an Bhrasaíl ach Tuaisceart Éireann…’

Tá mé cinnte go bhfuil an chuid eile den amhrán deas sin agaibh – níl na liricí ar na cinn is deacra dá bhfuil ann!

Cosúil lena lán, tá spion maith orm tar éis gur bhain foireann sacair Thuaisceart Éireann comórtas mór idirnáisiúnta amach den chéad uair le 30 bliain.

Aisteach go leor, nuair a bhí leaids na ngeansaithe glasa ag tabhairt basctha do na Gréigigh ar Pháirc Windsor, bhí mise cúpla mile ón staidiam – ag teagasc Gaeilge do thosaitheoirí ar an tSruthán Milis.

Nach ait an mac é an saol!

Faoin am ar bhain mé an carr – agus an raidió – amach bhí Tuaisceart Éireann 3-0 chun cinn agus áit i gCraobhchomórtas na hEorpa 2016 curtha in áirithe acu. Ní ábhar mór iontais, mar sin, gur lig mé scread beag lúcháire asam.

Chuaigh siad isteach sa chomórtas cáilíochta mar an chúigiú rogha agus gan seans ar bith acu in éadán na Gréige, ha hUngáire agus na Rómáine, dar leis na saineolaithe, a bhí den bharúil nach raibh siad ach ag déanamh suas na n-uimhreacha.

Nach orthusan a bhí an dul amú! Agus ní hamháin sin – chríochnaigh Tuaisceart Éireann ar bharr an tábla – toradh a bhí doshamhlaithe ag tús an chomórtais cháilíochta.

Fhad is a bhí Tuaisceart Éireann ag fáil an ceann is fearr ar an Ghréig (a raibh a gcuid sacair chomh holc leis an gheilleagar s’acusan, i bhfírinne), bhí an Phoblacht ar an bhealach go bua stairiúil i gcoinne na Gearmáine, curaidh reatha na cruinne.

Ina ainneoin sin, níl siad fríd go fóill mar gheall ar an chailleadh thall in Warsaw na Polainne agus beidh stró is strus na gcluichí réitigh rompu sula mbeidh siad in ann clárú don oll-choisir sacair ins an Fhrainc an bhliain seo chugainn.

Is tacadóir an Tuaiscirt mé go smior, ach tá súil agam go bhfaighidh an Phoblacht an ticéad chun na Fraince chomh maith – agus measaim go mbeidh an chuid is mó de mo leithéid ó thuaidh ar aon intinn liom fá sin.

Ach tá gné eile ag an scéal chomh maith, mar atá máirseáil na Niallach. Comhtharlú, b’fhéidir, ach beirt Tuaisceartach atá ann leis an tsloinne chéanna, mar aon le cúlra ládir i gcúrsaí CLG. Is é Micheal O’Neill laoch an Tuaiscirt agus is mór an méid atá déanta ag Martin O’Neill (iar-imreoir TÉ) ó dheas.

Táthar ann a bheadh ag cur i gcuimhne dúinn gur Caitlicigh iad chomh maith!

An bhfuil sé sin tábhachtach? Níl, a déarfainn, ach i gcomhthéacs an Tuaiscirt tá sé suntasach i ngeall ar an atmaisféar nimhiúil a bhain le cúrsaí sacair ó na 70í go dtí na 90í, nuair a rinne daoine iarrachtaí an spórt a cheangal leis an pholaitíocht.

Níor éirigh leo ach go pointe agus is fiú a bheith buíoch nár bhain lucht an fhuatha an duais ghránna a bhí ar intinn acu le linn laethanta sin an tsuaite.

Tá na hamanna sin imithe agus ní miste liom a rá go bhfuil an spórt níos sláintiúla anois ná mar a bhí riamh ó thuaidh. Tá ardmholadh tuillte ag an IFA (an foras sacair ó thuaidh) as a bhfuil déanta aige ó thaobh for-rochtána de.

Tá siad gníomhach i scoileanna ar an dá thaobh, ag tabhairt le fios go mbaineann sacar – agus foireann an Tuaiscirt – le gach aon duine, beag beann ar chúlra nó ar chreideamh.

Tá bláth ag teacht ar an tsaothar seo – féach ar an fhoireann a thug greadadh do na Gréigigh. Protastúnaigh agus Caitlicigh ag imirt le chéile, ag iompar bhrat an tsacair faoi stiúradh sciliúil Michael O’Neill.

Ní raibh ‘brat’ fealsúnachta nó polaitíochta acu. Ba é an ‘cluiche álainn’ a thug le chéile iad.

Ní dhéanfadh sé dochar tagairt bheag a dhéanamh do lucht rugbaí na hÉireann agus an t-éacht a rinne siad sa chluiche gharbh ghontach sin i gcoinne na Fraince. Mar gheall ar a ngaiscíocht, seachnaíodh an Nua-Shéalainn sa bhabhta cheathrú-ceannais.

Agus i bhfianaise an chluiche a bhí acu féin in aghaidh na bhFrancach, ní droch-rud e sin.

Ardaíonn sé sin an tseancheist achrannach – ós rud é go ndéanann foireann aontaithe na hÉireann chomh maith sa rugbaí, nár choir an córas céanna a bheith sa tsacar?

Ní réiteofar an ceann sin inniu ná amárach ach is é an teoiric atá agam ná gur fearr i bhfad an dá fhoireann sacair a bheith againn. Ar chúis an-bhunúsach ar fad: mar imreoir óg tréitheach, is mó seans a bheadh agat imirt ar an stáitse is mó.

Agus foireann amháin ann, bheadh leathchuid de na himreoirí cróga a chloígh na Gréigigh agus na Gearmánaigh fós ag maireachtáil gan fhios don tsaol lena leithéidí Hamilton Academicals, Port Vale nó Milton Keynes Dons.

Anois, bímis ag ceiliúradh an ratha s’againne ar an pháirc imeartha – thuaidh agus theas.

Mar a dúirt mé, tá súil agam go n-éiríonn le foireann Martin O’Neill cáiliú don chraobhchomórtas fosta – ach muna dtarlaíonn sé sin, a chairde ó dheas, ná bíodh leisce ar bith oraibh tacú linnse anseo ó thuaidh.

Chuile dhuine le chéile anois…

‘Ní Sinne an Bhrasaíl ach Tuaisceart Éireann,

Ní Sinne an Bhrasaíl ach Tuaisceart Éireann …’

 


Foilsíodh an t-alt seo ar dtús ar www.meoneile.ie

  • SeaanUiNeill

    One of the most delightful pitches (forgive the pun) for a United Ireland, if only in shorts!

    Thank you John, I’m replying in the “beurla”, but some other posters have been all too willing to let me know how poor my sentence construction in Irish usually is.

  • John Collins

    Na bach le sin a Shean. Lean ar agaid le do chuid gaelige. Bail o Dhia ar an oibre.

  • Dan

    The titled piqued my interest….unfortunately the rest of it is directed solely to a select few. Bit rude really not to have a translation.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Dan, its about football. And, I’d imagine, it’s an encouragement for us all to enlarge our capabilities by learning Irish and encountering a culture as old as that of Greece and Rome which we are lucky enough to have as our unique inheritance.

    Not rude, an invitation rather……..

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thank you, John, I keep trying, and I can certainly do with His help!

  • Reader

    I don’t think it was even a little bit rude. There is a vast amount of material on the internet that I can’t read, but I don’t go around complaining about that.
    Consider it as a tactic – In days gone by people learned English because it gave access to new economic opportunities. A few hundred years later, people learned to read and write for identical reasons.
    Now we are being offered a bit of bait to encourage us to learn Irish – the chance to read tempting articles on matters of local interest.
    In a parallel strand, the language lobby is seeking to create commercial opportunities for Irish speakers. (Ironically, the chance to translate boring government material in English into boring material in Irish.) That second strand is a bit stalled by the log-jam in the Assembly.
    Strand three is linking to the momentum from the nationalist resistance narrative. Which has limited appeal outside the usual communities!
    Now do you see the importance of writing about GAWA and OWC in Irish? Bookmark it, and come back to it in a year or so. Or stick it into Google Translate…

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Indeed, Reader, stick it on “Google Translate” and discover that you still need to actually learn the language if you wish to know what is being said.

    Word for word translations (or the kind of bizarre ungrammatical cobbling of meaning Google Translate usually offers us, yes, try it out) simply do not offer any access to the complex word play and depth of meanings that the Irish language displays, “omnis traductor traitor” and all that…………

    Irish and English do not simply interchange, they are very different approaches to how a person represents the world we experience, English being quite cold and objectifying, a great language for sciences, Irish structurally empathic and intrinsically playful, with words frequently suggesting shades of meaning that stretch to the very opposite of the first impression, all dependant on context.

  • Reader

    SeaanUiNeill: …Irish structurally empathic and intrinsically playful, with words frequently suggesting shades of meaning that stretch to the very opposite of the first impression, all dependant on context.
    Yes, because it isn’t possible to do irony in English.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    A quite shallow comment, Reader, that shows you have certainly not learnt Irish, and clearly do not understand what I’m actually saying. Of course one may be ironic in English, but virtually everything said in Irish will have an ironic undertone, as in Irish most words have many figurative meanings, which come into play to create a multilevelled pattern of possible meaning. A high level scientist who is also an expert in medieval (and modern) Irish quite clearly described this to me many years ago. English may have potential for complex wordplay, but you do not encounter the wide, even contradictory range of meanings words in Irish may hold that ensure that EVERYTHING said in irish has a rich flavour of complex humour. This is something no-one tells you when they are trying to build conversational Irish in classes, but for anyone already culturally engaged in modern literature, it opens up a rich creative resource.

    But the actual point I was making is about the non-interchangability of Irish and English. Your (ironically, perhaps) suggestion that something as highly reductive as Google Translate for opening up the meaning of Ian Malcolm’s Irish is misleading as GTs simplistic substitution of word for word immediately looses the important grammatical differences and simply cannot even begin to match the wordplay of the language. Accordingly it frequently produces an “English” that is ungrammatical nonsense (try Malcolm’s text and see for yourself). No language can simply be transcribed word for word, as even different patterns of grammar seriously affect meaning, but the much deeper layers of meaning that Irish offers when compared with English ensure that anyone seriously wishing to read Irish at any level will have to take some time to actually learn the grammar and will arguably need to have a rather quicker mind than English generally requires to follow the shifting layers of word meaning. I am not wishing to “insult” English here, this is simply an attempt to describe the different demands of both languages on the human imagination.

    But of course anyone still has access to a most extraordinarily rich literature in English, despite these serious linguistic differences. And quite a significant portion of it written by the Irish.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I sometimes wonder if this partly accounts for my own experiences of befuddling people from the south of England with exaggerated references and comments?

    You know how we can filter out exaggeration in an anecdote to paint a picture of what the storyteller is trying to say, i find ‘English’ English to be much more literal comparatively speaking.

    Could just be me though…

  • SeaanUiNeill

    No, AG, not just you. I end up running off into endless digressions to get over all aspects of what I’m trying to say myself. My Marxist uncle (a non-Irish speaker unlike his father) used to punch me on the arm as my digressions became further and further from the point and snap “Stop being so Irish……”

    Yes well put, English is comparatively much more literal and reductive.

  • Tochais Siorai

    The so called ‘gift of the gab’ that has developed over the centuries has to have a number of root causes. Somewhere in there of course is the transition from Irish to English and the different sentence structure which was often literally translated. That only goes so far though. It’s been suggested that going into excessive detail about minor details (one man’s gift of the gab is another man’s disjunctive dialogue) may be a symptom of a kind of post traumatic stress disorder among peoples who have gone through periods of collective trauma. It may also be related to the tradition developed in Ireland over the centuries with the attempts to get around coercive laws which were imposed by outsiders.

    So the next time you find yourself sitting beside someone who won’t shut up……….

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Please do not get me going, TS, on my identified “Irish Jacobite Hidden Transcripts” in our culture. I’d still think that this behaviour is encouraged by the very nature of the Irish language and its peculiarities, lurking like a virus in our “long memory”.

    I’d also suggest that the residue of that “empathic” pattern in Irish ( the intrinsic animism of Irish language, “the coat came with me” form of construction as against English objectivising form, “I put on my coat”) encourages us to do what my California cousins call “share”.

  • Tochais Siorai

    Always good to get you going, Seaan!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hey, TS, it was that comment about “Google Translate” by Reader that really wound me up, that and the implicit suggestion that somehow English was more “real” that permitted his entire post, and that learning Irish was in essence a gimmick of some sort.

    Have you ever encountered a little article “Shane’s Cairn or Shane’s Castle” by my grandfather’s old friend Jack White (the “mad anarchist” whom everyone nowadays keeps thinking was a sort of Marxist, ironically, as he’d be incandescent with rage at that if he’d lived to be 136 and could reply). It was in one of the issues of “Red Hand” in 1919, I think. He says all this rather better than myself, I think.

  • Janos Bingham

    Is it an Irish or English language thing to offer an insult and then immediately add that it is should not be taken as an insult?

    The English language merely “great for sciences”! Well that’s the English literary canon put in its place.

    Yet why have so many Irish writers, from Swift to Heaney, and all the others surrounding them, chosen to utilise the English crude linguistic tool? Were their minds perhaps not “quick” enough to realise that their efforts could have been so much more deep, intricate and wonderfully formed if only they had written in Irish?

  • Reader

    But Seaan; the problem with extracting multiple layers of meaning and “complex humour” from Irish it that it assumes that everyone is clever and motivated enough to insert multiple layers of meaning and “complex humour” into every statement in the first place.
    If that wasn’t the case, then the multiple layers of meaning from “EVERYTHING said in Irish” are simply accidental or unavoidable ambiguities. And that’s not really very impressive.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Reader, this is a case of your really needing to learn the language to understand what I’m saying. The language runs with humour, drawing people’s wit along with it. Perhaps if you watched a conversation in Irish, even without knowing what was being said, the atomsphere would get to you.

    It’s like good wine, if you haven’t ever tasted it you simply do not know what all the fuss is about regarding that half case of Romaneé Conti I found in my grandfather’s cellar.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    No insult intended, Janos, simply an attempt to describe the broad differences between the two languages. They have very different characteristics, more different to my mind to a comparison of Latin and English. Please do not think I’m ignoring the great anmount of fine literature in English, I’ve over seven thousand volumes in the language on my shelves, quite a large portion of it literature. The fact that you seem to need to affirm the absolute primacy of English in this manner against Irish suggests that you have not grasped the nature of the technical comparison of the world image dominant in each language which I’m trying to make, and perhaps do not speak enough Irish for a proper comparison. It’s my fault, to really describe the differences as I should I would have to post 5000 words at least, and that’s inappropriate on Slugger, But I think perhaps my wine analogy from above might also apply here, too.

    And please remember that from “Swift to Heaney” the writers you are thinking of started with English as a first language. Would you expect Swift’s contemporaries to learn Irish in the Ireland of the Penal laws, its cultured classes driven to exile? Oh some did, and at the time we have a rich literature in Irish written by some of the last of the poets to engage with the ancient rules of poetic composition. But for a proper evaluation of the value of an empathic interchange between the languages of Ireland, rather than simply looking for “winners”, perhaps you should look at those Irish writers in English nurtured by Dubhghlas de hÍde and the Irish Cultural revival, whose work influenced many of the significant figures in the international Modern Movement in the arts, once the Penal laws had been entirely knocked out of the bones of the language, (to slightly misquote Yeats, one who gained much from the Revival).

    Few of us looking at lrish today are monoglots, unlike those attempting to belittle the language. Try it and see what you are missing.

  • Tochais Siorai

    If you ever find the other half of that case you can invite Reader and meself along to see what the fuss is about………

  • Tochais Siorai

    I haven’t, Seaan, but I’ll keep an eye out for issues of the Red Hand from 1919 in the newsagents! Your grandfather certainly had interesting friends. Is it true White once convened a meeting at Broughshane Orange Hall to announce himself as a Republican Socialist election candidate?

    Anyway, this thread brings to mind Michael Hartnett……

    ‘But I will not see
    great men go down
    who walked in rags
    from town to town
    finding English a necessary sin
    the perfect language to sell pigs in’

  • John Collins

    The ‘Google’ component in this debate is interesting. When I unwrap various items which need to be assembled at home I naturally refer to the supplied ‘instruction’ manual. This often proves to be a most frustrating exercise as it often almost impossible to ‘make head nor tail’ of the so-called instructions, especially if the items concerned are manufactured in non English speaking countries. I have come to the conclusion that instead of employing proper English speaking translators the manufacturers resort to goggle with truly awful consequences.

  • John Collins

    Sean
    I was in an Irish chat group this morning and of course we greeted each other with the age old salutation Dia Duit (God be with You). However some wit in the group suggested this means of greeting would have to stop as it could be construed to be sectarian. I hope we don’t go that far anytime soon.

  • Tochais Siorai

    That’s not sectarian but the standard reply might be a bit Catholic!

    Both will be less common as Irish society becomes less religious, buiochas le dia…..

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I entirely agree, John. Everyone is trying to save money, and I would not be surprised if Google Translate was used, with the consequent entropic disintegration of meaning! The problem is that languages simply do not transliterate as they were formed to reflect an impression that a culture developed of the world. Even speaking Irish (or any of the other “Celtic” languages), requires a much more athletic use of the mouth to form sounds. The Verb/subject/object form of sentences also favours a sense of flux instead of the way in which the central verb in an English sentence emphasises the subject of a sentence rather than what they are doing.

    But of course you’ll know all this………

  • SeaanUiNeill

    TS, I think he drank it himself……

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Yes, true! He had an acquaintance really with Jack White, but was a very good friend of one of his cousins. So I have all the wicked family gossip.

    I was collecting Michael’s poetry from his earliest published work. I’d much prefer him to our local boy Heaney, myself. He bravely attempted the commitment of “A Farewell to English” in his work but returned to the Buerla. His death was a great loss to our culture, “Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”

    Oh, “Red Hand” you can check out Frank Bigger’s copies at the Central Library. Or at the NLI:

    http://catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000090087

    No need to spend your money……….

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “I have come to the conclusion that instead of employing proper English speaking translators the manufacturers resort to goggle with truly awful consequences”

    A drilling company I worked for went through a very barren spell for a year or so which coincided with the appointment of a ‘contracts manager’.

    The frustration and puzzlement regarding the complete death of our European market was uncovered when I was talking to said manager about translating our sales literature into some Slavonic languages when he said “well, to be honest, even if we didn’t hire someone to translate them I would just do what I did with the German market; put it through Google translate…”

    I nearly dropped the phone in horror at the thought of polished professional German drilling managers receiving sales literature comprised of gobbledygook.

    Said manager departed the company shortly thereafter and we coincidently started receiving work in Europe again…

  • Janos Bingham

    I’m not the one looking for “winners”. Rather it is you who played the cultural supremacist card with your nonsense about Irish being the preserve of the sophisticated mind, whilst at the same time dismissing English as “good for science”.

    No doubt the book you claim to be writing will be written in Irish? Heaven forfend that the the nuances and subtleties of any historical argument you may make would be lost in being rendered in a workaday medium such as English.

    Oh, and as for those “over seven thousand volumes” in English on your shelves, try taking one down now and again. It might give you some idea about why that language communicates so richly to so much of the world.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Janos, I’m genuinely puzzled as to why you should take such tremendous offence on behalf of the (apparently endangered) English language! Irish and English ARE quite manifestly different languages, you have only to have even a nodding acquaitance with the two languages to encounter the intractable problems of attempting any direct translation from either into the other.

    And if it helps, I can readily qualify the bald statements above that so irks you. It is far from impossible to learn and understand scientific matters in Irish, and there is certainly a great literature in English (some of it written by Irish writers….). This is what any creative or analytic intellect does with its first language, adopts it as best it may to use in approaching those disciplines it may become excited by. But the “zeitgeist” of each language presents very different strengths, again evident to any thoughtful person familiar with both. Stating this is not “cultural supremacist” behaviour in my book, rather it is the recognition of qualities that any familiarity soon reveals.

    English generally reveals a rather colder, less empathic, objectifying world image, which anyone engaging in Irish quickly notes. Modern English simply has many. many more abstract words, derived from Latin and Greek, that give it this marked character. Irish, like seventeenth century (and earlier) English, has a great number of words with very concrete meaning. You have only to read Raleigh’s “History of the World”, “Pilgrim’s Progress” or Clarendon’s “Great Rebellion” to get the flavour of this concreteness in English itself, and sometimes even the similar layering of meaning you find in Irish. But modern English has evolved a much more abstract character, with far less tactile concreteness.

    This is not intended as a criticism of English as it has developed, where the educated habit of introducing endless neologisms from the classical languages over several centuries has produced a kind of Classical version of “Franglais” within English. That is the modern character of the language and offers creative opportunities of its very own. What I’m saying about Irish retaining concreteness, and the effect this has on its layers of meaning is simply an observation which anyone familiar with both languages will immediately recognise.

    Importantly too, do you understand Irish? If not, what is your own “comparison” based on here?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    As something of a latitudinarian in these matters, John, I find the strident, militant atheist just too much of a “final solutions” thinker for someone as wrecked with endless layers of doubt as myself. But as Carl Jung had written over his door, “Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit.”