Using Irish road and tourist signs as a Rosetta stonePosted: 22 May 2017
You know you are in a different country when you fail to understand all of the content of road signs. Fortunately most are in both English and Irish Gaelic, so navigation adventures of my trip to the Clans and Surnames Family History Conference in Nenagh, County Tipperary last week were not due signage.
I photographed a selection of signs once I had parked the car. On a walk around Silvermines, a small village a few miles from Nenagh, I found a nature trail, a National Looped Walk or Lúb Náisiúnta, so learned some names of local wildlife and features.
|Smólach Ceoil||Song Thrush|
|Ailleán||Painted Lady Butterfly|
|Fia Rua||Red Deer|
|Mhóna Riabhóg||Meadow Pipit|
|gnáthóg fiáin||Wildflower habitat|
Single word signs give a direct translation, but where there are more words it isn’t obvious what each word means. Walking around Nenagh, I photographed some more signs and made a bit more progress. I heard about national schools during the conference, so the word for national, náisiúnta, appears in both on the trailhead sign and the school in Nenagh.
From sráid na mainistreach for Abbey Street and sráid an mhistéalaigh for Mitchel Street, I can deduce that sráid means street and mainistreach means abbey, but I am not sure what the difference is between the prepositions na and an.
The sign outside Nenagh Courthouse reads ‘teach cúirte an aonaigh’ and the information board at Nenagh Castle is headed ‘Caisleán an Aonaigh’, so the Irish form of Nenagh is Aonaigh. One of complexities of Irish genealogy is navigating the geography in both English and Irish.
This was my first visit to Ireland, so I have much to learn. I am only beginning to connect written Irish with how the words are pronounced by native Irish speakers. A week ago, I had no idea how to pronounce Portlaoise, the venue for Clans and Surnames 2018.
© Sue Adams 2017