List of Irish names and phrases by Timmy Woulfe

Timmy Woulfe, launched his book “As Tough as Tathfhéithleann”, a list of Irish words and phrases which were commonly used in the parish in the last century, at Con Colbert Community Hall on Friday Nov. 19th. Domhnall de Barra did the honours on the night and also wrote the foreword for the book. This is the foreword:

“The great Listowel  playwright, John B. Keane, once wrote a play in Irish, to the amazement of many who knew him as a prominent member of the Language Freedom Movement, a group campaigning for the abolition of compulsory Irish in the education system.  When asked, in a radio interview, why he did this he explained that while he was taking a little refreshment  at Al Roche’s Pub in Lyrecrompane one day, a young man, who had been in England for a few months, came into the bar, dressed up in  the latest London fashion with the hair jelled to the nines, and swaggered up to the counter. Two elderly men, who were enjoying a quiet pint, cast their eyes over the new arrival and one of them said to the other; “will you look at the éirí in aired on my bachach”.  On reflection he realised that half the words used were Irish and that, growing up in North Kerry he had heard the local people speak in the same manner. This was not away back in the mists of time but in the 1970s which is quite recent. I was born in 1945 and as I learned to speak my vocabulary was full of Irish words. We never even thought of them as Irish; they were just the words used to describe people, places and  objects. Because we spoke English with an Irish “blas” (look it up!) the words fitted in seamlessly and embellished the language of the time. The grammar might not be correct but, as Breandán Feiriteur, a teacher from the West Kerry Gaeltacht who taught in Athea for a while, once said; “the reason I love being in Athea is that the people of the area speak Irish through the medium of English”. It was a transition period when the English language hadn’t quite taken over completely and we were happy enough using both tongues. We brought in a “gabhál” of turf, got a “beart” of hay for the cattle, turned “bán” in the field and washed ourselves in the “cumar”. Some of the Irish words had no direct English translation e.g. “cidhrán”, a word that exists to this present day. Somehow, the nearest translation “small sod of turf” does not have the same descriptive quality. I thought it was important that a record be kept of these words and phrases but I hadn’t the time, patience or knowledge to do a proper job so I am delighted that Timmy Woulfe, in his retirement, has put pen to paper and continued a body of work he started over half a century ago in Knocknagorna School. It is a comprehensive list that gives us an insight into a time in Ireland when we were just getting used to independence in a world ravaged by two world wars, a war of independence and a civil war. It will be a valuable document for scholars of the future who have an interest if the folklore of Ireland. These Irish words, part of one of the oldest languages in Europe, are a direct link to the past.  They were handed down orally from generation to generation over the centuries, long before they were written. Alas, with the influence of television, social media and education for all, they are almost forgotten and, as a nation, we are all the poorer for that. Thanks to Timmy, we now have a booklet that will bring back memories to those of us of a certain age and introduce younger readers to the rich tapestry of Irish words that embellished our every day oral communications not all that long ago.”


Mass Intentions next weekend

Fri Nov 26th 7.30pm:                     John O’Connell & his sons John and William.

Sat Nov 27th 7.30om: Ger O’Connor (Former Parish Clerk). Denny & Bridie Ahern. Mrs Kit Flynn. Larry & Nora McAuliffe and all deceased members of the McAuliffe & Tierney families.

Sun Nov 28th 10.30am: Fr. Gerry Roche, Tony Barrett & Johnny Collins

All masses are streamed live on

If you wish to book a mass etc., phone Siobhán on 087-2237858

Ministers of the Word and Ministers of the Eucharist 

Sat 27/11    Patsy Hayes & Betty Ahern Sun 28/11 M. Donovan  &  Mary Dalton

Baptismal Information: Any parent wishing to baptise their child must have completed the baptismal course. Next course Tues Dec 14th – Please contact Theresa for further details 087 1513565