foghlaí mara - pirate

Latest post 02-04-2012 15:43 by seano. 3 replies.
  • 01-28-2012 21:56

    • michelle
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    foghlaí mara - pirate

    Wondering if anyone (Seano?) can help me out with what foghlaí mara means in Irish (not just what it translates to)? My dictionary gives me the idea that it means something like a plunderer of the sea -but also could be 'trespasser' of the sea, which would imply to me that whoever named pirates in Irish had an idea of ownership of the sea.

    I'm a huge fan of Gráinne Ní Mháille - chieftan and pirate queen from the 16th century. But I'm wondering if she would've described herself as a foghlaí mara!

     

    Is fearr dhá theanga ná ceann amháin…

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  • 01-29-2012 11:41 In reply to

    • seano
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    Re: foghlaí mara - pirate

    Hi Chelle, Yes, foghail means plunder or trespass. Of course, Ireland in the old days was full of small warring kingdoms, and when you trespassed it was generally because you were stealing something from the neighbours. There was no dishonour in this, because it was teol (=theft without concealment), not táir (shameful, secretive theft). If we still had the Brehon Law in Ireland the bankers could use that as a defence - "We never hid the bonuses! I flaunted it, for God's sake!" Anyway, a foghlaí is someone who practises foghail. These plunderers could either be foghlaithe mara (pirates) or foghlaithe feá (outlaws in the woods). Gráinne Ní Mháille was an amazing character, certainly, and I don't think she would have had any problem with that title!

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  • 02-04-2012 12:00 In reply to

    • michelle
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    Re: foghlaí mara - pirate

    I love the idea of teol versus táir. Funnily, as teachers, my parents used to discriminate between those pupils 'blaggarts' and 'slooters'.

    'blaggarts' - were the pupils who got up to badness but were totally obvious about it and usually accepted any punishment pretty stoically.

    'slooters' - were the pupils who did bad things in an underhand way and never owned up to their crimes, and always acted outraged at any punishments they were given.

    My parents always preferred the blaggarts to the slooters Big Smile

    And slooter - what sort of word is that? I doubt it's English in origin.

    Is fearr dhá theanga ná ceann amháin…

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  • 02-04-2012 15:43 In reply to

    • seano
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    Re: foghlaí mara - pirate

    Hi Chelle, A great pair of words! Blaggarts is presumably the same as the word blaggard or blackguard (as it used to be written in Victorian books). Nobody knows who the original black guards were or why this meaning attached itself to them. This is a word which long ago made itself at home in the Irish language. It is usually written bligeard in Irish and you can also be up to all kinds of bligeardacht or bligeardaíocht - devilment or bad behaviour. Slooter is also a great word and is obviously linked to the word "sliúdrálaí", which means a sly or underhand kind of person. This is closer than the definition in the excellent Oxford Dictionary of Ulster English, which gives slooter as being a word of Scots or Northern English origin meaning a lazy or inefficient person. Because of this, I would suppose that sliúdrálaí comes from slooter rather than slooter coming from the Irish word. Some dialect words are wonderful and should never be allowed to die out. An example springs to mind easily, the word groaking. Apparently, when a dog sits by your table staring at you while you eat, then the dog is groaking. 

     

    Big Smile

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