Any Irish on Rathlin Island?


About this Item

Tugann Proinsias cuairt ar Oileán Reachrainne amach ó chósta Aontrama go bhfeicfe sé an bhfuil Gaeilge ar bith fágtha ann sa bhliain 1960.

Proinsias visits Rathlin Island off the coast of Co Antrim in 1960 to see if any Irish had survived.

  • Title
    An Maireann Gaeilge Ar Bith Ar Reachrainn?
  • 1st Broadcast
  • Contributor
    Proinsias Ó Conluain
    Ned Nugent (Sound Engineer)
  • Clip Duration
  • Material Type
  • Clip title
    Any Irish on Rathlin Island?
  • Extended description

    Bhí tuairim ag Proinsias go mbeadh duine nó beirt ar an oileán a mbeadh Gaeilge acu. Ins an teach tabhairne bhuail sé le Roibeárd MacCormaic agus bhí comhrá acu i nGaeilge ach ní raibh an gléas taifeadta, ar siúl. Nuair a rinne sé iarracht Roibeárd a thaifeadadh mar a dúirt Proinsias, "bhí na geasa briste" agus ní raibh sé go hiomlán.

    Proinias expected to find a few Irish speakers left on Rathlin and he got talking to Robert McCormack in Irish in the pub. But when he switched on the tape recorder as Proinsias says in translation "the spell was broken" and Robert found it very difficult to answer Proinsias's questions. 

    Roibeárd ach mar sin féin fuair Proinsias cúpla abairt uaidh agus go háirthid cur síos nós a bhí ar an oileán ag an bhliain úr "An Chóllainn" nuair a rachadh daoine ó theach go teach ag cuartú sóláistí agus bia a roinnfeadh siad ansin ar na daoine bochta. Bhí rann a déarfadh siad nuair a thiocfadh siad ag doras an tí agus bhí an rann ag Roibeárd. Seo iarracht ar chuid de na focail a bhí aige sa rann. "Cóllainn, cóllainn, faoi na bhóitean, Beannaigh Dé ar an té atá ann...........Éirigh suas a bhean an toighe agus tabhair aníos bannach giomach guamach". Mura bhfuil bean an tí sásta rud éigin a thabhairt dóibh "Thig an feanag liath as cúl Chroc Léitheid agus déanfaidh dochar duit." 

    Robert did remember an old custom at the New Year when youngsters would go from house to house collecting alms which would be distributed amongst the poor of the island. The custom was known as the Coullin. When the youngsters called to a house they would recite a verse which Robert recalls. This is an attempt at a translation. "Coullin, coullin... get up woman of the house, Take down a well buttered scone .....And if you don't...the crow will come from Knocklayd, and do you harm". 

  • Information

    The custom Robert McCormack refers to consisted of a group of people going round from house to house on New Year's Eve with a sheepskin draped over one shoulder. If they got some alms from the household, a piece of the sheepskin would be cut and handed in as a kind of receipt. The members of the house would hold on to it for good luck.

    The rhyme as recited by Robert is more like Scots Gaelic than our own Irish and the custom most likely came to the island from Scotland where it was known in more elaborate form. The word Cóllainn is translated as Hogmanay, the Scottish New year. Nollaig Bheag, or Little Christmas, or an Bhliain úr referred to the New Year in many parts of the North of Ireland, including Rathlin and also in Scotland.

    The accompanying photograph was taken on Rathlin Island (1960) and features Fr. John Connolly, Ned Nugent with Radio Éireann Mobile Unit equipment, and Joe McGurdy driving the tractor.

  • Local keywords
    Proinsias Ó Conluain, Rathlin, Robert McCormack, Coullin,
  • Geographical coverage
  • Topic
    The Media
  • Publisher Broadcaster
  • Production year
  • Country of production
  • Original identifier
  • IPR restrictions
    Rights Reserved - Free Access
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  • Item type
  • Item sound
  • Language used
    Irish (gle)