Tomhas na Teanga

Nach iontach iad mapaí (léarscáileanna) mar rud?  Aren’t maps wonderful?  Is breá liom féachaint orthu, agus samhlaím conas a bheadh na háiteanna orthu.  I love looking at them, and I imagine how the places on them would be.  Is breá liom taisteal, agus na pleananna a dhéanamh le mapaí.  I love to travel, and to make the plans with maps.  Agus an rud is taitneamhaí, sin na fíor-áiteanna sin a fhéachaint.  And the most enjoyable thing, that’s to see the real places.  Gach ponc ar an mapa, is baile nó cathair é – leis na mílte duine ina gcónaí ann.  Each dot on the map, it’s a town or a city – with thousands of people living there.  Gach líne ghorm, is abhainn í – agus ní fheadar cé chomh leathan agus atá sí.  Each blue line is a river – and who knows how wide it is?  Na cúpla orlach sin ar bhóthair, is na céadta míle folmha sin, minic go leor.  Those couple of inches on a road, that’s hundreds of empty miles, very often.  Níos minice ná ba mhaith liom a admháil, ní bhíonn meas mo mhéire cruinn go leor, agus bíonn na háiteanna níos faide óna chéile ná mar a cheap mé.  More often than I would like to admit, the measure of my finger isn’t accurate enough, and the places are further apart than I thought.  Níl an locht ar an mapa, ámh!  But that’s not the map’s fault!

Uaireanta, bíonn íomhá i mo cheann d’áit, mar a shamhlaigh mé é, agus ansin nuair a fheicim í ina steillbheatha, bíonn sí an-difriúil.  Sometimes, I have an image of a place in my head, as I imagined it, and then when I see it in reality, it’s very different.  Ach is iontach sin, agus foghlaimím as.  But that’s great, and I learn from it.  Sin an rud is fearr faoin taisteal – faightear aitheantas ar áiteanna, dhaoine, agus nósanna nach raibh ar aithne agat roimhe sin.  That’s the best thing about travelling – you get to know places, people and customs which you weren’t acquainted with before.  Faightear tuiscint níos mó ar an saol, agus ort féin, leis.  You get to know more about the world, and about yourself, too.  An bhfuil an bóthar sin tríd na sléibhte go deas?  Is that road through the mountains nice?  An bhfuil sé mar dhúshlán do dhuine carr a thiomáinte air?  Is it going to be a challenge to drive a car on?  Cén radharc a fheictear ann?  What view can you see there?  Ní thuigtear a leithéid gan a bheith ann.  You can’t understand such things unless you are there.  Agus is iomaí rud a tharlaíonn is a bhíonn ann nach mbíonn aon choinne agat roimhe.  And there are lots of things that happen and that are there that you don’t expect at all.  Fionnachtana nua.  New discoveries.  Ní gan chúis a deirtear go mbíonn siúlach scéalach.  It’s not for no reason that they say that travellers are full of stories.

Chuamar go Charleston, South Carolina, i measc áiteanna eile i mbliana.  We went to…among other places this year.  D’itheamar ag teach tábhairne Éireannach, agus chonaiceamar club eile Hibernian, atá ann le breis is 150 bliain.  We ate at an Irish pub, and we saw another Hibernian club, which has been around for more than 150 years.  Chonaiceamar Dún Sumpter ó Oileán Uí Shúilleabháin.  We saw Fort Sumpter from Sullivan’s Island.  Ní raibh a fhios agam roimh ré go raibh tionchar chomh mór sin ag sliocht na hÉireann ansin.  I hadn’t know before hand how much of an influence the Irish had there.  Cathair iontach álainn atá inti, agus an-stairiúil, dar ndóigh.  It’s a wonderfully beautiful city, and very historic, of course.

Áit eile a thugamar cuairt uirthi ná Richmond, Virginia.  Another place we visited was…  I dTeach Bán an Chomhcheangail, chonaiceamar sean-mhapa a rinneadh roimhe an gcogadh cathartha.  In the Confederate White House, we saw an old map which was made before the Civil War.  Bhí sé as dáta an lá a cuireadh i gcló é, is dócha, mar bhí cúrsaí ag athrú chomh tapa sin.  It was out of date the day it was printed, I suppose, because things were changing so quickly.  Ach fiú le sean-mhapa, bíonn a lán suilt le baint as, chun do mhachnamh a dhéanamh ar na hathruithe sin, agus ar stair na tíre.  But even with an old map, there’s a lot of pleasure to be derived from it, to think over those changes, and the country’s history.

Tá clár ar an teilifís dar teidil “Conas a bhFuair na Stáit a gCruthanna,” agus molaim é.  There’s a program on TV called “How the States Got Their Shapes,” and I recommend it.  Tá sé ar Bhealach na Staire.  It’s on the History Channel.  Díríonn sé ar an stair taobh thiar de na mapaí, ar nós spraíúil.  It focuses on the history behind the maps, in a fun way.  Ní tharlaíonn teorainneacha de thaisme, agus is an-suimiúil iad na scéalta a bhaineann leo.  Borders don’t happen by accident, and the stories that relate to them are very interesting.

Is féidir linn taisteal trí mheáin leabhar, an idirlín, nó tuairiscí dhaoine eile.  We cam travel my means of books, the internet, or the reports of other people.  Is breá an rud é na scéalta, na pictiúir, is an t-eolas nua a fhaighimid a roinnt lena chéile.  It’s a great thing to share the stories, pictures, and new information which we get.  Agus fiú murab fhéidir linn féin turas ar bith a dhéanamh, is féidir le duine ar bith féachaint ar na mapaí is a bheith ag samhlú na n-áiteanna.  And even if we can’t make any kind of trip ourselves, anybody can look at the maps and imagine the places.  Cá bhfios nach mbeadh deis agat dul ann lá éigin?  Who knows, maybe you’ll be able to go there some day!

Tomhas na Teanga

Bíonn an aimsir go breá an t-am seo bliana, agus is breá liom a bheith amuigh faoin spéir ag spaisteoireacht.  The weather is fine this time of year and I love to be outdoors walking around. Tamall ó shin, fuair mé comharsanacht an-suimiúil in Brooklyn agus mé ag siúlóid.  A while ago, I found a very interesting neighbourhood in Brooklyn while I was on a walk. Vinegar Hill a thugtar uirthi.  It’s called… Tá sí taobh leis na Brooklyn Navy Yards.  It’s next to… Tá cúpla alt suimiúil ann faoi ag www.forgotten-ny.com, faoi “na comharsanachtaí.” There are a couple of interesting articles about it at…under “neighborhoods.” Ainmníodh an áit in ómós do Chnoc Fíodh na gCaor lasmuigh d’Inis Córthaidh i gContae Loch Garman, mar a raibh cath tábhacht ar 21 Meitheamh, 1798.  The place was named in honor of …outside of Enniscorthy in Wexford, where there was an important battle on June 21st, 1798. Ár agus slad uafásach ar na Gaeil sin, fiú ar mhná is páistí, agus is iomaí uafás a rinne arm Shasana ar na Gaeil ina dhiaidh mar gheall air.  A slaughter and massacre of the Irish that, even of women and children, and many a horror was done by the English army to the Irish afterwards because of it. Tubaiste d’Éirinn ab ea an cath seo (tá alt maith faoi ag ga.wikipedia.org). This battle was a disaster for Ireland. Nach aisteach go mbaisteadh an t-ainm sin ar an gcomharsanacht seo?  Isn’t it odd that this neighborhood was given that name? Ach rinne an duine a thóg na tithe seo amhlaidh chun na hÉireannaigh a mhealladh chuici.  But the person who built these houses did so in order to attract the Irish to it. Is dócha go mbíodh Éireannaigh ina gcónaí ann, ach ina dhiaidh sin tháinig gach saghas duine, agus ní raibh dea-chlú ar an áit i gcónaí.  I suppose there used to be Irish living there, but afterwards every kind of person came, and the place didn’t always have a good reputation. Ba í seo an chéad áit a raibh Al Capone ina chónaí!  This was the first place where AC resided!

Chuaigh Capone go Cicero agus Siceágo Illinois, áiteanna a maraigh sé a lán coirpeach de shliocht na hÉireann, mar a tharla. Capone went to …and Chicago…, places in which he killed a lot of criminals of Irish descent, as it happened. Ar dtús, ghlac sé seilbh ar rialtas Cicero ó choirpigh le hainmneacha mar Myles O’Donnell, agus mharaigh sé daoine le hainmneacha mar Bill McSwiggins.   First he took over Cicero from criminals with names like…, and he killed people with names like… Ansin, in Siceágó féin, bhí cogadh ann idir drong Capone ó dheisceart na cathrach agus drong thuaisceart na cathrach, Bugs Moran i measc a cheannairí.  Then, in Chicago itself, there was a war between Capone’s gang from the south side and the north side gang, …among its leaders. Ba é dúnmhárú duine darb ainm Dion O’Banion a thosaigh an cath a chríochnaíodh le Sléach Lá ‘le Valaintín. It was the murder of a person named… that started the battle which ended with the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Deirtear uaireanta go bhfuil droch-chlú ar shliocht na hIodáile mar gheall ar na coirpigh, ach ní lú ná iad líon na gcoirpeach ab ea de shliocht na hÉireann, is oth liom a rá!  Sometimes people say that the Italians have a bad reputation because of the criminals, but there were no fewer criminals who had an Irish background, I regret to say!

I Nua-Eabhrac ag an am céanna sin a bhí drong i gCistín Ifrinn darb ainm an Gopher Gang, agus ba de shliocht na hÉireann a bhaill uile.  In New York at that same time there was a gang in Hell’s Kitchen called the…,, and all its members were Irish. An duine ba mhó díobhsan ná Owney “The Killer” Madden. The biggest of them was… Sea, is dócha go bhfaca a lán daoine an scannán The Gangs of New York.  Yeah, I guess a lot of people have seen the movie… Ba iad na hÉireannaigh sna Cúig Phointe a bhí i gceist, agus cé nach raibh an scannán sin cruinn go huile is go hiomlán, is iomaí drong Éireannach a bhí ann gan aon agó, agus bhí droch-chlú ar an gcomharsanacht sin.  The Irish in the Five Points were the subject, and although that film wasn’t perfectly accurate, there were a lot of Irish gangs, without question, and that neighborhood had a bad reputation. Théadh na daoine saibhre go dtí na Cúig Phointe chun na bochtáin a fheiscint agus sin as a bhfuaireamar an téarma ‘slumming.’  The rich people used to go to the Five Points to see the poor people and that’s where we get the term… Bhí na daoine sin thíos leis an mbochtannas agus leis an gcoireacht ina dtimpeall.  Those people suffered from poverty and the crime all around them.

Bhí mo shinsir féin ina gcónaí sa chomharsanacht sin, mar a tharlaíonn, agus níorbh coirpigh iadsan.  My own ancestors lived in that neighborhood, as it happens, and they weren’t criminals. Agus ní gá dom a lua an méad Éireannach a bhí agus atá ina bpóilíní, srl.  And I don’t need to mention how many Irish were and are policemen, etc. Ní mór dúinn a bheith bródúil as ár sinsir agus as na hÉireannaigh a rinne mórán rudaí maithe sa tír seo.  We need to be proud of our ancestors and of the Irish who did a lot of good things in this country. Ach leis sin, ní mór go n-admhaímid nach raibh gach mac máthar díobh go maith!  But along with that, we need to admit that every mother’s son of them wasn’t good! Tarlaíonn a leithéid…  These things happen…