Monday, August 24, 2009

The second most important trait of Clonduff Irish - feil

Leid # 2, feil and fuil

The second most important distingushing feature of the Irish of Clonduff, and the wider Oirialla area is the use of 'feil' as opposed to 'fuil'

Most people who have studied Irish will remember the words, níl, and an bhfuil.

'Níl' is made up of the elements 'ní fhuil'. We have already seen that cha takes the place of ní in Down, but there is a little more to it.

In Down and Oirialla these forms are Chan fheil (often shortened to ' 'n'eil ' and 'a' bhfeil'

Therefore, 'is not' was chan fheil in Down as it was in Antrim, Omeath and South Armagh, and Scotland and Man as can be seen of the map.

'Chan fheil' is pronunced /han nʲel/ or /han nʲil/ approximately. The important thing is to remember that the n is pronounced slender as in 'Newry'.

'Bhfeil' differs from 'bhfuil' in that the 'bh' is slender, it is a 'v' sound, not a 'w' sound as in Donegal Irish. 'Bhfeil' is there pronounced /vʲel/ or /vʲil/ or even /vʲol/ approximately.

Note, the Irish of Meath and Tyrone / Derry employ 'fuil'.

It is also worth noting, that outwith the occasional usage in song, 'fuil' is not used in Ireland today apart from perhaps a tiny percentage of learners. Its usage however is not as frowned upon as the use of 'cha'.


  1. In Monaghan Irish, very similar to south Armagh Irish they say "Goidé mar atá tú" instead of Cad é mar ata tú?, im not sure if this would be the same for Down but I hope it helps. The following is a poem in Monaghan Irish, pretty much the only written evidence I can find on monaghan irish, I hope it gives you some clues

    s críon liath an seanchaí mé.
    Cha móide go bhfuil a fhios agam.
    Mo dhonas is mo dhothairne!
    Thiob sé orthu uile go léir.
    Gan géilleadh do sin, ...
    Maise, is duinne ...
    Rinne siad a meán lae.
    Chan fhiú duit mo leithéidse a bheith ar aon iúl leat.
    M'fhíor gur fiú.
    Gá hainm atá ort? Mise ...
    Goidé an seort thúsa?
    Mise fear nár thiob an dadaí riamh orm.
    Tá sé ag déanamh comhairle leis.
    Tá le donas agus le doghrainn daoi.
    Rith sé d'ionsaí an ollaimh.
    Suigh síos agus dana do sgíste.
    Tá tú cortha.
    Chonsaigh sé an t-airgead de dhíth air agus tháinig sé ar ruaim i ndiaidh iníon an ollaimh.
    Muirfear uilig iad!
    Nuair a shuífidh sinn ortha muirfear uilig inn!

  2. Also something that stood out to me was they say "gá..." rather than "cá..." i.e gá bhfuil tú?

    Also it looks like in Monagahn they use fuil not feil :) so you might not want to take must of it for Down Irish

  3. Thanks for the info!

    Hope to see a Monaghan Irish blog soon!!??