A Glossary /Compendium Of Terms Relating To Things Irish
This Glossary/Compendium is offered to help Irish descendants, students, historians, genealogists and people with an interest in things Irish understand terms of Ancient Gaelic, Irish history, modern Gaelic(there are often different dialects and therefore spelling differences of some words in different locales), political and government organization, heraldic terms, idioms and colloquialisms. The pronunciation of Gaelic is not as it would appear to English speakers reading the letters of a word.
This can be demostrated in popular Irish names: Sean, pronounced Shawn; Sinead, pronounced Shineighth and Siobhan, pronounced Schevon. Although the Irish themselves refer to the indigenous language as Irish, we are referring to it as Gaelic so as to avoid confusion with the word `Irish' meaning the people or their culture. Please also check the Celtic Chronology for more information on some terms and Appendix V for Celtic tribe names. For modern and conventional terms check the Gaelic listings at travelang.com on the Internet.
6 counties - the counties of Ireland that make up Northern Ireland.
26 Counties - the counties of the Republic of Ireland, as of this printing.
32 - the counties of all Ireland.
'ruction - insurrection, a period of destruction.
AIPEC- American Irish Political Education Committee.
A. P. T. I. - American Protestants for Truth About Ireland
A.O.H.- Ancient Order of Hibernians
A-Specials - Protestant paramilitary group organized by the British in 1920 to support the RUC. See Ulster Special Constabulary.
abow - corruption of `above.'
Act of Union - the 1800 Act of English Parliament making Ireland and Scotland one with England and no longe independent kingdoms. The Irish Parliament was abolished and the Irish representatives sent to the English Parliament
Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs - U. S. Congress unofficial committee for its members with an interest in Irish affairs.
aderid - Ancient Gaelic for `cleaves to', `follows.'
Adventurers - persons who subscribed (adventured) money to cover the costs of equipping an army to suppress the revolt of 1641 on the security of lands to be confiscated from the Irish proprietors.
agus- Ancient Gaelic for `and.'
Aileach- An ancient territory in Donegal.
Airtecha - Ancient Gaelic for champion or avenger.
Alba - ancient name for Scotland
alf n 'alf - a drink of half Guinness stout and half something else usually beer.
Alliance Party - moderate Unionist party formed in April, 1970 composed of Catholic and Protestant members wanting to reform Northern Ireland but maintain a tie of some sort with England.
alpeen - a cudgel, stick, club
American Association for the Recognition of the Irish Republic - Founded in 1919 by Eamon De Valera. Headquartered in the U.S. at Philadelphia. De Valera founded this organization to compete with the Friends of Irish Freedom organization led by U.S. Judge Daniel F. Cohalan.
American Committee for Irish Studies - scholarly nationwide organization that fosters scholarship among Irish and Irish Americans.
American Congress for the Unity and Independence of Ireland - Based in Chicago.
American Friends of Irish Freedom - Organized by John Devoy to sponsor De Valera's 1920 U. S. tour. De Valera wished to control the tour himself and organized the American Association for Recognition of the Irish Republic after he arrived. The American Friends of Irish Freedom opposed the League of Nations.
American Irish Aid Society- See Massachusetts Emigrant Society
American Irish Foundation- formed in 1963 by Eamon De Valera and John F. Kennedy to foster America's Irish heritage and to strengthen the bonds between the United States and Ireland.
American Irish Historical Society- A non-sectarian, non-political organization formed in 1897 to promote the Irish role in the development of America.
American Irish Political Education Committee- An American organization fighting Irish stereotyping.
American Land League- formed in the United States in 1880 to support Charles Parnell and Michael Davitt's efforts in Ireland on land reform.
American League for an Undivided Ireland - Organized sometime before 1946.
American Protective Association (APA) - Founded in 1887, It was an American anti-Catholic political organization, gone by 1896.
American Protestants for Truth About Ireland. APTI- founded in 1988 for public awareness of human rights violations. It stresses the need for Ireland to solve its own problems. In 1966, the President was Rachael Hoffman and the organization was headquartered in Bluebell, Pennsylvania.
American Republican Party - established in 1843 by a nativistic group calling for a 21 year residence requirement for naturalization.
American ticket - U. S. money
American United Irish League- supported the Home Rule campaign in Ireland. One of its leaders was New York Supreme Court Judge Daniel F. Cohalan.
American wake - Farewell party for Irish emigrants going to America..
America's Friends of Irish Neutrality - an American organization that supported Irish neutrality in WW II.
America's Ireland- a reference to President McKinley's treatment of Puerto Rico in 1900.
Amerikay - America
Amhrán na bhFiann - Gaelic for A Soldiers Song, the Irish national anthem. It was selected when Ireland was known as the Irish Free State.
an - Ancient Gaelic for `the.'
Ancient Order of Hibernians, AOH - Irish and Irish American organization. There is a tradition it was first organized in 1520 to defend the saying of the Catholic Mass. They protected the priest and congregation. They acted as guards for priests making sick calls and they escorted priests to the hidden places where the Mass was said and stood guard. The AOH was especially active during Henry VIII's building of the Church of Ireland. In his fight with Rome, Henry VIII took over Catholic churches, monasteries, shrines and other property. He often burned and/or defiled them and took anything of value. Orders were expelled from their houses, relics were destroyed and statues broken. Another active period for the order was during the resistance to the invasion of Oliver Cromwell.
The AOH was officially chartered in the United States in 1836. One had to be born in Ireland and be a practicing Catholic to be a member. John O'Dea wrote a three volume history of the AOH which was published in 1923. He suggests that as a secret society it may have been here as early as 1829 using other names such as the Shamrock Benevolent Society or St. Patrick's Fraternal Society. It may in fact be that the Defenders and Ribbonmen were other names for the AOH. The AOH was active in America during the Know Nothings period. Many a Hibernian supported the Fenians after the Civil War and they sent money to Ireland in support of any organization tweaking the tail of Great Britain.
The Molly Maguire affair in the Pennsylvania coal fields hurt the public image of the organization. The public was led by a controlled media that the Mollies, most of whom were also Hibernians, were Irish ruffians, thugs and murderers. Any student of history will see that these men were fighting discrimination and abuse by the mine owners and their managers. Seventeen Hibernians were executed by the U. S. , four of them were Division Presidents. It took a long time for the injustice done to these men to be understood and corrected. In 1979, the Governor of Pennsylvania pardoned all the Mollies that were hung.
The AOH was expanded to include the Irish Americans and a Ladies Auxiliary. An AOH insurance program was begun for Irish who could not obtain coverage anywhere else. Today, though limited to Catholics, the organization is by and large a fraternal organization politically sensitive to Irish issues, particularly a united Ireland and the promotion of Irish culture.
An Cumann Cabrach - Gaelic for the Green Cross, much the same as our Red Cross.
andso, annso, anseo, innso - Ancient Gaelic for `here.'
anglicizing - Changing names or words to sound like or be English.
Anglo - of or pertaining to things English.
Anglo-Irish War - Begun in 1919 by Irish republicans from different organizations. It ended in 1921 by an agreement between moderate Irish leaders and Britain. It created the Irish Free State with dominion status and left Northern Ireland under English control. The war was called the War of Independence by Republicans.
Anglo-Irish Treaty- signed December 6, 1921 in London by representatives of the English government and some moderate Irish leaders without debate in Ireland or England. There was no formal acceptance by the Irish government.
By the terms of the treaty Ireland was given commonwealth status and to be called the Irish Free State, the king of England was to be accepted as the king of Ireland, an oath of faith was required of all elected officials.
England retained responsibility for the defense of Ireland and therefore three naval bases in Ireland. Ireland was to assume a portion of the English national debt. British citizenship was to be retained by all Irish citizens. The status of Ulster was suspended pending an election by its citizens to see if they wished to be a part of the Free State, otherwise the status quo remained with regard to the six counties of Ulster.
British officials told the Irish representatives that if there was a partition, and they doubted there would be, it would be a very reduced portion of Ulster.
Most of the Irish representatives felt by not signing the treaty, Ireland would incur a war with England. The Irish leaders, who signed, considered the treaty a major step toward independence without blood having to be shed and worth the acrimony of critics. Those who signed for Ireland were:
Robert Barton, Irish Minister of Economic Affairs; Michael Collins, Minister of Finance; George Gavin Duffy; Eamon Duggan and Arthur Griffith. All were members of the Irish Dail.
An Gorta Mhóir - Gaelic for The Great Hunger.
anlucht - Gaelic for `people', `folk', `tribe.'
annsin, ansin, innsin - Ancient Gaelic for 'there.'
An tamhrán Ná Isiúnta - Another Gaelic translation for A Soldiers Song.
AOH- Ancient Order of Hibernians.
Aos dana - Ancient Gaelic for professional advisors.
Aosdana - Irish state sponsored association of artists and writers.
Apostle of Temperance - A term applied to Father Mathew of Cork.
Apprentice Boys - Protestant fraternal organization with ties to the Orange Order named for 13 Protestant apprentices who closed the gates of Derry in 1689 and prevented the entry of the forces of Catholic King James II. Marches in Derry every August 12 commemorate the event. In 1969 the parade caused riots resulting in English troops being sent to Ireland. This happened again in 1997.
ar - Gaelic for slaughter.
ard aoibhin - Gaelic for beautiful heights
Ard Comhairle - Central Committee of the Sinn Fein.
Ard Fheis - A Sinn Fein organization representing all of Ireland. Other parties have used the term to describe their national convention.
Ard-file - Ancient Gaelic for Chief philosopher, advisor or poet.
Ard-Righ - Ancient Gaelic for `High King', the king of kings in Ireland.
Army Comrades Association - Precursor to the Blueshirts, a Protestant paramilitary organization in Ulster that became the National Guard.
Aras Uachtara- residence of the President of Ireland in Phoenix Park, Dublin. Formerly the residence of the English ruler of Ireland, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
as - Ancient Gaelic for `out of' or `arising from.'
athair - Ancient Gaelic for `father.'
Auxies - short term for the Auxiliaries.
Auxiliaries - The 1920 police force in Ulster made up of former WW I Protestant officers who served in the British Army.
avic - Gaelic for "my son" from a Mhic.
B-Specials - Before and after partition a bigoted Protestant militia group set up by the English to reinforce the Royal Irish Constabulary as needed. It was disbanded in 1970.
Back Bay Brahmin - Webster defines a brahmin as an intellectually and socially cultivated person, and an exclusive person. It was usually associated with wealthy New England families.
Back Bay was an exclusive area of Boston where such distinguished Old New England families as the Cabots and Lodges lived along with others who used their advantage of inherited wealth, status and power to control big business, i.e. banking, insurance, legal firms, mercantile companies and shipping companies. They were predominately white, Anglo- Saxon Protestants who opposed the rise of the American Boston Irish.
bad 'cess - misfortune (bad success)
bad scram - bad food
bádhun - Gaelic for wall, an enclosure or corral.
baithershin - another spelling of B'é i dir sin, Gaelic for "that is possible."
balbh - Gaelic for `dumb.'
ballach - Gaelic for `spotted.'
banshee - from the Gaelic, bean sidhe, meaning woman of the fairies, a female spirit.bata scoir - Gaelic for tally sticks.
Battle of the Diamond - Fought between the Peep O'Day Boys and The Defenders September 21, 1795 in the village of Loughgall, County Armagh. The Defenders lost and had many dead at the scene. Led to the formation of the Orange Order.
beardless youth - A reference to the young Prince of Wales in 1860.
bearla- Gaelic for "English.'
begorragh- apparently, a made up term used by the stage Irish as an opening expression as in "faith 'n' begorrah,"sure 'n begorrah" or just "begorrah."
B'éi dir sin - Gaelic expression, that is possible.
Béidir Sin - Another spelling version of B'é i dir sin.
Belfast Housing Action Group- a teenage gang from the Falls Road Catholic ghetto, they threw petrol bombs (molotov cocktails) that fueled events leading to the riots in Belfast in April of 1969.
Belfast refugees- In 1920, some 8,000 Catholic workers in Northern Ireland were suddenly forced out of their jobs when it appeared the Sinn Fein, who had just won 124 out of 128 contested seats in the Dail Eireann, would force Home Rule that would mean a united Ireland. Many Catholics were murdered in Belfast. Many Catholic families began to walk on the road south into the 26 county area for assistance. They were welcomed. A subsequent boycott of Northern Ireland products by the South spread to the United States Irish.
Benevolent Hibernian Society of Baltimore - Organized in 1803 to help Irish immigrants.
beos - Gaelic for `still', `further more.'
biddies - An unfriendly term for Irish females working as domestics.
birching - Whipping of children with a sapling on the backs of their legs as a discipline measure.
biteen - a small amount, a bit.
Black Irish - A term incorrectly describing people in Ireland descended from Spanish survivors of the wreck of the Spanish Armada (there were precious few). The Irish with dark complexions are more correctly and possibly connected to the Firbolgs who had dark features and inhabited Ireland before the De Danann and the Milesians.
black leg - Another name for Scurvy, a disease caused by vitamin deficiency. It would cause blood vessels under the skin, especially in the legs to break. The legs would turn black and blue up to the thighs and thus the term.
Black Leg - An Irish immigrant or first generation Irish American in the lower end of the American labor force. Taken from those Irish laborers who worked in the mud leveling hills, filling in swamps and oozy tidal flats. Their legs and pants were covered in mud.
Black Mariahs- street term for the RUC police vehicles used to haul off those arrested, also used in Boston, Massachusetts to describe similar police vehicles.The police called them "Paddy" wagons.
Black and Tans - The Royal Irish Constabulary earned this nick name when they were equipped with un-matching WW I era British Army pants and blouses. This came at a time when the unit was brutal in its methods and the name stuck after the uniforms were replaced.
Blanket Protest - In 1976, Irish nationalist prisoners denied "special category" status, i.e. political prisoner status in Long Kesh prison began to not wear jail garb, instead wrapping themselves in their blankets. This was not effective and led to the Dirty Protest and finally a hunger strike that killed many.
blarney - soft, blatant flattery, soft deception. Word comes from Lord Blarney and how he answered Queen Elizabeth's demands that he renounce his ancestral rights to his lands and acknowledge he holds them by virtue of a grant from the crown.
blather - Inconsequential small talk.
Bloody Monday - Anti-Catholic Riots in Louisville, Kentucky in 1855 that led to several deaths among Catholics.
bloody flux - bacillary dysentry
Bloody Sunday, 1920 - On the morning of Sunday November, 21 Michael Collins' Flying Column shot dead fourteen British officers most of whom where in intelligence work. That afternoon, while the All-Ireland Gaelic Football Final was being played in Croke Park, Dublin between Tipperary and Dublin, Auxiliaries and Black and Tans surrounded the grounds and opened fire on spectators, players and officials. Twelve people were killed and sixty injured.
1969 - British troops fired on Catholics in the Bogside area of Derry during riots there over Protestant marches through their neighborhood.
Blueshirts - formerly the Army Comrades Association until they adopted a uniform modeled on Mussolini's Blackshirts that was blue. They also had a fascist salute. This Protestant paramilitary group became the National Guard (a name not an official military organization of the government).
Board of Erin - In Ireland, the executive board of the AOH there.
bobtail check - When your paycheck is negative due to expenses owed the company as in company owned store purchases.
bodach - Gaelic for `clown.'
bodeasta - Gaelic for 'here' or 'henceforward.'
BOE - Board of Erin
bog - From the Gaelic `bogach' meaning spongy ground, a marsh, swamp.
bog rosaries - Rosaries that could be quickly hidden in the hand during a time when it was outlawed to say it. People would gather in the bog and among the hedges to say the rosary together.
Bogside - a Catholic slum community in Derry (Londonderry) where rioting led to Bloody Sunday in 1969.
bog trotter - a contemptuous term for the Irish during the first third of the 20th Century.
bohereen - Gaelic for a 'green lane.'
bóithrin - Gaelic for`a lane'.
Borumean Tribute - Literally, the Cow Tribute. In the First century during the reign of Ard-Righ Tuathal, The Desired, his daughter married the King of Leinster. After a time, the King of Leinster either tired of his wife or coveted his wife's younger sister, or both. He put his wife in a tower ad claimed that she had died.
Returning to court to proclaim his mourning he was given Tuathal's second daughter, as consolation for his loss. Years later, the two sisters accidently met face to face and both subsequently died of grief and moritfication. When Tuathal learned the facts he sent an army into Leinster, ravaged it and laid the tribute on the province for 5,000 cows, 5,000 hogs, 5,000 vessels of brass and bronze and five thousand ounces of silver to be paid to the High King at Tara every second year. For five hundred years the tribute was forcibly taken from Leinster and in the words of Seamus McManus in his book The Story of the Irish Race,
Often through alliances, mutual sympathies, antagonisms, hopes, or Dangers, half of Ireland, and sometimes all of Ireland was embroiled ... over the issue of the tribute.
Bot - slang for Botany Bay
boycott - To refrain from having anything to do with, shunning. Named after a Captain Boycott in County Mayo who rode rough shod over tenants.
Boyne, The Battle of- The Boyne is a river. On its banks, 25,000 Irish and Jacobite men in support of James II were decisively defeated by 35,000 Dutch, Huguenot, German, Ulster Irish and English troops of William of Orange. It assured the Protestant Ascendancy over Ireland for another century and a half.
boxty- a type of potato bread
brathair - Gaelic for 'brother.'
Breffny- In Gaelic, Breifne or Breffny was an ancient territory in what is now County Cavan and west Leitrim.
Brehon- in Gaelic, a lawgiver, a position respected in ancient Celtic society. The Brehon handed out judgements based on Brehon Law.
Brehon Law - The law of Ancient Ireland which featured fosterage, a complex compensation system for wrong doers, common consent divorce, fasting as a means of securing arbitration and no primogeniture for kings or land. Land belonged to the tribe and no individual, Kings and Chieftains were elected.
Breitheamh - Ancient Gaelic for 'judges' from which the word Brehon comes.
Bridey Murphy - A woman who epitomized the belief in re-incarnation.
bridgets - Irish female domestics.
brig - Gaelic for `hill.'
bring over - To sponsor or otherwise arrange for someone to emigrate to America from Ireland.
British Association for the Relief of Extreme Distress - A British organization that raised funds for food in Ireland during the Great Hunger.
brodie - Slang for a stunt, named for John Brodie who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge and lived.
brogue - An Irish accent, also Gaelic for shoes.
Brou-haha- a French term for hubub or uproar that has found its way into the Irish American vocabulary.
Broy harriers- a special corps of detectives supported by the Fianna Fail, that worked against the Farmer and Blueshirt political organizations and their individual members. These organization resisted government efforts to collect monies owed the government.
In 1934, they were exposed when a group of angry farmers were demonstrating near Cork against the forced sale of a farmer's cattle to pay fees owed the government. Broyharriers arrived and fired shots into the crowd killing a farmer's son, Michael Patrick Lynch, and wounding five others.
The fact there was never an investigation added to the turmoil and the knowledge the government was not only behind the detectives, but also the buyers of the cattle who would sell them below market value in England under a special granted license with only a percentage of the monies thusly raised used to offset the debt owed.
brugaid - Gaelic for a hospitaler, a member of a religious order who concentrates on the needs of the sick and needy.
Brunswick Clubs - Protestant organization opposed to Catholic Emancipation.
Brythonic - A division of the Celtic language based on phonetics that include welsh, Cornish and Breton.
buannacht - Gaelic for `paid soldiers.'
buide - Gaelic for `yellow.'
Burntollet Bridge- where the Peoples Democracy march was ambushed by a Protestant mob while the police watched.
CCDC- Central Citizen's Defense Committee
CDU- Campaign for Democracy
CNG - Cumann nGaedheal.
CSJ- Campaign for Social Justice
C-Special - British organization of Protestant paramilitarists that served as an armed and mobile support group to the Royal Irish Constabulary.
cabhien - Gaelic for a beautiful headdress, now used derisively to describe a shabby hat.
cailleach - Gaelic for old woman, nun or anchor.
cailne - Ancient Gaelic for `little country woman, became `colleen.'
caipin - Gaelic for `hat' or `cap.'
C'airde Sinn Fein - Gaelic for 'friends of Sinn Fein', a lobbying group for the Provisional IRA. In 1966, the spokesperson in Washington D.C. was Maired Keane.
cairrthe dhearg - Gaelic for red pillar or stone.
Cameron Commission- a commission appointed by the British Labour Party to inquire into the Ulster disturbances of 1969. It was led by Lord Cameron.
camogie - Women's field hockey or hurling.
Campaign for Democracy in Ulster (CDU) - Formed in 1965 and supported by Members of Parliament with Irish interests and others, forerunner to Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association.
Campaign for Social Justice (CSJ) -Formed in 1964 to fight discrimination in Northern Ireland led to CDU in 1965.
caoch - Gaelic for `blind', 'one-eyed.'
caoine - Gaelic for lament, funeral cry, became `keen.'
Caravats - A group organized to protest tithes to the Anglican Church and rent increases.
carrig- Gaelic for 'rock.'
Castle Garden - The name of the central processing center on Ellis Island in New York harbor that was set up to process immigrants to the U.S. and also to protect them from hustlers.
Cat & Mouse Arrests - harassment by a continual cycle of arrest - remand - arraignment - release.
cathair - Gaelic for stone fort.
cathas - Gaelic for battalions
Catholic Association- Organized in 1807 by Daniel O'Connell so he could work outside the Catholic hierarchy to raise funds from Catholics for his Catholic Emancipation campaign. The Association also worked for land and rent reforms. When it was outlawed by the English Parliament, O'Connell reorganized it as the New Catholic Association
Catholic Colonization Bureau - An organization founded by Bishop James O'Connor in 1859 in Omaha, Nebraska
to settle Catholics in communities in Nebraska.
In 1876, Bishop John Ireland of St. Paul, Minnesota created the Catholic Colonization Bureau to take the place of The Irish Emigration Society. This organization was to settle Irish immigrants in Swift County, Minnesota.
Catholic emancipation- it was considered and then refused by the English Parliament as a result of the French Revolution in 1789. This led to renewed efforts by the Irish to found a republic by seeking French aid. It also led to the rebellions of 1798 and 1803. In 1800 it was the carrot held out to the Catholic clergy for their support of the Act of Union. It was not until the passionate campaign of Daniel O'Connell that Cathlic emancipation became law in 1829.
Catholic Total Abstinence Union- a temperance organization.
caubeen - Gaelic for a little old hat.
CCDC - Central Citizen's Defense Committee.
CDU - Campaign for Democracy.
Cead mile failte- a Gaelic expression for "a hundred thousand welcomes."
Ceara- an ancient territory in what is now Carra barony.
ceili - Gaelic for an evening visit and later a social gathering such as a dance.
ceilidhe - Gaelic for the custom of house to house visiting, usually in the early evening. Now means an evening social event.
cele - Ancient Gaelic social group of freemen, i.e. farmers and merchants.
Celi - derived from `ceili' , `célidhe' and `ceilidhe' and now means a social gathering such as a dance.
Celt- From Old French `Celte' and Latin `Celtae' for Gael.
Central Citizen's Defense Committee - Formed in 1969 as a coordinating body for Catholic defense groups, became a conservative organization and anti-republican.
ceól - Gaelic for music
ceól sidhe - Fairy music
Charitable Irish Society - Founded in Boston in 1737 on Saint Patrick's day it is still extant helping the poor in Ireland and elsewhere. Now located in Lynnfield, MA.
Chartists - Advocates of Chartism, principles and practices of a body of 19th Century English political reformers wanting better social and industrial conditions for the working classes. Named for the charter in which they listed their demands. They were led by Irishman Feargus O'Connor, M.P..Their membership quickly rose to millions of workers.
Chief, The - A name some Irish called Charles Stewart Parnell.
Church of Ireland- the Anglican Church in Ireland.
Church of England- the Anglican Church.
ciall - Gaelic for `sense.'
cinel - Gaelic for kind, clan, tribe or descendants.
cipín - Gaelic anglicized as Kippeen for a little share of anything.
Circles - The local organization of the Fenians or Emmett Monument Association.
cirpin - Gaelic for a stick or twig.
Claddagh - A symbol named after the Galway village where it was invented.
The symbol shows two hands on either side of a heart as if to hold it; with a crown over the heart. The hands signify each if the people who share a love for one another while the crown indicates a pledge of fidelity to that love.
clan - Family or tribal group
clann- Gaelic for 'children.'
Clann Eireann - Gaelic for `People's Party.'
Clan na Morna - Originally a Firbolg warrior group whose most famous leader was Goll MacMorna, became the basis of the Connacht Fian.Clan na-Gael - founded in 1867, after Fenian revolt failed, as a secret Irish organization dedicated to an Irish Republic, organizing Irish-American help and opposing British influence in the U. S.
Clan na Baoiscne - Tribal group in the north of Munster which led to the formation of the Fian
Clann na Poblachta - Formed in 1933, it was an ardent republican party.
clean kill - murder of suspects in custody.
clifted - a term refering to how people were killed (by being tossed over a cliff).
cloch - Gaelic for stone.
clod hopper - A derisive term for the Irish.
cluricaun - A type of Leprecaun that drinks a well-to-do man's liquor.
Co-Arb- also seen as Com-Arb, from the Gaelic 'comarba' for 'heir.' They are hereditary lay abbots, of families that hold title to formerly church property from generation to generation. Another word used is 'erenagh.'
coffin ships - What they called the packet steamers who carried many immigrants in steerage where the close contact passed deadly diseases easily.
Cogadh an Da-Ri - Gaelic for the war of two kings referring to James II and William of Orange.
cohuleen driuth - Gaelic for a little enchanted cap.
Coign and livery - The practice whereby individuals were charged with the duty for keeping a soldier and his horse.
cóiste - bodhar - A mystical black coach with a coffin being pulled by headless horses.
Collas - Originally three brothers, cousins of Muiredeach who coveted their father's brother, Fiacha's, throne as Ard Righ in the beginning of the Fourth Century. They killed their uncle and one of them assumed the high kingship.
Muiredeach sought vengeance and in turn defeated them and reigned for 27 years as Ard-Righ. In the third year, the Collas returned from exile in Scotland and attacked Ulster for Muiredeach. They were successful and formed the new kingdom of Oirgialla (Oriel) and they became the clans of MacMahon, O'Hanlons, O'Carrolls and Maguires.
colleen dhas - Gaelic for pretty young girl.
colleen - Young Irish girl, from the Gaelic word `cailin.'
collioch - Gaelic for old woman.
Com-Arb- see Co-Arb.
comether - Come hither, forcing an acquaintance.
Comhantas Glas- Gaelic for the Green Party.
Committee for American Irish Defense - formed by U. S. General O'Ryan and other prominent Irish Americans in 1941 urging the Irish and American governments to allow the U. S. to establish air force and naval bases in Ireland to protect the flank against Germany and not have England involved.
Composition of Connacht - Like the Henrician Policy earlier, Sir Nicholas Malby in 1585 on behalf of Queen Elizabeth worked out a settlement between the government (Malby as lord president of Connacht) and the local aristocracy made up of Old English and Gaelic families whereby those who were confirmed in their estates would pay a yearly rent to the crown and disengage the land from any Irish (Brehon) jurisdiction.
conacre - a single parcel of a farm sublet for a single season.
Confederacy of Kilkenny- a federation of Catholic leaders in control of Ireland in 1642 showing nominal allegiance to Charles I.
Cofessions, The- St. Patrick's spiritual testament.
Constitutional Nationalist - An individual wanting a united Ireland by peaceful means.
corca - Gaelic for `tribe.'
Corca Laoidhe- ancient territory in what is now southwest County Cork.
corcach - Gaelic for `swamp.'
corned - liquored, intoxicated.
cóta mor - Gaelic for a big coat or great coat as some Irish say.
Council of Ireland - American based non-profit organization offering assistance to community self-help groups in Northern Ireland.
craic- Gaelic for 'conversation.' Sometimes extended to mean a good time as in an evening out among friends.
crannog - ancient Irish built this artificial island, accessible by only one road and a bridge, on a lake or marsh as a defensive
"fort" to protect the community and its property.
craobh - Gaelic for `branch' (of family).
craythur - A corruption of the word `creature' usually used as a metaphor or euphemism for liquor.
Creameries- cooperative dairies
creche - day care facility for children, nursery.
Cromac Square- located in the central Catholic area of Belfast, it was from 1935 to 1966 understood that no Orange marches would route by way of it. Ian Paisley won a permit to march there with his group in 1966. That action by the Northern Ireland government sent a message to the Catholic community that is stamped on their psyche with regard to where the government of Northern Ireland stands vis a vis all its citizens. The Orange Order is charged with the duty of increasing, each year, the areas of Catholic neighborhoods it marches into and claims for the Orange Order. Obviously the government understood this.
cromlech - literally `bent stones', a circle of monoliths, dolmen.
Cromwellian Settlement- wholesale transfer of Irish lands to Cromwell supporters. The indigenous Irish were removed to places in west and southwest Connacht. Those who refused to move were murdered thus the phrase "to Hell or Connacht."
Cruachan- capitol of ancient Connacht and burial place of Heremon kings.
cruit- Gaelic for 'harp.'
Cruithnians - What the Irish called the Picts.
CSJ - Community of the Society of Jesus.
Cuba Five - five American Fenians released from an English jail and placed by British officials and put on the Cunard steamer "Cuba" for New York City in January 1871 where they were greeted warmly by large crowds.
culchies - A disparaging Dubliner term for rural irish (derived from Kiltmagh, pronounced culchiemah).
Cumann na nGaedheal - Gaelic for Irish League or Society, formed in 1920 because of a split in the Sinn Fein.
This group was a pro-treaty (Anglo-Irish Treaty) republican group led by Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins and later William Cosgrave.. Organized the Army Comrades Association in 1930 later called the National Guard. The merging of the two into one organization became known as Fine Gael in 1933.
Cumann n Phoblachta - Gaelic for Republican League or Army. When De Valera outlawed the IRA in 1939, they went by this name.
Cumann na mBan - Gaelic for League of Women, formed in 1914 as a woman's auxiliary to the Irish Volunteers.
Curragh, The- a race course 30 miles outside of Dublin, also used to describe the name of the Republic of Ireland military holding area beside it.
curragh - Gaelic for a boat made with hides or canvas and pitch.
DI5- see Defense Intelligence 5
DI6- see Defense Intelligence 6
DUP- see Democratic Unionist Party
Dail Eireann - Gaelic for - The Irish Republic Parliament
Dalcassian- of or pertaining to the tribe Dal Casi (D'al gCais) known earlier as the Deisi. They were the main septs of Thomond and featured such families as the Kennedys and O'Briens.
Dal Raida- an ancient territory made up of a portion of north County Antrim and a part of Scotland just opposite it.
dall - Gaelic for `blind'.
Dallahan - a Gaelic mythological creature similar to a headless phantom.
daoine Maithe- Gaelic for "Good People" a metaphor for the fairy people.
daoine sidhe - Gaelic for fairy people.
deadladh- Gaelic for 'brave', 'daring', 'bold.'
Deanta sa tSeapain - Gaelic for "Made in Japan."
Deasy- a Gaelic dialect in areas of County Waterford.
De Burgos - A Norman family, they became the Burkes.
Decies- ancient trerritory in what is now west Waterford. See Dalcassian.
dedhlait - Gaelic for brave, bold, daring (alternate spelling).
deep interrogation- euphemism for beatings while in police or military custody.
Deer Island - Located in Boston harbor, it was a temporary processing center for immigrants that opened in 1847. Most all the immigrants were from Ireland who were hoping to escape the poverty, famine and sickness there. A quarantine center on the island detained nearly 5,000 Irish immigrants. Of that number, 1,500 died of malnutrition, typhus, dysentery, cholera and diarrhea. During the period 1847 - 1850, 852 Irish died. The dead were buried in unmarked graves on the island's coast.
Defenders, The - Catholics who banded together to resist Protestant attacks in the late 1790's. Said to have been another name or the A.O.H.
Defence Intelligence 5 - Formerly MI-5, the British Army's intelligence branch that operates in the United Kingdom and thus Northern Ireland.
Defense Intelligence 6 - Was named MI-6, the British Army's intelligence unit that targets foreign areas.
Deisceart Connacht- South Connacht
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) - Founded in 1971 by Right Wing Protestant Ian Paisley and is closely associated with his church, the Free Presbyterian Church.
derbfine - A Celtic family group that includes a man and wife and their direct descendants (Gelfine) and the father of the man as well as the man's brother's and their descendants for two generations
decent man - prounced 'des sent', a contributor to good causes, also a man of good values..the story of what happened to them that night and the total lack of justice enflamed the Catholics.
DI5 - See Defense Intelligence 5.
DI6 - see Defense Intelligence 6 above.
Dial Eireann - Gaelic for Irish Parliament.
diabre- Gaelic for 'oak.'
diaspora - migration to a wide variety of locations, from the Greek for dispersion. When spelled with a capital "D", refers to the settling of scattered colonies of Jews outside Palestine after the Babylonian exile.
dilse- Gaelic for 'love.'
Diplock Courts- Special British courts where, without juries, judges can convict and sentence suspects.
Dippers - disparaging term for Fundamentalist Baptists.
Direct Rule - having English administrators on Irish land applying English Law and royal wishes.
Dirty Protest- English reaction to the 1976 Long Kesh Blanket Protest was to not allow participating prisoners their chamber pots (toilets). The prisoners then used their excrement to write on the walls of their cells, this was the Dirty Protest. This went on for 5 years and led to the Hunger Strike in Long Kesh prison in 1981.
disguised - A metaphor and euphemism for intoxicated.
Dissenters- a term used in the late eighteenth century to describe Protestants in Ireland who were not members of the Church of Ireland. Most of these were Presbyterians. They often allied with the Catholics in the late 1790's for reform. Because of the discrimination, they became the first wave of Irish immigrants to America.
Divisions - the name of local chapters of the AOH.
Dock Wollopers - A derisive term applied to the Irish who worked the docks (longshoremen) in the mid to late nineteenth century.
doing time - period spent in an apartment while waiting for the opportunity to move into a single family house.
Doirse Dochais- Gaelic for 'doors of hope', an American based non-profit organization offering support to Northern Ireland self help programs.
Dole - Irish relief, welfare payment.
dollared - A phrase to describe an unfavorable (and often unlawful) exchange rate between Irish and American money.
dolmen - two or more upright stones supporting a horizontal stone slab, possibly an altar or other ceremonial site.
donn- Gaelic for 'brown.'
Donnybrook - a brawl, from the town in Ireland with the same name that used to have an annual fair that was notorious for the fights that would break out.
Draoi - Gaelic for Druid.
Draft Riots - After the U. S. Civil War was well on its way in the summer of 1863, the first draft of American youths to enter the Union army were announced in major northeastern cities. Rioting broke out when it became clear the supposed lottery of those selected was skewered to select more Irish than others, particularly excluding young men from wealthy families.
Draodheacht - Gaelic term for Druidic worship.
drolleen - Gaelic for `wren.'
dropeen - A small drop, a bit.
Druid - Ancient Celtic priests and priestess' or, later, a believer in Druidism.
Drumcee - A hill in Portadown, Northern Ireland where in 1996 the Royal Ulster Constabulary blocked Protestant access to Garvagh Road (near a Catholic housing area) for a parade for nearly three days and then suddenly reversed themselves, allowing the parade and beating and clubbing Catholics back away from the parade route. Many Catholics were arrested and not a single Protestant.
In 1998 a similar stand off took place after the parade was not allowed down Garvagh in lieu of the Good Friday Peace Agreement between all parties to work out Ireland's "troubles."
duais - Gaelic for `reward.'
dubh - Gaelic for `black.'
dudeen - Gaelic for a tobacco pipe.
dun - Gaelic for `fort' also `brown.'
duty - A metaphor for Confession.
Easter Rising - The revolt that broke out by Irish republicans in Ireland on Easter Sunday, 1916.
Eire - in 1937 after the abdication of Edward VIII, the External Relations Act terminated the Free State's relationship with the crown and the Irish Dail formally declared "Eire" as the name for Ireland in place of the Irish Free State. In Gaelic it means 'land if Ir.'
Eire was a queen of the De Danann
Eire Nua- Gaelic for new Ireland, the name of an IRA policy announced in 1996.
Eire Society of Boston - Founded in 1937 in Boston to promote Irish culture.
Ellis Island - The immigration processing point located in New York harbor now the home of a museum.
Emancipation, Catholic- see Catholic Emancipation
Emerald Board- An international organization above the Board of Erin it is made up of the executive board of each country's AOH
Emmet Monument Association - a name used by American Fenians to disguise themselves.
erenagh- pronounced 'aircinnech', see Co-Arb.
eric- in the Celtic culture, a fine.
Erin Benevolent Society - founded in St. Louis to aid Irish Immigrants in 1818.
Eriu- an ancient name for Ireland.
ershishin - Gaelic expression "Does he say?"
Essex Fencibles - An English militia unit recruited from the slums of English cities to reinforce the Yeomanry in 1798. Known for its atrocities, particularly torture, hanging, burning, whipping and the "pitch-cap."
FEA- Fair Employment Agency
FCA-Forsai Cosanta Aitula, an Irish Republic military unit.
FF- Fine Fail
FG- Fine Gael
FIF- First Irish Families, a reference to the early Irish immigrant families in the U.S. who were financially successful and enjoyed a status in the community at large.
Fag a Bealac- Gaelic for 'clear the way', motto of the 28th Massachusetts Regiment in the American Union Army of the Civil War.
Famine - See The Great Hunger.
fainne- a lapel pin indicating a Gaelic speaker.
Fair Employment Agency- set up by the British Government in 1976 to cover-up discrimination in Northern Ireland.
faiodh- Gaelic for 'voice.'
Falls- a Catholic section of Belfast.
fasc - Gaelic for `summons.'
fasting spittle - when striking a deal you would raise your cupped right hand to your mouth as if to spit into it making a noise like "thppt" and then shake hands.
fear dearg - Red man, practical joker
fear Gorta - "Man of Hunger", emaciated spirit of good luck.
Federation of American Societies for Irish Independence - an umbrella group formed in New York during the 1920's.
Feis - Gaelic for festival.
Feis Teamhrach- Parliament of Tara.
Fencibles - See Essex Fencibles
Fenian Brotherhood - Organized in 1867 with branches in America, became the IRB. Organized the the 1867 rising in Ireland.
Fenians - Originally referring to the military organization (Fians or Fianna) that grew in Munster and Leinster from the Clan na Baoiscne and later grew with the addition of members of the Clan na Morna from Connacht.. Its most famous leader in early times was Fionn MacCumail (Finn MacCool). His father, and his grand-father also led the Fenians or Fian as they were called in Fionn's time. They were hand-picked warriors chosen to defend the Ard-Righ, carry out his mandates, uphold justice, put down injustice and to guard the harbors from invaders .
The organization lasted for 159 years (125 AD-284 AD) and ended over an internal dispute over the Borumean Tribute that was so fierce it wiped out the organization
Members of the Fenian Brotherhood or the IRB.
Some in Northern Ireland refer to any republican as a Fenian.
fever ships - The packet ships carrying so many immigrants in their steerage holds along with any fever and disease they may have with them.
Fiachrach - Genitive form of a man's name, Fiachra.
Fian - Gaelic name for the Fenians.
Fianna - In Gaelic it means bodies of the Fian or the plural of Fian. a kind of junior branch of the IRA.
Fianna Fail (FF) - Gaelic for Soldiers of Destiny, largest political party in the Republic of Ireland. Originally formed by De Valera when Sinn Fein methods failed outside the government. De Valera formed Fianna Fail in 1926 to work toward his original goals to form a republic within government, something he succeeded in doing with the 26 counties. Party still calls for England to leave Northern Ireland and for a peaceful solution to unite Ireland into a single republic.
fiant- English Royal warrant for a commission, assignment, appointment, pardon, gant, etc.
fibulae - Gaelic for brooches.
Fightin' Irish - Motto of the New York 69th Infantry Division and of Notre Dame University sports teams.
Filés - Celtic cultural position of philosopher.
fine- Gaelic for 'family.'
Fine Gael - Gaelic for Irish Family, it is also the name of a political party founded in 1933 as a successor to the Cumann na nGaedheal was a coalition between the Labour Party, The National Guard (Blueshirts), the National Center Party and Clann na Poblachta.
Firbolgs - A peoples whose origins go back to Scythia and the Nemedians who inhabited Ireland but where forced to leave due to disease. They went to Greece and were either slaves or the lowest labor class. They got their name, which means "bag - men", because they hauled earth in bags to either fertilize their slave owners property or to improve their own which was on barren land. In 1400 B. C. they went back to Ireland.
They divided the island into five kingdoms and made Tara the seat of the Ard-Righ. Also seen as Fir Bolg and Firvolg
Flag Days - On these days, in Ireland. money is collected for churches, hospitals, athletic groups and charities by selling tiny lapel flags.
flaithe - Gaelic for warriors, also a chief.
Flight of the Earls - Ulster was the last province where England was frustrated in obtaining "direct rule." When the Hugh O'Neill rebellion ended in negotiation in 1604, the English had the upper hand in Ulster for the first time and began to translate their military control of the area into political control. Realizing the English would continue to encroach upon territories belonging to them- Hugh O'Neill, Rory O'Donnell and Cuconnaught Maguire, the Earls of Ulster, secretly and hastily departed Ireland together on September 4, 1607. The flight of the earls has become a poignant and romantic point in the long travail of Ireland mourned in song and poem. Their departure allowed England to confiscate the land which led to the planting of Ulster, the Ulster Plantation, with people loyal to England.
Flying columns - The term General Michael Collins used to describe his mobile forces .
Fodechtsa - Gaelic for "here', 'henceforward.'
Fomorians - People from Fomoria the ancient Gaelic name for Scandinavia. Staged some attacks on Ireland from Tory island.
Fontenoy - The scene of the greatest victory of France's Irish Brigade. Six regiments of Irish foot soldiers, with great losses to themselves, took impending French defeat near the village in Belgium and brought a French victory against England in the War of the Austrian Succession in 1745.
football - This is the name for soccer in Ireland, Europe and most of the world.In the United States it is a different game played by college and professional teams lined up against one another on a line of scrimmage with players wearing shoulder pads and other protective equipment as they attempt to advance a football to score a touchdown or field goal. The game the rest of the world calls football, the Americans call soccer.
Forbairt Feirste - An Irish language economic development agency in Belfast that works to create jobs for the Irish language community of Belfast. It receives most of its funding from the IFI.
forsloinnte - Gaelic for a group of related families.
Forsai Cosanta Aitula- Irish Army Territorials
Forties man- what the younger IRA men, in 1956, called the IRA men who were active in the IRA during WWII and still in the IRA in 1956.
Four Courts - A masterpiece of 18th Century Dublin architecture, the buildings housed government offices including the Public Record Office which had in its care many archival items such as ancient rare manuscripts. It was seized in 1922 by the Sinn Fein at a time when the Irish Free State was taking possession of buildings from the former British administration.
The group that occupied the building called itself the Republican Executive. The building was attacked by Free State forces on June 28, 1922 with field artillery and trench mortars. After 40 hours of bombardment. the Republicans surrendered.
It was the formal beginning if an Irish Civil War that would last for fourteen months and ended with an Irish Free State victory. In many ways the now restored Four Courts building represent the beginnings of modern Ireland.
Four Green Fields- allegorical reference to Ireland's four provinces: Connacht, Ulster, Leinster and Munster.
Four Horseman - a reference to the original leaders of the "Friends of Ireland", U. S. Congress lobbying group led by U.S. Senators Ted Kennedy and Daniel Moniyhan; Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill and New York Governor Hugh Carey.
Used by American sportswriter Gratland Rice to describe one of the University of Notre Dame's more notable football backfield's (1924) which probably was taken from the reference to the four horsemen of the Apocalypse..
Four Masters - Four friars, three O'Clerys and a O'Mulconry, in Donegal Abbey in the early 17th century collected all the old manuscripts they could find and wrote what has become known as the Annals of the Four Masters, an early history of Ireland.
Free Derry- a reference to Bogside when it was under seige by police in August, 1969 and the internal areas were governed by the IRA.
Free Presbyterian Church- the church founded by Ian Paisley in 1950.
Free State - The Irish Free State, the dominion status government of Ireland's 26 counties set up by the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the exclusion of the six counties of Ulster.
Friendly Brothers of Saint Patrick - a fraternal organization founded in 1768 among Irish-born officers in the British Army serving in North America.
Another fraternal group of the same name was founded in 1771 at Charleston, South Carolina and was made up of Irish Americans.
Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick - founded in 1771 among merchants in Philadelphia and New York to support charities. It also supported the American Revolution with funds.
Friends of Ireland - An association formed in New York with branches through out major cities in support of Daniel O'Connell's 1823-1829 campaign for Catholic Emancipation.
A lobbying group led by the "Four Horsemen" in the U.S. Congress with an interest in Irish affairs.
Friends of Irish Freedom- formed in the U.S. soon after the Easter Rising of 1916. In 1920, it was led by Judge Daniel F. Cohalan of the New York Supreme Court. He led the split of Irish American organizations with De Valera while De Valera was in the U.S. raising funds for the I.R.A. in 1920.
Cohalan took the unusual move when it was obvious De Valera was taking no one's counsel but his own. Also contributing to Judge Cohalan's actions were remarks De Valera made while starting the tour in the U.S. DeValera was quoted as saying he would accept a British version of the Monroe Doctrine for Ireland something which shocked hardline republicans like Judge Cohalan.
Friends of Peace - a joint Irish American and German American organization working to keep the U. S. from entering WW I on England's side. Founded in 1915.
frontier - refers to the border between The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Fruit-on-the-table Irish - These were Irish families who had emerged successfully in American business and were considered upper middle class but did not forget their origin as opposed to Lace-curtain-Irish.
Fund For Reconciliation In Northern Ireland - Established by National Conference of Catholic Bishops with the Irish Episcopal Conference to promote inter-religious human relations and reconciliation.
G.A.A.- Gaelic Athletic League
G.P.O.- General Post Office in Dublin that was layed to waste in the Easter Rising of 1916. It had been the headquarters of revolutionary forces under Patrick Pearse. The Irish tricolor was flown there.
gaedhal - Gaelic for `Gael.'
gaedhil- Gaelic for 'Gaelic.
Gael - A member of the Gaelic speaking Celts as opposed to the Cymric or Gallic Celts in Great Britain and Europe.
Gaelic - Of or relating to the Gaels. The Goidelic speech of Gaels
Gaelic Athletic League- founded in 1884 by Michael Cusack to encourage young Irish men to play the Gaelic sports of Gaelic football and hurling rather than the English sports of polo, cricket and rugby. It played a part in the revival of Gaelic culture that led to the founding of the Gaelic League.
Gaelic League - founded in 1893 by Douglas Hyde to promote the Gaelic language, and Irish culture. It had many branches in the U.S.
Gael Linn - A private organization that offers Gaelic (Irish) language classes for adults.
Gaeltacht - Gaelic for area where Gaelic is spoken.
Galatae - Latin word for Gaels, Celts.
gall- Gaelic for 'foreign.'
Galli - Another Roman term to describe the resident of Gaul in general..
gall da - Gaelic for foreigner.
gal l o glach - Gaelic for gallowglass.
Gallowglass - A mercenary foreign soldier. Originally the Norse-Gaels of the Hebrides, later some Wild Geese foot soldiers were called this.
galore - From the Gaelic go leor for 'abundant',' enough',' to sufficiency.'
gaol - British variant of jail.
garbh - Gaelic for rough, uncouth
Garda Siochana - Gaelic for civic guards, the police, in the Republic of Ireland.
Gardai - See Garda Siochana.
garran more- Gaelic for 'big horse.'
gated - A British tactic of harassment whereby a prisoner who has waited for a particular target date to be released is walked to the gate, let out, only to be re-arrested there in sight of freedom and anyone waiting, and marched back into incarceration.
Gaul - What Caesar called the Celtic area that today is mostly France (before the invasion of the area by Franks and Visgoths).
Gauls - Caesar's term for the Celtic inhabitants of Gaul.
gean-canach - Gaelic for a love-talking fairy.
Geasa - Gaelic for vows of chivalry, conditions.
gelfine - The Celtic family unit of a man, his wife and children.
Genelach - Gaelic for genealogy, pedigree
General Association of Congregational Churches - In Massachusetts, in the 1840s, an anti-Catholic organization.
Geraldine League - A group of Irish nobles who helped to hide the last Fitzgerald of the House of Kildare. Henry VIII was trying to wipe out the line. The League was successful when in 1541 the young man, then 14, was made Earl of Kildare.
Geraldines - The Norman FitzGeralds (and some Fitz Henrys and FitzStephens) descendants of Princess Nesta of Wales and Hery II, Gerald of Windsor and of a Norman named Stephen who became somewhat Gaelicized. Eventually this family became Earls of Desmond and Kildare.
giolla- ancient Gaelic for 'follower', 'servant' or 'devotee.'
Glorious Twelfth - Protestant description of July 12 and the annual commemoration of the Battle of the Boyne.
Goidelic -Of or relating to the Goidels.
Goidels - A member of the Gaelic branch of Celts, i.e. The Irish, Manx, Scottish Highlanders, Hebridean; contrast with Brythonic Celts.
goirm - Gaelic for `blue.'
Golden Door- the United States during the time of the great Irish immigration.
gombeen - usury
gombeenism - Where liquor was sold along with general trade goods, causing many a farmer to run up too much debt.
gombeenman - A usurer.
gomsh - From the Gaelic gum shun for `sense.'
gorm - Another spelling of the Gaelic for `blue.'
Good Friday Agreement - The agreement reached in the eleventh hour on that day in 1998 between all parties meeting to find a resolution to the "troubles" in Northern Ireland. The agreement was subsequently endorsed by elections in both the North and South. American stateman, George Mitchell, helped to broker a power-sharing government between Protestants and Catholics for Northern Ireland which England agreed to support.
gossips - In the 14th century Ireland, the godfather and godmother of the same child.
grabbers - people who bid for rented property against the renters.
Graces - Promises made by Charles I in 1627 for certain Catholic rights in return for funds. The money was obtained, the graces were not.
grawls - Gaelic for 'children.'.
Great Famine - A misnomer for what is now called the Great Starvation or Great Hunger for you can not have famine in a land that exported food as the English did during the potato blight years that caused over a million Irish to die of starvation.
The potato crop failed, fully or partially fourteen times between 1816 - 1842 making life very difficult for the Irish tenants who relied on the potato as their principle source of food from small patches near their home (which they worked after tending the large fields of potatoes and other crops of the landlord).
English writer Cecil Woodham-Smith wrote in her masterful study, The Great Hunger, that 45 years preceding The Great Hunger "no fewer than 114 Commissions and 61 Special Committees" reported on the state of Ireland, "and without exception, their findings prophesied disaster.
" These findings were either dismissed or just never addressed by the English government.
One of the British solutions to the problem that was tried after the fact, that is after starvation was widespread in Ireland, was a public-works employment program. This program asked for hard physical labor of people weak from hunger and disease. It was doomed to failure. The British government refused to distribute emergency food. The English feared "the Irish would become dependent on it." In reality the English failed to act because it would cost too much and would hurt agricultural prices. No doubt some English felt the loss of Irish lives was inconsequential and in fact might makes things easier for their management of Island.
Somehow the Irish survived. In late 1845 through about 1848, the potato blight killed any chance of any potato being grown in Ireland. Over a million people died of starvation during the period 1846 - 1851 with more made seriously ill and still more leaving Ireland to escape the misery. All the while the English were exporting other crops from the fields tended by their starving Irish tenants.
In June of 1997, at a gathering in the small Irish town of Millstreet to commemorate that terrible time, a statement was read by actor Gabiel Byrne. It was from British Prime Minister Tony Blair:
Those who governed in London at the time failed their people through standing by while a crop failure turned into a massive human tragedy. That one million should have died in what was then part of the richest and most powerful nation in the world is something that still causes pain as we reflect on it today.
That is the closest the British government has ever come to an apology and it took more than one hundred and fifty years before they could or would say that.
Great Ireland - The name used by Norse sagas to refer to North America because of "white-skinned" people there and their language.
Great Hunger - See Great Famine above.
Green - What they call a republican or nationalist both of whom wish to see a united Ireland as opposed to Orange for those who wish to retain a tie with England.
Green Cross Committee - a fund begun under an Irish Bishop to aid families of those imprisoned by the British for being Nationalists sometime prior to 1946.
Greenhorn - What the American Irish or Irish born in America for some time called the newly arrived Irish immigrant.
Green Party- allied with other green parties on the continent, this Irish party is concerned with the environment and conservation of natural resources. They did take a stand on a united Ireland saying they wanted a neutral peace keeping group in Ireland to help further negotiations toward peace.
grianan - Gaelic for green place
Grog Shop - Saloon or liquor store.
grom - Gaelic for surly.
Grosse Isle - Canadian immigrant processing center in the St. Lawrence Seaway.
gruama - Gaelic for surly, another spelling.
Guinness - A brand of stout or porter from a famous brewery of the same name.
gustah - Gaelic for "walk in."
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