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Spreading the Words

Spreading the Words

Spreading the Words is a series on the histories of Irish words from literature and everyday life written by Sharon Arbuthnot and Máire Ní Mhaonaigh and produced in association with the book A History of Ireland in 100 Words and the electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language (www.dil.ie).


Dinnsheanchas (A Literature of Place)

Spreading the Words

Real space without and imaginative space within: how the poetry of Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, rooted in the landscape, echoes the interests of medieval Ireland.


Gloss/Clós/Glas

Spreading the Words

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s poem Gloss/Clós/Glas explores the sound and meaning of three interconnected English and Irish words. Her wonderfully creative word-play is celebrated in this special episode of Spreading the Words.


Fás aon oíche (Mushroom)

Spreading the Words

Ireland has a great biodiversity of fungi but how have the Irish referred to puffballs, stinkhorns and the like over the centuries?


Coll (Hazel tree)

Spreading the Words

Hazel trees have greatly benefited the people of Ireland since medieval times; hazel nuts have served as tasty, nutritional snacks and hazel rods have been used to construct houses and fences.


Dúlra (The Elements, Nature)

Spreading the Words

The connection between our state of mind and how we perceive things is explored in early Irish literature as well as in contemporary writings.


Damhán alla (Spider)

Spreading the Words

The Irish term for a spider has long been a source of puzzlement.


Immram (Voyage)

Spreading the Words

The theme of immram, or voyage, is central to a number of poems by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill.


Tarbh – Bull

Spreading the Words

In early Ireland, many activities were not permitted on a Sunday; but you could still bring a bull to a cow.


Cleas (Trick or Feat)

Spreading the Words

The early Irish hero Cú Chulainn was accomplished in an array of feats including the all-encompassing ‘body-feat’.


Gé (Goose)

Spreading the Words

According to a ninth-century Irish poet, the sure signs of winter included the sound of a barnacle goose.


Clábar (Mud)

Spreading the Words

Irish clábar lies behind Hiberno-English clabber and clauber, but for long have we been saying ‘clabber to the knees’?


Duileasg (Dulse)

Spreading the Words

In his poetry, Seamus Heaney referred often to ‘dulse’, but how does this edible seaweed feature in medieval Irish law, literature and medicine?


Bog (Soft)

Spreading the Words

Some shared insights into the relationship between the Irish adjective bog ‘soft’ and the English noun meaning ‘bogland’.


Smugairle Róin (Jellyfish)

Spreading the Words

A look into the history of the Irish phrase smugairle róin, which is widely known and much-loved today as a name for a jellyfish.


Snámh (Swimming)

Spreading the Words

Could medieval Irish people swim? Did they swim for pleasure? Hear about traditions of wild swimming and the dangers of swimming on a full stomach.


Maighdean Mhara (Mermaid)

Spreading the Words

This episode explores the concept of fish-women and other sea-creatures mentioned in medieval Irish literature and historical records.


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