Oifig an Phoist

Sometimes I refer to myself as faux Irish.  I’m pretty sure my last name is Irish, and I like their beer.  Occasionally I refer to the Irish as “my people” because I think that’s funny, but, I mean, that’s a stretch.  I have a fondness for Ireland, but that’s mostly because I spent a semester in Cork.  It’s travel nostalgia.

I took a semester of Gaelic while I was there, and the title for this post is my favorite thing to say in that language.  It means “post office.”  I can also say “It is raining” and I know the verbs for “to run” and “to be pregnant,” although let’s not get into the whys of that.  My Irish friends used to infuriate me by saying that Gaelic is a very phonetic language.  Spanish is phonetic.  Gaelic is a language where, like, if you put an L and an M together you get a V sound, but only if it’s proceeded by a certain vowel.  So, ask yourself, if you were going to take a purely phonetic attempt to pronounce “oifig an phoist”  what would that sound like?

But for all my superficial Irishness, I get a little excited about St. Patrick’s Day.  Is it because I look good in green and like dark beer?  Probably.  But I have a CD that I picked up in Killarney (my friends and I went to hear a band play based mostly on the fact that a man outside the pub warned us against going in to hear “the devil’s music.”  Apparently, Satan loves a good reel.) that will find it’s way into rotation along with The Frames and The Pogues.  I’ll have a pint of Murphy’s Irish Stout and think fondly my time living in a tiny apartment on Pope’s Quay.

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3 Responses to Oifig an Phoist

  1. sundryandco says:

    Being a Corkonian and currently typing for a seat in East Cork, I’d love to know what you thought of Cork? And I don’t mind if there are bad things too – In general, I love my county, but at times there are things I detest! I’m also curious to know the name of the band you mentioned…

    I agree with you – Irish is not at all a phonetic language. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s renowned for sounding nothing like its spelling. “Bh”, for example is pronounced like a “V”.

    Also, Happy Belated Arthur’s Day!

    • achickcalledmick says:

      I liked Cork quite a lot, although I’m not sure it’s a great tourist city. Places like Belfast and Galway seemed to have very touristy things we could do, making them really fun cities to land in for a few days, whereas Cork has the River Lee which is pretty gross. But because I spent six months in Cork, I got to know my way around, and it felt like home. We had our local bars that we regularly drank in, and I was a student at UCC, so I had Irish friends who invited us out dancing. I also had an annoying (American) date to Guinness Jazz Festival, but I liked doing a pub crawl to see various bands play. So, those touches helped the city feel special and home-y to me while I was there.

      The band I mentioned was a band called Gliondar, and I still listen to their CD sometimes, although years after I left, I would sometimes googled them and never really found much about them on the internet. They’ll always have a soft spot in my heart, though.

      It’s really nice to hear from you!

  2. sundryandco says:

    The River Lee went through some serious cleaning a few years ago – It was definitely much needed! Now you see a lot more rowing there and so on. I completely agree about Cork – It’s one of the main disadvantages of living here – There’s not an awful lot to do. I also agree that once you are based here and know people, it is much better. I love the area in which I live (ie: countryside), but I generally stay out of Cork City because, in spite of the improvements there over the past few years, there isn’t a lot to see.

    I’ll try and see what I can find out about Gliondar 🙂 Also, if you have Irish ancestry from the early 20th century, it’s worth checking out the census records which were put online! You can view a pdf of the census forms: http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/search/

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