Bhí Mícheál Mac Suibhne - Seán Mac Confhaola

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(Tráth nuair) a bhí an Suibhneach ar (Chnoc Bhéal Leice) ag breathnú i ndiaidh cupla caora a bhí aige chonaic sé duine uasal ag teacht chomh fada leis agus a chána ina láimh agus a chú lena thaobh. Agus nuair a tháinig sé (chun) láithreach d'fhiafraigh sé dhó an rabh a fhios aige cán áit a raibh an Suibhneach anseo.

Dúirt sé go raibh an Su-... "Anois, a bhuachaill," ar seisean, "agus tá sé imithe as baile agus ní bheidh sé ar ais go ceann míosa nó sé seachtainí. Agus dúirt sé liom nuair a bhí sé ag imeacht, ar seisean, dhá dtiocfadh duine uasal ar bith an bealach seo, ar seisean, fios a ainm a fháil. Agus cén t-ainm atá ort?"

"Mise Réalta Bun Finne," ar seisean, "as Bun Sliabh Finne."

"Ach a Réalta Bu-... An leat an mada?" ar seisean.

"(Liom, a dhuine)," ar seisean.

"A Réalta Bun Finne as Bun Sliabh Finne,
Cuir do shrón i bpoll tóna do mhada!
Agus thusa, a mhada chaoil an rubaill fhada,
Cuir do shrón i bpoll tóna do dhuine!
Tháini' sé sin an bóthar dhon (...),
Déanfaidh sé sin (rámhainn) (dhon) (...)ócas (tuirne) nó maide
A (mhúinfeas an bóthar dhuit) go dté tú abhaile."


Once when Sweeney was on Beleek Mountain (?) looking after a few sheep he owned he saw a gentleman coming towards him with a cane in his hand and his hound by his side. And when he came he immediately asked him if Sweeney was there.

"Now my boy," he said, "he has gone away from home and he won't be back for a month or six weeks. And he told me when he was leaving, he said, if any gentleman came this way, he said, to find out his name. And what is your name?"

"I am The Star of Bun Finne," he said, "from the foot of Sliabh Finne."

"Is that dog yours?" he said.

"It is, sir," he said.

"Star of Bun Finne from the foot of Sliabh Finne,
Stick your nose in your dog's arse!
And you, you long-tailed skinny narrow dog,
Put your nose in your owner's arse!
He came along the road to (...),
He will spade(?) (...) spinning wheel or a stick
Which will teach you the road until you go home."


This appears to be related to a traditional narrative type known as a stave anecdote, whereby there is a verse at the end of a prose narrative that sums up or concludes the events, often in a clever way. They are very popular in Gaelic tradition, and usually concern poets or extempore composition of verse. See Donald Haase (ed.), The Greenwood encyclopedia of folktales and fairytales (3 vols, Westport, Ct., 2008), vol. 1, 158. This example involves the folk poet Mícheál Mac Suibhne (c.1760-c.1820), who was originally from near Cong in county Mayo, but spent much of his life in Conamara. See Máire Ní Mhurchú and Diarmuid Breathnach, 1782-1881: Beathaisnéis (Dublin, 1999), 75. One of his most famous poems is a comic satire entitled 'Iorras Fhlonnáin', and the current example seems to be another such satire, although many poems that were not composed by him were subsequently attributed to him in the folk tradition. For a collection of poems associated with Mac Suibhne see Tomas Ó Maille, Mícheál Mac Suibhne agus filidh an tsléibhe (Dublin, 1934). The poet appears in the story as a farmer or shepherd, which accords well with what we know of his life, as he wrote an eponymous autobiographical poem about his failure in that profession. See Fraincín Strae, 'An file as an bhFuinseanaigh', Scéala Éireann (June 19, 1951), 2. Another recording from the Doegen collection by the same informant, Is éard a bhí sa Suibhneach, may be the second part of this story, although this is far from clear, since the language is indistinct and the text is not continuous. If this is the case, the two may be considered as a poetic combat or exchange, which is another common narrative type in Irish oral tradition. See Dáithí Ó hÓgáin, Myth, legend and romance (New York, 1991), 368.

Title in English: Michael McSweeney
Digital version published by: Doegen Records Web Project, Royal Irish Academy

Description of the Recording:

Speaker: Seán Mac Confhaola from Co. Galway
Person who made the recording: Karl Tempel
Organizer and administrator of the recording scheme: The Royal Irish Academy
In collaboration with: Lautabteilung, Preußische Staatsbibliothek (now Lautarchiv, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Recorded on 18-09-1930 in University College, Galway. Recorded on 18-09-1930 in University College, Galway.
Archive recording (ID LA_1159g1, from a shellac disk stored in Galway) is 01:15 minutes long. Archive recording (ID LA_1159g1, from a shellac disk stored in Galway) is 01:15 minutes long.
User recording (ID LA_1159g1, from a shellac disk stored in Galway) is 01:12 minutes long. User recording (ID LA_1159g1, from a shellac disk stored in Galway) is 01:12 minutes long.