Moolah Isn’t Irish

I have just noticed a tweet put out by Shamrock Clubwis (Wisconsin Shamrock Club) on January the 12th.

Today’s slang word from the Irish language is “Moolah.”

Moolah comes from the Irish phrase, “Moll Oir,” meaning “a pile of gold.”

Thanks to Daniel Cassidy’s “How The Irish Invented Slang,” from 2007.

It’s unfortunate how this garbage just keeps on circulating, disappearing and then surfacing again like a dead rat in a blocked drain. No, there is no evidence that moolah has any connection with Irish. While Cassidy’s suggestion of moll óir is much better than his usual standard (at least the phrase could exist and doesn’t infringe any grammatical rules) there is precious little evidence of anyone, anywhere using this phrase. On Google, the one example I found was in relation to a taped interview with a native Irish speaker from Donegal. In a description of the contents of the audio, it talks about someone finding a pile of gold (moll óir) under a flagstone. However, listening to the actual audio, the phrase isn’t mentioned.

There are numerous theories about the origins of the word moolah, which first appears in America in the 1930s. The strongest suggestion, as far as I’m concerned, is the Spanish phrase (especially associated with Venezuela) bajáte de la mula, which literally means ‘get down off the mule’ and figuratively means ‘give me the money!’ Mula sounds exactly like moolah. (However, there are problems with this. See the comment from David Gold below.)

Moll óir, on the other hand, sounds like ‘moll oar’. In other words, it sounds absolutely nothing like moolah.

 

Tá mé díreach i ndiaidh tvuít a fheiceáil a chuir Shamrock Clubwis (Wisconsin Shamrock Club) ar an 12ú lá de mhí Eanáir.

Today’s slang word from the Irish language is “Moolah.”

Moolah comes from the Irish phrase, “Moll Oir,” meaning “a pile of gold.”

Thanks to Daniel Cassidy’s “How The Irish Invented Slang,” from 2007.

Ní thagann. Más féidir leat an Ghaeilge seo a léamh, beidh a fhios agat nach frása coitianta é “moll óir”. Agus níl an frása sin ar dhóigh ar bith cosúil le mula, agus cé go bhfuil a lán teoiricí ann faoi bhunús an fhocail moolah, an ceann is fearr, is dócha, ná an frása Spáinnise (atá le cloisteáil go coitianta sa Veiniséala, de réir cosúlachta) “bajáte de la mula”, a chiallaíonn “tuirling den mhiúil” ach a bhfuil brí fháthchiallach leis, mar atá, “tabhair dom an t-airgead!”  Tá an focal mula go díreach cosúil le moolah, ní hionann agus moll óir. (Agus sin ráite, tá fadhbanna ag baint leis an tsanasaíocht seo fosta – féach na tuairimí thíos.)

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Holy Mackerel

Of all the stupid things invented by Daniel Cassidy and presented to the world as truth in his idiotic work of fake etymology How The Irish Invented Slang, none is more ludicrous than his claims about the English exclamation ‘Holy Mackerel’, which dates back to 1803. 

Holy Mackerel, as we’ve said before, belongs to a class of exclamations called minced oaths, where a similar word is said in order to avoid a vulgar or blasphemous term. Thus, the French say Sacré Bleu (Holy Blue) to avoid saying Sacré Dieu (Holy God), and the Irish say Dar Fia (by the deer) instead of Dar Dia (by God). Holy Mackerel is probably a minced oath for ‘Holy Mary’. Mackerel is particularly appropriate because the mackerel is associated with Roman Catholics – people of the Catholic tradition tend to eat fish on a Friday instead of meat, and mackerel was a common choice.  Mackerelism was used as a pejorative slang term for Catholicism in the 19th century.

Cassidy claimed that this was wrong and that it derives from an Irish phrase mac ríúil – ‘kingly son’. In other words, it was supposedly something to do with Jesus. The problem is that while mac rí (son of a king) is a common phrase for a prince in Irish, mac ríúil is not. By definition, a prince is a mac rí. But princes are princely, not kingly and ríúil means kingly, not royal. That’s another word, ríoga.

As with the other minced oaths dealt with by this pompous dilettante (Holy Cow, Holy Gee), there is no evidence for mac ríúil (or the older spelling mac righiúil) existing in the Irish language as a term for a prince, or for Jesus.

 

As na rudaí amaideacha uile a chum Daniel Cassidy agus a chuir sé i láthair don tsaol ina leabhar bómánta bréagshanasaíochta How The Irish Invented Slang, is beag ceann acu atá chomh bómánta ná a chuid tuairimí faoin uaillbhreas Béarla ‘Holy Mackerel’, atá le fáil chomh fada siar leis an bhliain 1803.

Mar a mhínigh mé roimhe seo, baineann Holy Mackerel le haicme uaillbhreas ar a dtugtar mionnaí mionaithe. Sa mhionn mhionaithe, baintear úsáid as focal atá cosúil leis an bhunfhocal le focal gáirsiúil nó blaisféimeach a sheachaint.  Mar sin de, deir na Francaigh Sacré Bleu (Gorm Naofa) le Sacré Dieu (Dia Naofa) a sheachaint, agus deir muidne  Dar Fia in áit Dar Dia. Is dócha gur mionn mionaithe é Holy Mackerel bunaithe ar ‘Holy Mary’. Tá maicréal (nó ronnach nó murlas más iad sin na focail atá agat air) thar a bheith fóirsteanach cionn is go raibh baint idir an t-iasc sin agus Caitlicigh – ar ndóigh, bíonn Caitlicigh ag ithe éisc ar an Aoine in áit feola, agus bhí maicréal saor agus flúirseach. Baineadh úsáid as Mackerelism mar théarma maslach ar an Chaitliceachas sa 19ú haois.

Deir Cassidy nach bhfuil an tsanasaíocht seo ceart agus go dtagann sé ó fhrása ‘Gaeilge’, mar atá mac ríúil, ainm ar Íosa. Ar ndóigh, ní raibh mac ríúil riamh ann sa Ghaeilge. Níl ann ach cumadóireacht.

Go díreach mar an gcéanna leis na mionnaí mionaithe eile a phléigh an t-amadán poimpéiseach seo (Holy Cow, Holy Gee), tá ciall leis na bunúis Bhéarla agus níl ciall ar bith leis an ‘Ghaeilge’ a chum Cassidy. 

Clabber

It’s a terrible disgrace that there are a lot of people in the world of the Irish language who supported the con-artist Daniel Cassidy, author of the idiotic book How The Irish Invented Slang. For example, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir was prepared to support him and described him as ‘our friend’. Joe Lee speaks Irish too. It seems that he supported this weak-minded book because of his friendship with friends of Cassidy’s. In the case of Liam Ó Cuinneagáin, it seems that he was responsible for providing teachers for the Gaeltacht Weekends in San Francisco. If he had criticised Cassidy, he would probably have lost whatever money and status is associated with that, because Cassidy’s supporters have the upper hand in the world of ‘Irish Studies’ in California.

Pól Ó Muirí is a journalist with the Irish Times. In an article which is still available here  (www.beo.ie/alt-leabharmheas-7.aspx), he praises Cassidy’s dim-witted efforts, though, apparently, he didn’t know Cassidy, unlike the people mentioned above. It is hard to understand why he would be prepared to praise rubbish like this. He says, for example, that there is sense to the theory proposed by Cassidy that buckaroo comes from the Irish phrase ‘bocaí rua’. Of course, bocaí rua makes no sense in Irish. Were the cowboys all ginger? And as everybody knows, buckaroo comes from the word vaquero, which means ‘cowboy’ in Spanish!  

He also says that John Wayne speaks the word clábar (Irish for mud or curdled milk) when referring to women being thick in the film True Grit. That much is true and the word clabber is a word of Gaelic origin, without doubt. What he doesn’t say (he probably hadn’t done any fact-checking at all) is that bonny-clabber and clabber came into the English language from Irish bainne clábair and clábar early in the 17th century. They were in common use in the English of England, America and the West Indies for hundreds of years when John Wayne used the term in True Grit. 

There is an interesting article on Wikipedia about the word Clabber:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clabber_(food)

 

Clábar

Is mór an díol náire é go bhfuil a lán daoine i saol na Gaeilge a thug tacaíocht don chaimiléir Daniel Cassidy, údar an leabhair amaidigh How The Irish Invented Slang. Mar shampla, bhí Máirtín Ó Muilleoir sásta tacú leis agus ‘ár gcara’ a thabhairt air. Tá Gaeilge ag Joe Lee fosta. De réir cosúlachta, thug seisean tacaíocht don leabhar laginntinneach seo mar gheall ar a chairdeas le cairde de chuid Cassidy. I gcás Liam Uí Chuinneagáin, de réir cosúlachta, bhí seisean freagrach as múinteoirí a chur ar fáil don Deireadh Seachtaine Gaeltachta in San Francisco. Dá gcáinfeadh seisean Cassidy, is dócha go gcaillfeadh sé cibé airgead agus stádas atá ag baint leis sin, mar tá lucht tacaíochta Cassidy i réim i saol an léinn Éireannaigh in California.

Is iriseoir leis an Irish Times é Pól Ó Muirí. In alt atá go fóill ar fáil anseo (www.beo.ie/alt-leabharmheas-7.aspx), molann sé iarrachtaí bómánta Cassidy, cé nach raibh aithne aige ar Cassidy, de réir cosúlachta – ní hionann agus na daoine eile a luadh thuas. Is deacair a rá cad chuige a raibh sé sásta amaidí mar seo a mholadh. Deir sé, mar shampla, go bhfuil ciall ag baint leis an teoiric a bhí ag Cassidy gurbh ón fhrása Gaeilge ‘bocaí rua’ a tháinig an focal buckaroo. Ar ndóigh, níl ciall ar bith le bocaí rua sa Ghaeilge. An raibh na buachaillí bó uilig rua? Agus mar is eol do chách, tháinig buckaroo ón fhocal vaquero, a chiallaíonn ‘buachaill bó’ sa Spáinnis!  

Deir sé fosta go labhraíonn John Wayne an focal clábar agus é ag rá go mbíonn na mná ‘ramhar sa réasún’ sa scannán True Grit. Tá an méid sin fíor agus is focal de bhunús Gaeilge é clabber, gan amhras. An rud nach ndeir sé (is dócha nach raibh na fíricí fiosraithe aige ar chor ar bith) ná gur tháinig na focail bonny-clabber agus clabber isteach sa Bhéarla ó bhainne clábair agus ó chlábar na Gaeilge go luath sa 17ú haois. Bhí siad in úsáid go coitianta i mBéarla Shasana, Mheiriceá agus na nIndiacha Thiar leis na céadta bliain nuair a d’úsáid John Wayne an téarma in True Grit.

Tá alt spéisiúil ar Wikipedia faoin fhocal Clabber: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clabber_(food)

A Christmas Warning/Rabhadh Nollag

You can still buy a copy of Cassidy’s puerile, silly book on Amazon for a couple of dollars. If there were any justice, this trashy, awful book would never have been published in the first place. However, it’s Christmas, the world is full of suckers, so we can expect a few copies to be sold to the naïve and credulous.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again – if you give this book as a present, you are giving out a clear message about yourself. At least some of the recipients will find this blog or other negative reviews of this book. If they have any sense at all, they will realise that you are a total idiot, just like its author.

So, this Christmas, if you can’t think of anything to give people, don’t give this rubbish. Give a global gift from Trócaire or Oxfam or whatever the equivalent is where you live, or make a contribution to a charity on their behalf and put the receipt in a card. Give hope and help to people who need it, and say something positive about yourself.

Don’t give the gift of ignorance and lies this Christmas.

 

Is féidir leat cóip de leabhar páistiúil, amaideach Daniel Cassidy, How The Irish Invented Slang, ar chúpla dollar ar Amazon. Dá mbeadh an saol mar ba chóir dó a bheith, ní fhoilseofaí an leabhar bómánta seo riamh. Ach an Nollaig atá ann, tá an saol lán glasóg, agus is dócha go ndíolfar roinnt cóipeanna de le daoine saonta somheallta.

Tá sé ráite agam roimhe seo agus is fiú é a rá arís – má thugann tú an leabhar seo mar bhronntanas, is ionann sin agus teachtaireacht shoiléir a thabhairt faoin chineál duine atá ionat. Cuid de na daoine a fhaigheann an leabhar seo mar bhronntanas, tiocfaidh siad ar an bhlag seo nó ar léirmheasanna diúltacha eile ar an leabhar seo. Má tá ciall ar bith leo, tuigfidh siad nach bhfuil ionat ach bómán, go díreach cosúil le húdar an leabhair.

Mar sin de, an Nollaig seo, mura dtig leat smaoineamh ar rud ar bith le tabhairt mar bhronntanas, ná bac leis an raiméis seo. Tabhair bronntanas domhanda ó Trócaire nó Oxfam nó cibé rud den chineál atá ann san áit a bhfuil tusa i do chónaí, nó tabhair airgead do charthanas ar a son agus cuir an admháil i gcárta. Tabhair dóchas agus cuidiú do dhaoine a bhfuil dóchas agus cuidiú de dhíth orthu, agus abair rud éigin dearfach fút féin.

Ná bí ag bronnadh caimiléireachta agus aineolais ar do chairde agus do ghaolta an Nollaig seo.

Nollaig Shona agus Bliain Úr Faoi Mhaise Daoibh

Ba mhaith liom an deis a thapú anseo míle buíochas a ghabháil le gach duine a lean nó a léigh an blag seo i rith na bliana. Go raibh bliain den scoth agaibh in 2019!

 

Seo daoibh carúl galánta sa teanga s’againne, Don Oíche Úd i mBeithil:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBgcClx2wnM

 

Ba é Aodh Mac Cathmhaoil (Aodh Mac Aingil) a chum an t-amhrán galánta seo. Rugadh Mac Cathmhaoil sa bhliain 1571 i gContae an Dúin, níos lú ná 30 míle ar shiúl ón áit a bhfuil mise ag scríobh an bhlaig seo sa teanga a shaothraigh seisean ar feadh a shaoil. Bhí saol lán eachtraíochta agus léinn aige in Éirinn, sa Bheilg agus san Iodáil. Fuair sé bás sa bhliain 1626 sa Róimh agus is in Eaglais San Iseadór a cuireadh é.

 

Baineann an leagan seo úsáid as an tseaniolra thabharthach –aibh (col ceathrair –ibus na Laidine, mar shampla, sa tseanfhocal ‘e pluribus unum.’) Níl sin le fáil sa teanga nua-aoiseach. Agus is minic a bhíonn ‘faoin ghrian’ nó ‘faoin ngrian’ sna leaganacha nua-aoiseacha, cionn is nach dtuigeann Gaeilgeoirí an lae inniu an frása ‘ar grian’ a chiallaíonn ‘ar domhan.’ Níl baint ar bith aige leis an fhocal bhaininscneach grian (‘sun’ an Bhéarla).

 

Don oíche úd i mBeithil

beidh tagairt ar grian go brách,

don oíche úd i mBeithil

gur tháinig an Briathar slán;

tá gríosghrua ar spéarthaibh

s an talamh na chlúdach bán;

féach Íosagán sa chléibhín,

s an Mhaighdean Á dhiúl le grá

 

Ar leacain lom an tsléibhe

go nglacann na haoirí scáth

nuair in oscailt gheal na spéire

tá teachtaire Dé ar fáil;

céad glóir anois don Athair

sna Flaitheasaibh thuas go hard!

is feasta fós ar an talamh

d’fhearaibh dea-mhéin’ siocháin!

 

 

Yon Night In Bethlehem

 

I would like to take the opportunity here to thank everybody who has followed or read this blog during the year. Have a great year in 2019!

 

Here is a beautiful carol in our language, Don Oíche Úd i mBeithil:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBgcClx2wnM

 

This beautiful carol was composed by Aodh Mac Cathmhaoil (Aodh Mac Aingil). Mac Cathmhaoil was born in 1571 in County Down, less than 30 miles away from where I am writing this blog in the language that he cultivated throughout his life. He had an eventful and studious life in Ireland, in Belgium and in Italy. He died in Rome in 1626 and he was buried in St. Isidore’s Church in that city.

 

Yon night in Bethlehem

will be talked of on earth forever

yon night in Bethlehem,

the night the Word was born;

there is a glow in the skies

and the earth is covered with white;

behold Jesus in the cradle

and the Virgin feeding Him with love.

 

On the bare stones of the mountain

where the shepherds take their shelter

when in a bright opening of the sky

God’s messenger is there;

a hundred glories to the Father,

in the Heavens above so high!

and forever after on the earth

peace to men of good will!

The Trials of Bilingualism

As anyone who has read this blog will know, I started CassidySlangScam about six years ago to tell the truth about the late Daniel Cassidy and his crazy opinions about the Irish origins of American slang. The two languages (Irish and English) have had a central role in this blog from the beginning, but for practical reasons, the majority of the posts were in English for a long while. Of course, Cassidy’s fakery was aimed at Irish Americans who don’t know any Irish, not at fluent Irish speakers in Ireland (who would recognise immediately that Cassidy’s book was nothing but nonsense) and so, I decided to provide the majority of the material in English to cater for those people.

At the start of this year, I decided to celebrate the Year of the Irish Language by posting every article in both languages. When it was a short article, I put the two versions together on one page. With the longer articles, I made two posts, one in Irish and the other in English. The question is, however, should I carry on with this bilingual policy next year?

While I love the Irish language and though I support bilingualism in this country and in other countries where there are linguistic minorities, there is a good chance that I will not carry on with this policy in 2019. There will be bilingual posts here, certainly, but I will not provide two versions of every article.

Why? Well, firstly, the Irish versions probably aren’t necessary. Every Irish speaker (well, any sensible Irish speaker) knows that Cassidy’s work is nothing but the rantings of a lunatic. I have provided this blog primarily to spread the truth among Cassidy’s supporters in America. The Irish language pages get few hits in comparison with the English versions.

Secondly, big organisations have the resources to translate their documents into Irish. I am an individual who is trying to right a wrong and spread the truth. Usually, I write my pieces in English first – although I have written a handful of them in Irish and translated them into English. Of course, it makes sense to write the English first, because this blog is primarily about a book which was written in English, with sources which are available in English, and with Irish which is not really Irish at all. However, after I have composed the basic draft (in Irish or in English), I then have to translate it into the other language. That takes effort, of course. And sometimes, the result of that can be seen in the number of mistakes and misspellings. In short, it costs me twice as much effort and the standard of the writing is lower because of that. If I had a lot of time, that wouldn’t matter. But I am a busy person and I don’t have time.

There will certainly be bilingual posts on this blog in 2019, certainly. It’s good to increase the amount of Irish on line, and it is important to show the supporters of Cassidy that the Irish language is a real language, a language that is still alive and still in daily use by me, by Ciara Ní É, by Eoin P. Ó Murchú, by Maitiú Ó Coimín and by many other people who are on the right side of this argument. I will do my best to increase the amount of Irish on this site in 2019. But I will not be posting every article in both languages next year. There is too much work involved, and I simply don’t have enough time to do it justice.