Exclamations

Fir gontair, mná bertair, baí aegtair!

Fir gontair, mná bertair, baí aegtair!

(men * are slain * women * are abducted * cattle * are driven)

Men are killed, women are carried off, cattle are driven away!

This is the dire warning that Súaltaim repeated again and again to the Ulstermen at the behest of his son, Cú Chulainn, when he was unable to resist the invading army, in the LL version of "Táin Bó Cúailnge".

Mairg dam-sa ría cách, mairg íar cách!

Mairg dam-sa ría cách, mairg íar cách!

(woe * to me - emphatic * before * everyone * woe * after * everyone)

Woe to me before everyone, woe after everyone!

The anguished exclamation of Lomnae Drúth in "Togail Bruidne Da Derga".

Fé amae!

Fé amae!
(alas * indeed)

Woe is me!

A formulaic expression, spoken by Cú Chulainn in "Serglige Con Culainn", and by others elsewhere. The druid Ollgáeth in "Tochmarc Ferbe" exclaims "All amae" when he sees a bad omen.

In comram beus!

In comram beus!

(the * contest * still)

On with the contest!

Spoken by Cet in "Scéla Muicce Meic Da Thó", as the gathered warriors compete for the "curadmír" or "champion's portion" (the best cut of meat at the feast) by boasting of their deeds of prowess.

Colla dem inchaib!

Colla dem inchaib!
(go away * from my * face)

Get out of my sight!

In the tale "Aided Guill", Cú Chulainn's charioteer, Lóeg, berates the hero for failing miserably in his first encounter with Goll, flinging a string of tauting comparisons at him (see Rot·naisc...), ending with those words.

In the tale "Goire Conaill i Cruachain ocus Aided Ailella ocus Conaill Chernaig", edited and translated by Meyer in ZCP i, Ailill uses a similar expression when he tells Conall Cernach:

"Not·beir éim as dem inchaib, resiu ba marb-sa." = Take yourself out of my presence, before I die." Conall had just mortally wounded Ailill, and the king's command is actually a kindness, intended to allow Conall a chance to escape. In the end, Conall dies, too, as the title of the tale makes clear.

Ní hansae!

Ní hansae!

(not * difficult)

That's easy!

This exprssion is used countless times in Early Irish literature to begin to reply to a question.

Mani má in talam fue!

Mani má in talam fue!

(if not * break * the * earth * under it(self))

Unless the earth breaks asunder!

Thus Gér, Gabar and Fer Rogain assure Ingcél that the deed will surely be done, in "Togail Bruidne Da Derga".

Similar expressions are found elsewhere in Irish literature. In the LL Táin, Conchobar says that he will certainly bring back the stolen cattle and the abducted women "munu tháeth in firmimint cona frossaib rétland bar dunadgnúis in talman ná mono máe in talam assa thalamchumscugud ná mono thí inn fhairge eithrech ochorgorm for tulmoing in bethad" (unless the sky with its showers of stars comes down on the surface of the earth, or unless the earth breaks from an earthquake, or unless the fish-finny, blue-bordered sea come over the surface of life).

In the later tale "Cath Maige Léna", a warrior tells his king "Is briathar dúinne, nó go sluigi an talam síss sinn, nó go tuiti an fhirmaimint anuass oraind, nach béram oired ordlaig tar ar n-ais nó céim ar cúlaib 'gut chosnam-sa!" (It is our word that unless the earth swallow us, or unless the sky fall down upon us, we will not give as much as an inch, or take one step back in defending you!)

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