Ba gat imm gainem.

Ba gat imm gainem.

(was * a withe * around * sand)

It would be like tying sand with a willow shoot.

This is one of a surprisingly large repertory of images of the impossible, pointless or fruitless found in Early Irish literature. A fairly exhaustive list of them can be found in the satirical Middle Irish text “Aislinge Meic Con Glinne”. Others in this collection include “Ba deól mela…”, “Is cuinchid smera…”, and “Ba robad do throich.” A modern quatrain that O’Rahilly gives as #207 in “Dánfhocail” begins with this image:

Lán gaid do ghaineamh thrágha,
nó beart gaoithe ar ghualainn,
greann dá chur i gcoidreamh
idir bhoidrisg do dhaoine duairce.

Topics: Proverbial Sayings