rothmol corcra ó mulluch co talmain

rothmol corcra ó mulluch co talmain

(mill-wheel * crimson * from * crown * to * ground)

a (whirling) crimson mill-wheel from head to toe

We find this stereotyped image of great energy or frenzy first in the Táin (LU 6356-7) where it is used to describe Cú Chulainn:

“Atracht Cu Chulaind iar sin asa chotlud ⁊ dobeirt láim dara agid ⁊ dorigni rothmúal corcra o mullach co talmain.” (Then Cú Chulainn arose from his sleep and passed a hand across his face and made [= became] a crimson mill-wheel from head to toe.)

The “rothmol” is a technical term for the entire turbine and drive shaft assembly as found in horizontal water-mills. The expression continued to be used with variations down into the Early Modern Irish period, although the original sense of “rothmol” was apparently lost as the word was transformed into “rothnúall”, a compound of words meaning “wheel” and “loud noise”. The meaning of the expression also shifted from describing being filled with great excitement to flying into a rage. A late example from “Beatha Lasrach” (edited by Gwynn in “Ériu” 5.76) is:

“Doronadh rothnúall corcra óa bhonn góa bherradh dhe.” (A ‘thundering crimson wheel’ was made of him from his soles to his tonsure.)

The modern form given in Ó Dónaill’s dictionary is “rinneadh rothmhol corcra de”.

This collection includes a few other metaphors based on the workings of the medieval water-mill:

· Dia·fagbainn-se bróin úachtair…

· Noco modmar cach n-óenbró.

· Tuc bleith mulind tuathbil forthu.

· lúaithidir roth mbúaile

Topics: Similes, Metaphors & Kennings