Cruiskeen Lawn, November 2nd, 1940

 

The first of the Cruiskeen Lawn (Crúiscín Lán - little brimming jug) columns by Myles na gCopaleen (later changed to Myles na Gopaleen) appeared in this newspaper on October 4th 1940.

The columns were mostly written in Irish until the end of 1941 but this gradually diminished and they appeared almost exclusively in English from early 1944. In the following excerpt from a column published on November 2nd, 1940, Myles pokes fun at the rural self-help and development movement. As an alternative to the Muintir na Tíre (People of the Country) organisation, founded in 1937, he proposes setting up Muintir na Cathrach (People of the City). He warns that, otherwise, the country-folk will take over entirely, leaving city-dwellers beaten and broken and without even any potatoes to eat The country-folk are after us and they wont stop until Muintir na Tíre is ruling all of Ireland. Among the activities that would be fostered by the new city organisation to promote a true ethos of urban living are: billiards, drinking, smoking, playing cards, foreign dances, draughts, chess and snooker. – DEAGLÁN de BRÉADÚN

CLUINIM RÍ-RÁ ó am go h-am i dtaobh aicme ar a dtugtar Muintir na Tíre (Muinntear adeirtear amannaí, go h-áirithe i gCorca Dhuibhne).

Is léir gur mó a bhíd ag bronnadh ná ag glacadh mar gur annsa leo an tuiseal tabharthach.

Do réir mar thuigim iad, is ar chúrsaí tuata abhíonn curam na Muintire seo. Táthar ag iarraidh an saoghal tuata do bhisiú agus do dheisiú, breis airgid agus súbháilce do chur ar fagháil do na feirmeoirí, gach ni do chur arís mar bhí se ins an am go raibh réim ag Cathal Mór na Láimhe Fíndheirge. Tá sé sin maith-go-leor.

Acht bhfuil?

Tá baoghal ann, dar liom, go mbeidh an mhuintear tuaithe i n-áirde ar fad ar ball beag, maoin go léir na tíre aca agus daoine na gcathrach agus na mbailteach brúighte faoi chois go deo – briste bascaithe bréaduighthe, gan na prátaí féin mar phroinn aca i n-aghaidh an droch-shaoghail.

Sul a dtuiteann an tubaiste seo orainn, a cháirde, ba cheart dúinn teacht le chéile agus ár gcumann féin a chur ar bun. Ní bheidh aon deagh-shaoghal feasta ag na mic-cathrach mura ndéanann siad a bhfuil aca do chosaint agus do chur i dtreo. Tá na tuataí sa tóir orainn, agus ní stadfaidh siad go bhfuil “Muintir na Tíre” na rialtas ar Éirinn uile.

Bhéarfad féin leath-choróin mar shíntiús do chiste an nua-chumainn.

“Muintear na Cathrach” a bheas mar theideal againn, agus ní bheidh cead iontrála ag aoinne tuatach. Beidh “cathrachas” (agus sin amháin) ar siubhal againn sa chumann – a leithéidí seo:

Billiards;

Ól dighe agus tobaic;

Cartaí;

Táiplis agus fithcheall;

Damhsaí gallda;

Béarla buidhe;

Snúcar.

Mura dtigh le baill “Mhuintear na Cathrach” bheith folláin gan bheith tuatach, beidh siad breoite go deo agus lan-tsásta.

Beidh a thuilleadh agam Dia Céadaoin ar an adhbhar so. Aoinne a mholann mo thairiscint, scríobhadh sé chugam laithreach. Cuirtear croiseáladh ar na h-orduithe puist.

IN HISCruiskeen Lawn column of March 6th, 1941. Myles quotes an almost-certainly fictitious “Inquisitive Student” who has allegedly written to him to inquire what is the correct Irish version of Dublin’s Parnell Square, and offering six alternatives for his perusal.

Myles takes the opportunity to satirise the more pedantic and grammar-obsessed elements of the anguage movement. In tones reminiscent of a John Cleese character, he argues that the genitive case cannot be used because it implies that the Square belonged to the “Dead Leader”, when it was, in fact, named in his honour.

In the end and with tongue firmly in cheek, he opts for “Cearnóg Parnail” because it adheres to the rule in Irish grammar that a slender vowel goes with another slender vowel and a broad vowel with a broad vowel (“caol le caol agus leathan le leathan”).

Besides, as Myles points out: “We all know the square is broad.” He notes that a member of the grammar police is pointing out that this is still not entirely correct: “but I pretend I don’t hear him.”

Cruiskeen Lawn March 6th, 1941

Cuireann “Mac Léighinn Fiosruigheach” ceist chugam. Braitheann sé a leithéidí seo go léir i gcló agus fiafruigheann sé díom ciaca atá ceart –

1. Cearnóg Parnell;

2. Cearnóg Pharnell;

3. Cearnóg Parnail;

4. Cearnóg Pharnail;

5. Cearnóg Pharnaill;

6. Cearnóg an Phairnéallaigh.

Ní maith liom aon tuairm a thabhairt i dtaobh aitreibh agus buan-bhaile Chonnradh na Gaedhilge (gan beannacht agus roimh-chead uatha) acht ta se ionráidhte nach bhfuil aon ughdarás, mor ná beag, ag

2,4,5 na 6.

Cuireann an gheinide i gcéill gur leis an Dead Leader an cearnóg, cé nach ndéantar acht a ainm do ghairm dithe mar chomhartha omóis; cf.

O’Connell Street: Sráid Ó Conaill (i n-ionad O’Connell’s Street: Sráid Uí Chonaill); Nelson Pillar: Túr Mac Núilsin (i n-ionad Nelson’s

Pillar: Túr Mhic Núilsin) - agus mar san de.

Tá 1 agus 3 ceaduithe. Is fearr liom Parnail `ná Parnell de bhrí go gcóimhlíontar an riail i dtaobh caol le caol agus leathan le leathan; tá `fhios againn go léir go bhfuil an cearnóg leathan.

Deir Slánabhaile liom go bhfuil an focal “cearnóg” baininscneach agus dá bhrí sin gur cheart séimhiú a bheith ar an focal a leanann í acht leigim orm nach gcluinim é.

This is the last column in the month-long series celebrating the work of Myles na gCopaleen in The Irish Times