A Must For All Writers: An Sanasán Uisce/ The Water Glossary
Just like my favourite dictionary, yes, I said I have a favourite dictionary, John Drurys ‘The Poetry Dictionary‘, I now have a new gem to add to my favourites, and this is Carol Anne Connolly’s ‘The Water Glossary‘.
This is a gorgeous little book, a collection of Irish terms for water in many different contexts producing stunning descriptions of landscape, weather and the natural environment, brilliantly researched and perfectly produced and designed.
Connolly is a visual artist who’s work examines the development of current cultural, civic and social ideas relating to place. Influenced by the work of academic and writer Robert MacFarlane, Connolly researched and sourced the words from old texts and from a diverse range of people, including fishermen, farmers, weather forecasters, scholars and poets.
The end result is a beautiful collection of words in the old and the new Irish language that come with English translations that are as poetic as anything you would read from the greatest poets. As a writer reading through this book, inspiration drips into the palm of your hand, the words, though tricky to pronounce for non-native speakers have instant lovable mystery, and the meanings of the words are breathtaking and can easily inspire any writer to add these words to their work. A brilliant writer resource.
Here’s a few examples and some of my favourites from the book:
Aiteall – Fine spell between showers
Fiachaire – Raven-Watcher; weather forecaster
Glasreo – Hoar froast, vapour crystallising on vegetation, hence its meaning green frost
Scim – veil of haze or mist
Teasgal – a singing wind in a storm
Tarae – Mill-race, current of water that turns a water wheel
An – Water, still or quiet
Soma – Plenty of swans
Duirling – Stony beach
Confadh na fairge – The roaring of the sea
Muirchú – Old Irish name for a sea man, literally signifying sea hound
These are just a taste of what beauty you can find inside. The book is broken up into sections, 1.Weather, 2. Mountain stream, river and waterfall, 3. Bogland, 4. Still water: Puddle., pond, pool and lake, 5. The water’s edge: Beach, lake shore and riverbank and 6. Open Sea.
As well as great reading enjoyment, you will fall in love with the Irish language and the way the Irish people have the ability to be so beautifully descriptive about their landscape.
Language gives identity and a connection to all things that make us human. Connolly has brought us closer to our natural environment through words with astonishing imagery that any writer and reader will enjoy and love to include in their work or daily lives.
Check out Carol Anne Connolly’s website here to grab a copy before they sell out, if they haven’t already.