Manchán Magan Thirty-Two Words for Field: Lost Words of the Irish Landscape


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Author: Manchan Magan

Date Published: 28-Aug-2020

"The richness of a language closely tied to the natural landscape offered our ancestors a more magical way of seeing the world. Before we lose their unique knowledge, let us consider the sublime beauty and profound oddness of the ancient tongue that has been spoken on this island for over 2'000 years". The Irish language has thirty-two words for field. Among them are: geamhar, a field of corn-grass; tuar, a field for cattle at night; réighleán, a field for games or dancing; and cathairín, a field with a fairy-dwelling in it. Every word has layers of wisdom and insight encoded in it that allows us to delve deeper into the psyche and landscape of this island. The Irish language evolved before mankind decided to limit reality to the parameters of the rational mind, with the result that it holds on to some essential attributes of life that we risk forgetting. In Thirty-Two Words for Field, Manchán Magan meditates on old Irish words - and the nuances of a way of life that is vanishing with them.

About the Author

Manchan Magan is a writer and documentary-maker. He has written numerous books on his travels and two novels. He writes occasionally for The Irish Times, reports on travel for various radio programmes, and has presented dozens of documentaries on issues of world culture. He lives in an oak wood, with bees, hens and veg, in a grass-roofed house near Lough Lene, Co. Westmeath.

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