DRD thinks Slieve Gullion lasses are the prettiest: Bradley

February 1, 2011

Local MLA Dominic Bradley says the translation of Irish as used in a sample bilingual road sign recently produced by the Department of Regional Development is “grammatically incorrect and error-ridden” and has offered his suggestion as to how the translation should read.

The sample road sign produced for the Department of Regional Development’s consultation on bilingual road signs features in English the legend ‘Welcome to the Ring of Gullion – Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, however, according to Mr Bradley, the Irish translation on the signs gives a completely different message – ‘Welcome to the Ring of Gullion – Area of Outstanding Feminine Beauty’.

As well as the mis-translation, the Irish on the sign contains several other errors including misspellings, omissions, and grammatical mistakes.

Mr Bradley, who is his party’s spokesperson on the Irish language, has a Masters degree in the language and taught the subject at St Paul’s High School, Bessbrook before being elected to Stormont.

After examining the sign, he remarked: “I agree  that the females of South Armagh are among the most fair featured in the land and our county song extols that virtue in them but I am not aware of any plans to start a match-making festival in the area.  I think that the DRD intended to refer to the beauty of the countryside in this instance but their choice of words was ill-judged.

“Having examined the wording on the sample sign, I can only describe it as error ridden. I would have thought that considering the fact that the Ring of Gullion is in DRD Minister Conor Murphy’s own constituency, that his department could at least have the sample sign right.

“In the seven words of Irish on the sample road sign reproduced in the DRD consultation document, there are at least four errors including a mis-spelling, an omission, a grammatical error and an incorrect use of vocabulary.

“In response to the consultation the first point that I will be making will be that DRD need to ensure that the Irish wording on the signs is correct.  This error ridden sample sign will not fill Irish speakers with confidence about this project and is, indeed, an insult to the language.  DRD Minister Conor Murphy needs to ensure that any signs erected as a result of this consultation are correct in all aspects.”

Mr Bradley says the use of the word ‘scéimh’ – as on the road sign – is almost always used in reference to female beauty  and usually in poetic context, adding the word most  commonly used to describe beauty of the countryside is ‘áilleacht’.

He suggests a more accurate translation of the sign’s message should read: ‘Fáilte go Compal Shliabh gCuilinn –

Ceantar Sár-Áilleachta’.