Sgéilíní na Finne

"Sgéilíní na Finne" (= little stories from the Finn valley, which is in central Donegal) is a booklet of stories for learners of Irish, written by Aindrias Ó Baoighill (1888-1972), and published in 1928. The subject matter is a bit old-fashioned, but the language is first class.

The material has been recently republished, somewhat standardised, as part of a larger volume of Ó Baoighill's work called "Cnuasach na Finne", edited by Anraí Mac Giolla Chomhaill, but the text here is the original and gives a better idea of the spoken language.

Scéal 1 - Teach Mhicheáil Ruaidh Scéal 20 - Séamas Ó Duibhir
Scéal 2 - Thuit sé ins an Eabar Scéal 21 - An Macán Mór
Scéal 3 - Ar Fasgadh in a Shúil. Scéal 22 - Proinnsias Ruadh
Scéal 4 - An Fear Bréige. Scéal 23 - Conall Ruadh
Scéal 5 - Ag iasgaireacht a bhí sé. Scéal 24 - Deireadh an tSaoghail
Scéal 6 - Chuaidh an Ghrian an Aithghiorra. Scéal 25 - Sgoil nó Sgolladóracht
Scéal 7 - Cearca Mháire Ní Bhriain Scéal 26 - An Sean-Choileach agus an Coileach Óg
Scéal 8 - An Ganndal Drochmhúinte Scéal 27 - Críonnacht Madaidh
Scéal 9 - Ag Goid Ubhlaí Scéal 28 - Gabhar Sodhantach
Scéal 10 - Séamas Beag agus an Coinín Scéal 29 - Ceól an Phréacháin
Scéal 11 - "Páidín Fadálach" Scéal 30 - An Préachán agus an Crúisgín
Scéal 12 - Oidhche an Mhadaidh Ruaidh Scéal 31 - Gadhar agus Coileach
Scéal 13 - Ní thug sí a Cosa Léithe Scéal 32 - Iongantas na Luchóige
Scéal 14 - An Spéir ag Tuitim Scéal 33 - Bhí an t-Éan Ion-Churtha Leis
Scéal 15 - Bhí sé in a Sgoláire Scéal 34 - An Préachán agus an Cháis
Scéal 16 - Fiacla na Míoltóg Scéal 35 - An Madadh Ruadh agus na Caora Fíneamhna
Scéal 17 - Clog ag Crathadh a Rubaill Scéal 36 - Cuireadh 'un Dinneára
Scéal 18 - Sgadáin Úra Scéal 37 - Cleasanna an Mhadaidh Ruaidh
Scéal 19 - Im ar an Dá Thaoibh  

Sound files are provided for all the stories, in .mp3 format. They can be played with Windows Media Player (free download from here, if you have not already got it), and with many other audio applications.

The stories are read by Máire Ní Cheallaigh, a native of the townland of Mín na Sróna in Na Cruacha Gorma (the Blue Stack Mountains). Máire attended Bunscoil na gCruach, to which she returned as a teacher in 1952. She was the last teacher in the school, which was closed in 1971 due to the depopulation of the area.

The recordings were made by Áine Ní Dhíoraí, of Raidió na Gaeltachta, another native of the area and past pupil of the school, and in fact a close relative of Máire. We have Máire and Áine to thank for making these recordings available. Áine has recently edited Scoil na gCruach, Tír Chonaill, 1907–1971, an illustrated history of this unique school, mostly in Gaelic, published by Coiste Scoil na gCruach in 2008.

Fuair Máire bás ar 25 de Mhí na Súl Buidhe 2016, in aois 96, agus cuireadh í i gCill Taobhóige. Mairfidh a cuimhne ins an oidhridheacht seo a d'fhág sí againn.

To each of stories 1-7 I have added:

  1. A glossary of any words or phrases which might be difficult to look up in a dictionary, usually because dictionaries of standard Irish either don't give them at all, or give low prominence to their Donegal meanings. The best dictionaries for the purpose are Ó Dónaill's "Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla", which is the most complete; and Dinneen's "Foclóir Gaedhilge agus Béarla", which uses similar spelling to the book.

  2. A version which is intended to help with the pronunciation. This tries to show two things in particular:

    • what are the distinct syllables (separated by hyphens) and which syllables are stressed (shown in capitals)
    • which letter sequences are pronounced like something simpler (e.g. final -idh is like -í; final -adh is like -ú).

    You still have to read it as Irish, however, knowing how to pronounce the basic letters and letter combinations of Irish, e.g. "bh", "ea", slender "t", etc., and still applying general rules of Northern Irish such as: don't drag out vowels marked long when they are not stressed.

    There are at least two things which I would like to have drawn more attention to in the pronunciation, but haven't:

    • showing when written single "n" or "l" are pronounced like "nn" or "ll"
    • showing when "an" or "ag" are reduced to "a'".

Ciarán Ó Duibhín
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