Drink

Asoilgi laith lochrúna.

Asoilgi laith lochrúna.

(opens * ale * dark secrets)

Ale reveals dark secrets.

This proverb is embedded in the article on the obsolete word "loch" found in the Leabhar Breac (p. 268) version of Sanas Cormaic.

Ní mochen nech nos·fothraic nád·ib dig.

Ní mochen nech nos·fothraic nád·ib dig.

(not * lucky * person * that bathes himself * that not drinks * drink)

Not lucky the man who takes a bath without taking a drink.

This bit of marginalia is found at the bottom of page 94 in the Leabhar Breac. I have edited it slightly from the original spelling, which is "ni mochin nech nosfothraic na tib dig".

Compare this sentiment to the triad, also found in this collection: "Trí fuiric thige degduini: cuirm, fothrucud, teine mór." (Three hospitalities of a good man's house: ale, a bath, a big fire.)

Cid mesc lib coirm Inse Fáil...

Cid mesc lib coirm Inse Fáil
is mescu coirm Tíre Máir.

(although * intoxicating * with you * beer * of island * of Fál /
is * more intoxicating * beer * of land * great)

Although the beer of Ireland seems intoxicating to you,
the beer of the Great Land is more intoxicating still.

This half stanza is found in the poem "A Bé Find in raga lim", which Midir recites to Étaín in "Tochmarc Étaíne" (LU 10846-7) describing the wonders of the Otherworld, here called the "Great Land".

núa cacha bídh 7 sen cacha dighi

núa cacha bídh 7 sen cacha dighi

(new * of every * food * & * old * of every * drink)

the freshest of food and the oldest of wine

This formula, denoting the finest of hospitality, is found in the prologue to "Acallam na Senórach", where this is what Cámha serves to Caílte and Oisín. A similar formula is found later in the tale (line 5061) when the heroes are given "sen cach lenna & nua gacha bíd". The modern spelling of the formula, which is still used, is "nua gach bia agus sean gach dí".

Deog dam!

Deog dam!

(drink * for me)

Give me a drink!

Only one of the men of Scotland survived the Battle of Mag Rath, and he managed to swim home. Upon reaching shore, his lord asked him "Scéla lat?" (Do you have news?) His reply was "Deog dam!" Only after being given three cups of ale was he able to relate the sad news, after which he fell dead. A very similar exchange is found in the story of how Colum Cille liberated the hostage Scannlán by miraculous means (i.e. he sent an angel). In Geoffrey Keating's telling of the story, Scannlán was aflicted by a terrible thirst because his captors had fed him salted meat with no drink to follow. According to Keating, Scannlán was also rewarded with three drinks. The modern proverb "Is túisce deoch ná scéal" (A drink comes before a story) sums up this anecdote rather nicely! And finally, for another version of this latter, see the discussion of "Trí búada insci" in this collection.

Ní flaith téchtae...

Ní flaith téchtae nád ingella laith ar cach ndomnach.

(not * ruler * legitimate * that not * promises * ale * on * every * Sunday)

A rightful ruler provides beer on Sundays.

This maxim is found in paragraph 41 of the 8th century legal text "Críth Gablach". A good ruler was expected to be a generous host to his people. A failure of hospitality on his part could call his rule into question. In "Cath Maige Tuired", the Túatha Dé turn against Bres, their king, because he did not "grease their knives" (níptar béoluide a scénai) and because however often they visited him, when they left "their breath did not smell of beer" (níptar cormaide a n-análai).

Cuirm lemm, lemlacht la catt.

Cuirm lemm, lemlacht la catt.

(beer * with me * fresh milk * with * cat)

I like beer the way a cat likes milk!

A proverbial phrase found in the laws, and quoted by Fergus Kelly in EIF in the section on cats. Keating gives a stanza in section six of "Foras Feasa ar Éirinn" that is similar, but associates the craving for milk with children, and cats with a liking for meat:

Mil la mnaoi, leamhnacht la mac,
Biadh la fial, carna la cat,
Saor istigh agus faobhar,
Aon la haon is ró-bhaoghal.

The prose preceding this stanza says "An saoilir gurab fhéidir bean agus mil do bheith i gcómhghar d'á chéile, leamhnacht agus leanbh, biadh agus fial, feoil agus cat, arm nó oirnéis agus saor, nó fear agus bean i n-uaigneas, gan cumasg ar a chéile dhóibh?" (Do you think that it's possible for a woman and honey to be together, fresh milk and a child, food and a generous man, meat and a cat, tools and a craftsman, or a lonely man and woman, without them getting together?) Partholón's wife ask this question of her husband, after she has slept with his servant while he was away from home. Her argument is that she is blameless, because it is the husband's responsibility to protect his "property" from harm. In fact, she claims, she is the agrieved party for having been left unguarded!

Ropadh maith lem...

Ropadh maith lem
cormlind mór do rígh na rígh;
muinntir nimhe
aca hól tre bithe sír.

(would be * good * with me/
ale-lake * big * for * king * of the * kings/
family * of heaven/
at-its * drinking * through * ages * eternal)

I would like
a great lake of ale for the King of Kings;
and the household of heaven
drinking it throughout eternity.

The first stanza of a Middle Irish poem conventionally attributed to Saint Brigit, edited by David Greene in Celtica, vol. 2, pt. 1. There are a number of early tales that tell of Brigit's miraculous talent for turning bath water into beer and similar exploits.

Is loimm for sáith súan i fat.

Is loimm for sáith súan i fat.

(is * mouthful * on * surfeit * sleeping * in * length)

Sleeping too long is like having one drink too many.

Too much sleep can leave you with a hangover.

A proverbial saying incorporated into a poem that Emer recites to Cú Chulainn in "Serglige Con Culainn", when he won't get out of bed.

Trí fuiric thige degduini...

Trí fuiric thige degduini: cuirm, fothrucud, teine mór.

(three * hospitalities * of house * of a good man * ale * a bath * a fire * big)

Three hospitalities of a good man's house: ale, a bath, a big fire.

A triad from "Trecheng Breth Féne".

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