Did you know that Cú Chulainn was conceived with a thirst-quenching drink? That ‘cluas’, the modern Irish word for ‘ear’, also means the handle of a cup? That the Old Irish word for ‘ring’ may have inspired Tolkien’s ‘nazg’? How and why does the word for noble (saor) come to mean cheap? Why does a word that once meant law (cáin) now mean tax? And why are turkeys in Irish French birds? From murder to beekeeping and everything between, discover how the Irish ate, drank, dressed, loved and lied.
This book tells a history of Ireland by looking at the development of 100 medieval Irish words drawn from the Royal Irish Academy’s Dictionary of the Irish Language. Words tell stories and encapsulate histories and this book captures aspects of Ireland’s changing history by examining the changing meaning of 100 key words. The book is aimed at a general readership and no prior knowledge of the Irish language is required to delve into the fascinating insights it provides. The book is divided into themes, including writing and literature; food and feasting; technology and science; mind and body. Readers can explore words relating to particular concepts, dipping in and out where they please.