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Bagpipe inscriptions

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  • Bagpipe inscriptions

    Hi folks,

    Its probably an old topic, but I'm in terested in any tranditional bagpipe inscriptions or saying. For example, can someone please check my Gaelic translation (my grammar is probably a bit off, and I don't think I've quite got the right meaning for the second phrase):
    'S i phiob as fhearr gu ceol, ceolmhor, eutrom, eibhinn, alainn [She is the best pipe for music - great music, light, funny, beautiful]

    For that matter, does anyone know how I can find a copy of the 1973 Piping Times (vol 25, issue 4, pp. 18-19, I think) article on the Strathy Pipes, or any photos?

    Any other interesting gaelic phrases?


  • #2
    Ah... Ciotog...

    For what this may be of worth... from Guinness-fogged memories... in my first band...
    one of the Old Fellows... sometimes... three-quarters of the way through a hard night's
    playing in th' pub... and if we had played a tune... or a set... particularly well... would
    suddenly let out with a great cry!!... (here phonetically spelled in English)...

    ...Shan Balla Mor!

    ...which I was told meant... The Great Way Forward!... as he knew that good piping music...
    would assuredly... help propel... us onward... and upward!!

    Trusting that this may be of some assistance,


    My friends all know,
    With what a brave carouse...


    • #3
      The Gaelic itself is more or less fine, but don't forget your sràcan (grave accents).

      I'm not a native speaker myself, so if any of the few native or otherwise competent Gaelic speakers on the forum notice any fault here, please correct me, but I'd phrase it as follows:

      'S ì a' phìob as fhearr gu ceòl: ceòlmhór, eutrom, éibhinn, àlainn.

      Isn't there an inscription like this in Alexander Haddow's book? Probably been 20 or so years since I laid eyes on it, but it rings a bell.

      Pip01, I'm sorry to report that "shan balla mor" does not mean "the great way forward" in Gaelic; indeed, it doesn't mean anything as far as I can tell. For any budding Maoist Celticists out there, the Scottish Gaelic for "the Great Way Forward" might be better rendered as "an t-Slighe Mór air Aghaidh", though again with the caveat that I am not a native speaker (or a Maoist for that matter).


      • #4
        Graineag, you're quite right to remind me of the need for sràcan, or as I learnt them, síneadh fada. My problem is less to do with the grammar and more to do with the technology. I have to type up the text in MS Word, insert special symbols, then and copy and paste the text into the forum post. How do you do it? And I do love your observation about Maoist Celticists - I like the idea of Pip01's Slighe Mór (especially if I have to drive over it), but I was never quite convinced about the forward bit the Moaists were leaping on to.

        Anyway, while we're at it, could you help with the accents in:
        Tha ceol anns na maidean, Ma bheir thus as e



        • #5

          -- Formerly known as CalumII


          • #6
            Greetings, graineag, and All,

            Please do forgive my further Sassenach phonetics... but... and if... memory serves... one
            of the Irish Regiments... of Old... had (still has??)... Faw a Balla... as its motto (??) and
            the "Balla" part (again, I was told) indicates... in this case... making one's way... through...
            or... forward... (But I could easily have these two... completely reversed... )

            Now... when it comes to... matters in other languages... I find myself... in that same ol'
            leaky boat... as George Bernard Shaw: Other languages spoken?? ... Well... yes...
            but only three... fluently... English... Abusive... and Profane...

            So perhaps others here... can help get this... properly sorted...

            Regards to All,


            Last edited by Pip01; 05-02-2021, 07:34 AM.
            My friends all know,
            With what a brave carouse...


            • #7
              Hmm. I stand to be corrected very shortly by many who are more familiar with this than I, but the Royal Regiement of Ireland I think uses 'Faugh a Ballagh!' - the anglicisied version of 'Fág an Bealach'. Australia's 5th Divison used the same battle cry in both world wars. I translate the cry as 'Clear the way!' (or 'Get out of the way!'). There's a fabulous story of the Irish SGT ripping into the French shouting 'Fág an Bealach' and then 'Be Jazus boys! I have the Cuckoo!' on his capture of the French 8th's Imperial Eagle.