Thirty-Two Words for Field: Lost Words of the Irish Landscape


By Manchan Magan (Author)
Format: Hardback 384 pages
Publisher: Gill
Imprint: Gill Books
ISBN: 9780717187973
Published: 28 Aug 2020
Weight: 514g

The Irish language has thirty-two words for field. Among them are: Geamhar – a field of corn-grass; Tuar – a field for cattle at night; Réidhleán – a field for games or dancing; Cathairín – a field with a fairy-dwelling in it. The richness of a language closely tied to the natural landscape offered our ancestors a more magical way of seeing the world. Before we cast old words aside, let us consider the sublime beauty and profound oddness of the ancient tongue that has been spoken on this island for almost 3,000 years.

In Thirty-Two Words for Field, Manchán Magan meditates on these words – and the nuances of a way of life that is disappearing with them.

'A rip-roaring, archaeological and anthropological exploration of the lyricism, mystery and oddities of the Irish language, and the layers of ancient knowledge encoded within.' The Irish Times

‘The book I never knew I needed’ Caitríona Balfe

‘If you’re into Irish Mythology, Manchán has got some incredibly interesting theories about Irish mythology based on his understanding of the Irish language, and he’s got some theories about the roots of the Irish language that are going to blow your head off.’ Blindboy Boatclub

‘One only needs to wade a few pages into this rich and absorbing work to see that perhaps we could do with a lot more characters like him dotted about this world.’ Hilary A. White, Irish Independent

‘An accessible yet erudite stroll back through the Irish landscape’ Paddy Kehoe, RTÉ

‘Manchán’s book, for which you don’t need a word of Irish, is a fascinating insight into our changing culture’ John Masterson, Irish Independent

‘The amount of fascinating detail in there is enormous’ Dave Fanning

‘This book is perfect for anyone who is looking to brush up on their Irish history, or delve a little deeper into their cultural heritage.’ Áine O’Boyle, RTÉ

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