A fellow changing his tire on a narrow
road found himself immersed in a herd
of dairy cattle. He didn't notice until
most of them had passed that they were
being herded by a young woman.
D: "Good day."
A: "Hallo. Excuse my cows. I wondered
what was slowing them up."
D: "Another five minutes and I'd have
been out of your way."
A: "Not many people come through here."
D: "I made a wrong turn somewhere. All
the signposts are in Gaelic and my
map only has English. And everyone
I ask for directions only speaks Gaelic."
A (smiling): "Tá Béarla ag mo theaglach
de gnáth, ach tá Gaeilge ag na ndaoine
formhór timpeall anseo."
D: "Please. I've been feeling like
I'm on another planet."
A: "I thought you were an alien."
D: "Your roads around here have craters
like the moon. They've hammered the
life out of one of my tires."
A: "This one's just an old cow path
somebody threw some gravel on.
They call it a boreen."
D (reflecting): "I've heard of boreens... and
Irish colleens. Your name wouldn't be
Rosie McCann, would it?"
A (laughing): "No-o. My name is Andrea Corr.
I don't have nut-brown hair, and you're
in the wrong county. I do have two white
D: "I think Rosie McCann had bare feet."
A: "Rosie McCann likely had hookworm too."
D: "You live on the farm here?"
A: "With my sisters and our brother. I'd get him
to help you, but he's not here right now."
D: "I'm finished. I'd be grateful for a place to
wash up though."
A: "Sure. And you might like a cup of tea."
As they caught up to the cows, she
whistled a cheery melody.
D: "I don't think I've heard that tune."
A: "It's unlikely. I just made it up."
D: "Hmm. Catchy."
At the farmhouse, she filled a
basin with water from the stove.
A: "Tea, hot water, soap, towel... Have a blast."
D: "Thanks a lot."
She crossed the barnyard and disappeared into
the milkshed. The visitor was just starting
back across the yard when glorious song broke
forth from the shed. It was a lone voice at
first, but was soon joined by two others in
ACS: I would run awa-ay
I would run awa-a-ay with you-u-u.
The visitor stood transfixed in the farmyard,
as if he were experiencing an epiphany. He
couldn't bring himself to move until the
singing finished. Then he went to the milkshed
door and looked within for the songsters. All
he could see were the cattle in their stantions.
He listened carefully and detected the sound
of milk jets hitting the pails. Conversation
followed and drew him toward its source.
C: "The butter wouldn't churn this morning."
S: "Someone's in love."
C: "I wonder which one of us caused it."
S: "I have a suspicion."
A: "Me? Maybe if fantasies count. But if fantasies count,
we'd never make butter around here. Hahaha!"
The visitor found the milkers working on adjacent cows.
S: "Dia dhuit."
C: "Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú?"
A: "He talks English."
S: "Hey, Bub."
C: "How ya doin'?"
D: "I'm doing fine."
A: "These are my sisters: Caroline, Sharon."
D: "I'm David. I heard wonderful
singing coming from in here."
A: "We were. We like to sing to the cows."
S: "It helps them let down their milk."
D: "You sing like that just to help
the cows let down their milk?!"
C: "We have to sing them something."
D: "It's a talent grossly under-used! It belongs
in a concert hall. It should be on the air waves
of the world, not confined to a barn in Donegal."
C: "We play instruments too."
S: "Would you like to hear us play?"
D: "I sure would. When would be convenient?"
A: "How about right now?"
The sisters hurried to empty their milk pails and
get their instruments. Still wearing their milking
smocks, they assembled in the barnyard, the lone
audience member seated on an overturned grain pail.
C: "One, two, three, four..."
ACS: Uncle Benny,
never had a penny,
only had his old banjo.
D: "Whoa, whoa, whoa. I like Uncle Benny,
but I don't want to hear it right now.
Can you play the one you were singing?"
A: "Sure. You want to follow along?"
D: "You've fully scored it."
A: "That and these others."
D: "There's more? I want to hear them all!"
And he did. The impromptu concert was
just finishing when a pickup pulled into
the yard. The driver got out.
J: "What's going on?"
S: "This fellow says he's in the
music business. He likes us!"
C: "He says we could be making our own records!"
A: "He says we could be touring the world!"
The visitor let the sisters make his
case, then stepped forward and extended
his hand. The gesture was met reluctantly.
D: "David Foster. Does that ring a bell at all?"
D (double-checking his pockets): "Wish I had one of
my cards with me.... I wrote the theme song for
the Calgary Olympics. I was in the opening
ceremonies. Did you watch them?"
J: "We don't have TV. Where's Calgary?"
D: "Hmm... I've produced a number of soundtracks.
Do you get out to the movies very often?"
J: "We saw Crocodile Dundee in Derry one time."
D: "That came out eight years ago."
J: "Something like that."
D (thinking aloud): "Let's see... I could list off
some of the artists I've worked with, but how would
I prove it? And you've never watched the Grammies...."
J (impatient): "Look. I can't spare the girls. We've got
a farm to run here. Good day."
A: "Ji-im. I'll talk to him."
Jim headed for the milkhouse. Andrea followed him.
S: "Our brother's a little wary of strangers."
D: "No offence."
C: "I'd be offended."
S: "So would I. That's no way to treat company."
C: "We don't get a lot of company."
S: "We have monogrammed linen and towels we never use."
C: "We were saving them for when special company came."
S: "They never came."
J: "Did you finish the milking?"
J: "How long's he been here?"
A: "An hour."
J: "You know not to leave the cows
in the shed unnecessarily."
A: "Well, who cleans it out?"
J: "What's he doing up here?"
A: "I don't know what he's doing up
here. You didn't give him a chance."
J: "Look... I can't run this place on my
own. And we can't just forsake it."
A: "I don't know why."
J: "We're the fifth generation here.
I feel some loyalty to our ancestors."
A: "Well, maybe we'd like a little more out of life."
J: "What are you hoping for? Fame? Fortune? Glamour?"
A: "Electricity. Running water. A telephone."
The other three appeared at the door.
J: "You know nothing about the guy."
A: "Labhair Gaeilge. Is féidir leis tú a chloisteáil."
D: "What'd she say?"
S: "She said, 'Talk Irish. He can hear you.'"
J: "Is cuma liom má chloiseann sé mé."
C: "He said, 'I don't care if he hears me.'"
A: "Tá tú ag caitheamh uait ár sárfhaill."
S: "She said, 'You're throwing away
a golden opportunity for us.'"
J: "Conas an bhfuil fhios agat tá sé an
rud a duírt sé tá sé?"
C: "He said 'How do you know he's
what he says he is?'"
A: "Níl a fhios agat níl sé."
S: "You don't know he's not."
J: "Bhí mé timpeall daoine mó ná tú."
C: "I've been around people more than you."
A: "Ní féidir leis áitigh. Cé mhéad deis agam?"
S: "I can't argue with that. How much
chance have I had?"
J: "Mar sin éirigh as ag argóint."
C: "Then stop arguing."
A: "Níl tú dáirire liom. Ceapann tú éidreorach
táimid cur i gcoinne thú."
S: "You don't take me seriously. You think
we're helpless to oppose you."
J: "Cad féidir leat? Bheith ar stailc?"
C: "What can you do? Go on strike?"
A: "Cad a dhéanfá mura dhéanfaimis?"
S: "What would you do if we did?"
J: "Cuir deireadh le turas míosúil go baile."
C: "I'd cut off your monthly trip to town."
A: "Ceapann tú teastaíonn ort do gach rud."
S: "You think we depend on you for everything."
J: "Tá sé cruinn. Tá sé fiche míle go baile.
Ní féidir leat a thiomáint, agus tá na
C: "You do. It's twenty miles to town. You don't
drive, and I keep the keys."
A: "Ní ceapann tú faoi ár dtodhchaí ar bith.
Ní teastaíonn liom caith an fuílleach mo
shaol ag beithígh a chrú."
S: "You don't consider our futures at all. I
don't want to spend the rest of my life
J: "Bíonn sé saol maith. Níl cúis gearán agat."
C: "It's a good life. You've got nothing to
A: "Teastaíonn mo shaol tábhacht aici. Teastaíonn
déan rud éigin ag iompar mo shíniú."
S: "I want my life to count for something. I want
to do something that bears my signature."
A: "Teastaíonn coslorg fág. Teastaíonn
daoine fhios acu bhí mé anseo."
S: "I want to leave footprints. I want
people to know I've been here."
A: "Teastaíonn tionchar agam. Teastaíonn
atáirg mé féin sa daoine eile. Níl tú
in ann tiscint é sin, an bhfuil tú?"
S: "I want to have influence. I want to
reproduce part of myself in other people.
You can't understand that, can you?"
A: "Ní féidir leat tú féin a chur sa m'áit. Níl tú in
ann feiceáil a dtuigeann ag searg san aonrú."
S: "You can't put yourself in my place. You can't
see that I'm withering in isolation."
J: "Yap, yap, yap."
C: "He said, 'Yap, yap, yap.' Means the same."
A: "Tá sé teorainn! Is leor é sin! Teastaíonn
amach! Ní féidir liom cur suas leis!"
S: "That did it! I've had it! I want out!
I'm not going to take it anymore!"
J: "Téigh síos, cailín! Ag sáil!"
C: "He said, 'Down, girl! Heel!'"
A: "Brúid neamh-mhothálach! Bain do magairle
féin agus beostoc a fhágáil mar atá!"
S (wide-eyed): "Uh, let's leave that
alone. I'm surprised at her."
J: "An bhfuil sé an aimsir mhícheart míosa go tabann?"
C: "We better leave that alone too."
A: "Bíodh an diabhal agat! Agus tóg beithígh leat!"
S: "This is getting ugly."
The function of the two interpreters was
reduced to little more than grimacing at
the exchange of Gaelic verbal blows.
C: "Ow-w! That was over the line."
C: "Oooo! Here comes the dirty laundry."
S: "That happened years ago."
C: "I'd forgotten about that."
S: "They're not observing any statute of limitations."
D: "We better do something. Can
you two act as peacemakers?"
S: "Of course. We're in the middle."
C: "It's our natural aptitude."
S: "Cease fire!"
J: "Ghlac an bhfuil sibh páirt sa troid?"
S: "We're not taking sides. Let's settle
this peacefully. You shouldn't need
to talk Irish in front of our guest."
J: "I'm glad you're being sensible about
it. I thought you'd side with her."
S: "It's not as though siding with her wouldn't
be sensible, but I'm being a diplomat. We need
to cool down and be rational about this."
J: "You really think she's right."
S: "Yeah. And you're being pig-headed."
J: "That's your idea of diplomacy? You try to get my
guard down so you can kick me in the balls."
S: "Labhair Gaeilge! Tá comhluadar againn."
J: "Tá a fhios agam tá comhluadar againn! Ní féidir
liom dearmad tá comhluadar againn. Tá sé cruthaigh
trioblóid ar fad. Teastaíonn comhluadar fág!"
C: "Tá tú cruthaigh trioblóid!"
S: "Ba bhreá liom d'imeoá!"
J: "An bhfuil sé an aimsir mhícheart míosa agaibh ar
fad. Tá sé mo smaoineamh ifreann!"
C: "Tá saol leat ifreann!"
J: "Tá a fhios agam bheadh sé ceannairc luath
nó mall. Tá sé toradh nuair teagmháil agaibh
an domhan amuigh.
C: "Teagmháil againn annamh an domhan amuigh!"
J: "Ag sáil! Ag sáil!"
J: "Téigh síos, cailín! Hormóin le deargbhuile!"
D: "Please. I don't know what you're saying,
but it sounds awful."
J: "Would you like a translation?"
D: "I'll take a stab at it: There'd be
a lot less trouble if I left."
J: "That's pretty good."
D: "My love of music stems from a love of harmony. The
last thing I want is to cause family discord."
J: "You're leaving?"
D: "If you'll give me directions out of here."
J: "Where ya headed?"
J: "Our road isn't on your map, but if you follow it
down you'll come to this road here. And then you
can see your way out. If you get lost and no one
speaks English, just say, 'Nil tuairim faoin spéir
agam cá tá mé. Foir orm le do thoil.' I'll write
it on your map.... Just show them that."
D: "What's it mean?"
J: "It means, 'I have no idea where I am. Please
help.' They'll probably look at you
pathetically, but what else can you do?"
D: "Thanks a lot... I think."
The sisters watched the visitor drive away with such dismal
expressions as have ever clouded a female countenance.
J (rallying his troops): "There are cows to milk. And
then we better clean out the shed."
C: "Aw, Jim. Are you ever gonna let us off the farm?"