>> (a) Craoibh fhailme do fhâs
>> (b) ô n-Athlamhan Aodh
>> (c) sen nûa anonn a fhrémh
>> (d) ûa do C[h]unn an craoibh
>> A branch of a palm tree grew
>> from Aedh Athlamhan,
>> from the ancient up to the new, [he was] its root;
>> [Cormac] the grandson to Conn [was] the branch.
> Two comments on (a):
> "Craoibh" is probably plural here, if that's what's in the
> MS. Are you reading the stroke beneath the "bh" as the "i"?
Yes, I was. But it might just be a blemish of some kind. It is fairly
faint. Two arguments in favour of the blemish theory are:
(i) the angle of the line is not in keeping with the scribe's normal
subscript 'i' (which tends to head to the right before curving back to
the left); and
(ii) a subscript 'i' under a 'b' would normally indicate 'bi' rather
One problem I had in reading 'craobh' was the final word of the stanza,
which seems to be 'craoibh'. (I read it as containing an 'ao' ligature
followed by an 'i'.) As I treat it as nominative singular, this ought
really to be 'craobh', and so I was reluctant to discount the presence
of an 'i' in the opening word. (Is there a way of treating it as
accusative or dative here?)
I don't think the opening word could be a plural anyway; that would be
'craobha' in both Old Irish and Modern Irish wouldn't it? The word seems
to have been consistently feminine. Or do you have examples of it as a
A further advantage in reading a feminine singular noun here at the
beginning of the stanza is that it explains the lenition of the
Perhaps we should print the opening word as 'craobh' and print the
closing word as 'crao(i)bh'?
> "Failm" is certainly a variant of "pailm" (palm tree),
> but it may be worth noting that "ailm" seems to exist
> as a word meaning "pine" -- a tree actually found in
> Ireland. See:
That is very interesting! I noticed in Ireland that on Palm Sunday they
resort to using fir tree fronds rather than palm fronds (which I thought
was only for the obvious reason), and also that my Irish wife would
often refer to a fir tree as a 'palm tree'. It hadn't occurred to me
that the source of this confusion in English terminology might be that
Irish words are so similar (especially in contexts producing lenition,
such as we have here).
> Ceist: could the "do" in (d) actually be "di" in the
Both of the examples of 'do' in this stanza look like the 'do'
compendium to me (the first with a horizontal 'ascender', the second
with a vertical one). The final stroke is probably too brief and too
rounded at the bottom to be an 'i'.
(There is a table of 369 'nuid' at page 572 of Irisleabhar na Gaedhilge
for Meitheamh 1904. The 'do' compendium is no. 107.)