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Subject: Re: Síle
From: Dennis King <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scholars and students of Old Irish <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 27 Feb 2006 16:16:01 -0800
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Gregg said:

> John O'Donovan apparently first recorded the folk term
> "Sheela-na-Gig" in his Ordnance Survey Letters of 1840
> when describing a figure on the Kiltinane church.

Right.  As I said earlier in the thread:

> It's originally a folk term, right?

So it does make sense to look for its immediate origin
in Modern Irish, or more likely Modern Irish as conveyed
through English.  The fellow you quoted has come up with
an ingenious explanation from within Irish:

> Shidhe is pronounced Shee and means Fairy Woman. Lena means
> WITH HER. 'Sidhe lena gig' means Fairy Woman with her Gee.

Unfortunately, "sídh" (the older spelling of modern "sí")
does not by itself, in my experience, ever mean "fairy" or
"fairy woman" in Irish.  "Gee" ('g' as in "go") is modern-ish
Dublin slang, alright, but I've never seen any evidence that
it derives from the Irish language.  So that kinda wrecks
his etymology.

As a list owner, I think it's up to me to say now that we need
to wrap up this thread.  Unless someone has convincing evidence
that SnaG is rooted in mediveal Irish, let's drop it now.
Thanks.

We're still open, however, for any good suggestions about the
etymology of "Fotla".

Dennis

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