"Jeez, anybody ever heard of a double meaning? Not an Irish speaker myself,
but is there any chance it's a cleverly poetic way of describing some
Well, yeah: that's what I was trying and (in a fog of post-dinner jollity)
apparently failing to convey. It's a plant and a surname. But in the
context of the song tune that Philippe was asking about, it's clearly a
The vagaries of spelling and meaning frequently give rise to this sort of
thing; and when you bring in Anglicisation it gets even more complicated.
Sometimes the translation will give the (or a) meaning of the word,
sometimes just the sound is "translated". Take the Donegal surname "O/
Duibhne", which is sometimes anglicised as "Deeney", as it sounds; but
because "duibhne" sounds like "daoine", which means "people", it's also
anglicised as "Peoples". Mac Lysaght calls this an "example of absurd
pseudo-translation", which I suppose would not please Tommy.