| I'm new to this list, but I have a favour to ask of all of you who are
| more competent in the Irish language than I. I am writing a paper on
| the Old Irish poem Caillech Berre, and in this paper I must address some
| of the problems of translation. If anyone has any suggestion as to the
| meaning of the Irish Caillech, I would find this most helpful. Already
| the controversy over its English translation has become an important
| issue for my thesis. So far I am aware of the alternate translations;
| Old woman, hag, and nun. Has there been any new development that I am
| unaware of?
As I recall rustily, the word was originally used to mean a nun, and
referred specifically to the veil worn as an epithet of nun-ness. However,
later the meaning shifted towards an aged woman -- perhaps also because of
the association with the veil (married women wore them).