"the ugly face"
Translation:an t-aodann grànnda
Yes. Even more similar than you realize. The t- was originally part of the an: *ant aodann. The modern spelling must result from mishearing this. In some languages, including Gaelic, we tend to attach consonants to the following vowel when we speak, regardless of the meaning. Other languages are the reverse. So it would have sounded like *an taodann.
Masculine nouns starting with a vowel.
Nothing to do with ease of pronunciation; just a historical oddity.
Hundreds of years ago the masculine definite article was ind, but the d was gradually elided before other consonants and ended up only pronounced before vowels. It wasn’t obvious then that it belonged to the article (in/an) so people started attaching it to the noun instead.