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  5. "Cá bhfuil Baile Átha Cliath?"

" bhfuil Baile Átha Cliath?"

Translation:Where is Dublin?

August 26, 2014



You might be wondering why Baile Átha Cliath bears no resemblance to Dublin.

The city of Dublin historically had two main settlements: The Viking settlement was known as Dyflin, taken from the Irish Dubh Linn ("Black Pool"), and the Irish settlement further up river was called Áth Cliath ("Ford of Hurdles").

The Viking settlement later became Anglicised to Dublin, but Irish speakers continued to call the city Áth Cliath (and still do to this day). Its full name Baile Átha Cliath means "Town of the Ford of Hurdles".

August 26, 2014


Grew up there and didn't realise any of that, maith an fear: go raibh maith agat!


Makes the passage in finnegans wake clearer: "bloody words for hurdlesford..."


"this is a common shortening of the name by Irish speakers."

I think you mean some Irish speakers. I have never heard it pronounced this way.


The only time I've heard anything different from a native Gaeltacht-tradition speaker is when they were using spelling pronunciation for teaching purposes.


Wow awesome. Thanks for this info


Why does is pronounce it as Bláth Cliath? This seems very off to me.


It's not pronouncing it incorrectly (for once): it's just the colloquial way of saying it.


Yeah it sounded really strange to me as well


It's the common way to say it among native speakers, as mentioned.


Bláth Cliath is a nice contraction, kindof like "flower of the hurdles". However, I'm not sure if this contraction strictly confirms with An Caighdeán. I dont know if Duolingo would accept "Dubhlinn" as a correct translation, it's commonly used too. No Idea where the officialdom of An Caighdeán stands on that one.


I can't say I've ever heard 'Dubhlinn' used except to refer to the historical Viking settlement.

Besides, does anybody outside of the government really care all that much for An Caighdeán?


This course claims to teach An Caighdeán, that's the only reason I was wondering...


It's based on An Caighdeán, but it's pretty forgiving of things from the dialects. Which is good for me as, being from the Northwest, I've a tendancy to use lenition in places where other dialects (and An Caighdeán) would proscribe eclipsis.


The 2012 Caighdeán (the most recent at this writing) often gives a choice of lenition or eclipsis in such places.

EDIT: So does the 2016 Caighdeán.


I'd guess that if eclipsis is proscribed, then all you'd be left with its lenition, so Ulster dialects?


Presumably he meant ‘prescribe’.


i've never heard it said like that in my entire life


If you listen to Radio na Gaeltachta or Radio na Life you'd hear it said like that most of the time.


Why can I not say "Dublin city/twon?


It's very uncommon to refer to Dublin as 'Dublin City', not just because the county no longer exists, or because city has swallowed a massive chunk of what was County Dublin, but because when people think of 'Dublin', they think of the city, not the county. So unqualified, when you say 'Dublin', you're talking about the city.

It's as unnatural to tack 'city' onto the end of 'Dublin' as it would be for London, Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Amsterdam, Rome, or any other major city other than the odd exception like New York City and Quebec City. But then it's because those cities share a name with a significantly larger area. The cities of Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford often have 'city' tacked on the end for this very reason: there's a need to distinguish them from their surrounding counties. Northern Ireland has two major cities: Derry and Belfast. Derry if often referred to as 'Derry City' to distinguish it from the surrounding (now abolished for administrative purposes) county, whereas Belfast rarely if ever is called 'Belfast City' because there's no need.

You'd never tack on 'town' to something the size of Dublin unless you were referring to the city in some bygone day when it was much smaller. You'll here that kind of thing in folk music and poetry, or in sentimental prose, but not outside of that. Dublin is much too big to be referred to as a 'town'.


And yet, there is a significant area in east Leinster where the word "town" on its own is generally understood to mean Dublin and/or the city centre. =0)


That's specifically about the city centre, and isn't specific to Dublin. 'Into town' basically means that you're visiting the city centre just about everywhere in the country.

There's a difference between something like 'in(to) town', and either qualifying a city with 'town' as in 'Dublin Town' or referring to it as 'a town'.


Where I grew up, "town" referred generally to Dublin. But now that I live in Dublin, it refers exclusively to the city centre. I think it's just a Leinster thing though.

But yea, on its own it is a different context.


That's like in the New York area, for a hundred miles in each direction (or more at times) people simply say they're going into "The City" and no one thinks the speaker means Newark or Albany or where ever.


It's a big different, because New York doesn't have a well-defined city centre, whereas Dublin and, say, London definitely do. I guess Lower Manhattan might the closest equivalent, given it's the centre of business and government in the city.


So people make reference to the area instead of the city and town here is just a sentimental mark, while people still can refere to Dulin city if it be necessary (which is not the case).


I think you're mixing up the fact that Baile Átha Cliath has nothing to do with the modern name of Dublin.... read the above comments and you'll see why..... also, the point was being made that when you say "Dublin" it ALWAYS means the city, where as if you were to differentiate you would have to say Dublin County... which rarely happens.


Especially given that the administrative county has been long gone for quite some time.


Ní maith le Duo tíreolaíocht


How is Cliath supposed to be pronounced?


Again, its bol-ya aw-ha clee-a for baile atha cliath!!! Starting to wonder what else i now pronounce wrong because of this???


You can pronounce Baile as bolya. Átha as aw-ha and Cliath as clee-a, but if you're actually talking with a fluent Irish speaker about Dublin, don't be surprised to hear "blaw clee-u".

The very first words in this TG4 documentary are I gcathair Baile Átha Cliath inniu

(That clip is no longer available - here's another clip where you can hear Baile Átha Cliath in the first few seconds - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3-L00rOS-g)

Both pronunciations are correct.


Our first time in Dublin, I asked one of the locals (a guy who worked in a car hire/rental place) how to pronounce it. He said it several times, fairly slowly, for me. It sounded like “Bah lee aha cleeve” to my semi-deaf Texan ears.

I never did learn to say it right, no matter how much I tried!

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