03 December 2007

Probably the Best Irish Language Advert in the World

Carlsberg currently are running a series of ads here that, while not quite good enough to render their product my beverage of choice, are impressive for all that. They involve Irish people drinking Carlsberg abroad and being faced with two options, neither of which are particularly tempting. Caught between Scylla and Charybdis, as they are, the lads realise that there's always another way -- or as the ads put it, 'It's not just A or B. There's probably C'. For Carlsberg, presumably.

Well, the latest ad, which you can watch here, is hilarious and utterly damning of the Irish educational system, or at any rate of our pretensions towards national pride. It's about three lads in a bar in Rio, where they come under pressure from the barman and customers to 'do something Irish' -- to sing or to dance. Instead one of them treats the Brazilians to the following inspiring poem in our native tongue.

'An bhfuil cead agam dul amach go dtí an leithreas?

Agus madra rua! Is maith liom cáca milis.
Agus Sharon Ní Bheoláin.
Tá geansaí orm.
Tá scamaill sa spéir.

Tabhair dom an cáca milis!'
This dazzles the crowd, who all murmur 'cáca milis', and afterwards one of the girls, dancing with our hero, asks him to speak more Irish.
'Ciúnas bóthar cailín bainne,' he says.

Impressive, you might think, except for the fact that the vast majority of Irish people are notable for their incompetence in our native tongue. Rendered into English, the 'poem' our hero declaims is as follows:
'May I have permission to go out to the toilet?

And fox! I like cake.
And Sharon Ní Bheoláin.
I'm wearing a jumper.
There are clouds in the sky.

Give me the cake!'

So everyone who's nodding along sagely is basically just saying 'cake'.

As for what yer man says when he's dancing away with yer wan?

Sadly, it's nothing more impressive than 'Silence road girl milk.'

Sharon Ní Bheoláin, in case you're curious, is a newsreader for our national broadcaster. She first graced Irish screens when reading the Nuacht, the Irish language news, back in the nineties. My first glimpse of her caused me to stop mid-sentence while on the phone, and exclaim 'Good God, Claire, there's some cracker reading the Nuacht!'

She's done more for the Irish language -- in tandem with the Gaelscoileanna, to be fair -- than decades of independence. And back when she skimped on the make-up, she used to be even prettier.

It has to be said that the lads are as good as their word here. They're asked to do something Irish, and come out with a spectacularly improvised stream of nonsense.

Flann O'Brien would have been proud.


Mick said...

Hi. Just found this blog after being all narcissistic and googling my own name (well, we've got to have a hobby!), and found out that I'm in your sidebar! Cheers. This is a great blog, by the way.
Sharon Ní Bheoláin is gorgeous! Much better than Nick Owen, who reads the news here in Birmingham! Any chance of a cultural exchange?

Anonymous said...

Actually, you should probably read the last two words inverted, so its Milkgirl, & one could argue that as there's a bit of a space after the bóthar, that what he's saying is: Road quiet, Milkgirl

Anonymous said...

And that, Anonymous, is why people dislike learning the Irish language so much; there is always some gobshite who will try to correct them for no reason other than to make themselves feel superior.

My opinion is that the original translation is perfect. The translation is word for word, as it should be, the guy in the ad was just saying words not making sentences. Moreover, Milkgirl is not a word in any language that I know of. You have succeeded in exposing your inferiority complex to the rest of us and in no way have you contributed to a better understanding of something that was never intended to make any sense.

I pity the fool who derives self-esteem from making such inane corrections.