My Day in Words

I hope you’ve had a nice, relaxing Sunday. Mine was quite nice, and I while reflecting on it just now I was struck by the variety of interesting words involved in my day.

I took my little old Ford Fiesta to a lovely town in County Clare called Killaloe. There I was going to have a panini in a café before deciding on a steak sandwich instead. I then did some kayaking on the River Shannon and on Lough Derg

Sunday: literally means Day of the Sun, as in Ancient Greek times it was the first day of the week and therefore dedicated to the sun, the most important figure in the cosmos.

Fiesta: a Spanish word meaning feast or celebration.

County Clare: Contae an Chláir in the Irish language, the name probably coming from the Irish word clár (meaning plank bridge), probably referring to a crossing over the River Fergus.

Killaloe: From the Irish Cill Dalua, meaning Church of Dalua, a form of the name Lua. Lua was a saint who built a small oratory on an island in the River Shannon. When it became clear that the island would be flooded during the massive Shannon Hydroelectric Scheme in 1929, the oratory was taken apart and the reconstructed in the grounds of the Catholic Church in Killaloe, where it can be seen to this day.

Panini: from the Italian panino, meaning bread roll, with the plural being panini. Yet in English panini refers to a single sandwich, probably because it sounds a little more natural to say panini in English than panino.

Café: from French, meaning coffee or coffee house. Unusually for a loanword, the accent on the e is retained, probably to make it clear that the letter is pronounced and stressed.

kayak: from the Greenland Eskimo word qayaq, meaning small boat of skins. Mine didn’t have any animal skins on it.

Shannon: Sionann in Irish, named after a Celtic goddess of the same name, who went to a magical well, Connla’s Well, to gain wisdom. Despite being warned to stay away, she opened the well, and water burst forth, carrying her to the sea and death by drowning, and forming the River Shannon.

Lough Derg: Lough, from the Irish loch, meaning lake, and being the standard form for naming lakes in Ireland, as Loch is in Scotland. Derg, from the Irish Deirgdheirc, one of the names of the Celtic god The Dagda, meaning red eye.

I hope your Sunday was marked by such interesting words as mine!

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