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Mo ghrá-sa (idir lúibíní) on this year’s Irish exam Part 1

June 11, 2017

Mo ghrá-sa (idir lúibíní) on this year’s Irish exam? Part I

Mo ghrá-sa (idir lúibíní) on this year’s Irish exam?


Mo ghrá-sa (idir lúibíní) is a poem written by Nuala Ní Dhomhaill, and one of five poems assigned for students to study in preparation for Irish Paper 2.

You can find the English translation of Mo ghrá-sa (idir lúibíní), plus our summary of it, below.

Mo ghrá-sa (idir lúibíní)

Níl mo ghrá-sa

mar bhláth na n-airní

a bhíonn i ngairdín

(nó ar chrann ar bith)

is má tá aon ghaol aige

le nóiníní

is a chluasa a fhásfaidh siad

(nuair a bheidh sé ocht dtroigh síos).

Ní haon ghlaise cheolmhar

iad a shúile

(táid róchóngarach dá chéile

ar an gcéad dul síos)

is más slim é síoda

tá ribí a ghruaige

(mar bhean dhubh Shakespeare)

ina wire deilgní.

Ach is cuma sin.

Tugann sé dom


(is nuair a bhíonn sé i ndeá-ghiúmar caora fíniúna).

Continue reading: Mo ghrá-sa (idir lúibíní) on this year’s Irish exam Part II

My Love (in brackets)


My love is not

Like the blackthorn blossom

That grows in gardens

(Or on any tree at all)


And if he has anything to do

With daisies

They will grow out of his ears

(When he’s eight feet under)

No harmonising green

His eyes (or No Musical stream his eyes)

(They’re too close together

To begin with)

And if silk is smooth

The hairs on his head

(Like Shakespeare’s Dark Lady)

Are thorny wires

But it doesn’t matter

He gives me


(And grapes when he’s in good humour)

This is quite a simple yet clever love poem. In it, the poet’s speaker mocks and subverts the conventions of traditional love poetry and sonnets by highlighting a number of the things that her ‘love’ is not. Her rejection of cliché serves to highlight that both her ‘love’ and love for him goes beyond the superficial to what’s ‘in brackets’.

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