Eastáit na Sí

Eastáit na Sí

An interesting Irish expression I came across recently is Eastáit na Sí (“Fairy Estates”), which are known as Ghost Estates in English. These are housing estates full of empty houses that nobody can afford thanks to the disappearance of the Celtic Tiger.

The Irish version refers to the (fairies or little people) from Irish folklore. The writer of the article suggests a solution to this problem – making the empty estates into new Gaeltachtaí [source].

The old spelling of is sídhe; in Old Irish it’s síde; in Scottish Gaelic it’s sìth, and in Manx it’s shee, and the English word banshee comes from the Irish bean sí (fairy woman).

The fairy folk are often referred to be other names and it is consider unlucky to call them fairies. Instead they might be known as wee folk, good folk, people of peace, fair folk, good neighbours or little people in English. In Welsh they’re known as the tylwyth teg (fair tribe), in Manx they’re the mooinjer veggey (little people), and in Cornwall they’re known as piskies or the pobel vean (little people).

The word fairy comes from the Late Latin fata (one of the Fates) via the Old French faerie, which means the land, realm, or characteristic activity (i.e. enchantment) of the people of folklore called faie or fee [source].

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona Daoibh / Happy St Patrick’s Day!

This entry was posted in Cornish, English, Etymology, French, Irish, Language, Latin, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh.

4 Responses to Eastáit na Sí

  1. michael farris says:

    “The writer of the article suggests a solution to this problem – making the empty estates into new Gaeltachtaí”

    I realize that’s probably a joke, but it would be pretty cool. I’ve long wanted an excuse to learn Irish but couldn’t justify it with no direct contact (and a plate full of other languages I need to keep up with).

    IF there ever is real evidence that use of Irish as a daily first language was spreading I’m sure I’d just say say hell with it and do my best to cram it in the mix somehow.

  2. Jim Morrison says:

    I suspect his proposal is at least a bit tongue in cheek, but it would be nice. I was surprised to read that there have been no new official Gaeltachtaí since 1956.
    I have also been tempted for a few years now to learn one of the Celtic languages, probably a Goidelic one. I will hopefully get round to it one day.

  3. Dennis King says:

    “sona” — agreeing with “lá”

    Tá súil agam gur bhain tú taitneamh as an lá … agus nár ól tú an iomarca:


  4. TJ says:

    According to my Oxford Irish dictionary here, “fairy” is “Síog” and it is f2 (feminine noun of second declinsion). I can’t comprehend the exact form of plural and genetive of this group though, but it might be “Sí” or something. I read in some places that Sídhe is used still though.
    I think, but not sure, in one of the designs I made for a photo of someone, I used the http://www.englishirishdictionary.com and I got the “Sí” part as the genetive.

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