The importance of washing your hands more than a thousand years before COVID-1913 July 2020
Did you know that there are fourteen different words for 'washing' in early Irish? Learn more in today's episode of 'Meet the authors' featuring Gregory Toner.
In this episode of 'Meet the authors', Gregory Toner tells us about hygiene practices more than a thousand years before COVID-19. Find out more in his book A history of Ireland in 100 words, written with Sharon Arbuthnot and Máire Ní Mhaonaigh.
About the book:
Did you know that Cú Chulainn was conceived with a thirst-quenching drink? That 'cluas', the modern Irish word for 'ear', also means the handle of a cup? That the Old Irish word for 'ring' may have inspired Tolkien's 'nazg'? How and why does the word for noble (saor) come to mean cheap? Why does a word that once meant law (cáin) now mean tax? And why are turkeys in Irish French birds? From murder to beekeeping and everything between, discover how the Irish ate, drank, dressed, loved and lied.
This book tells a history of Ireland by looking at the development of 100 medieval Irish words drawn from the Royal Irish Academy’s Dictionary of the Irish Language. Words tell stories and encapsulate histories and this book captures aspects of Ireland’s changing history by examining the changing meaning of 100 key words. The book is aimed at a general readership and no prior knowledge of the Irish language is required to delve into the fascinating insights it provides. The book is divided into themes, including writing and literature; food and feasting; technology and science; mind and body. Readers can explore words relating to particular concepts, dipping in and out where they please.
Shortlisted for 'best Irish-published book of the year’ at the An Post Irish Book Awards 2019.
About 'Meet the authors':
'Meet the authors' is a new video series of the Royal Irish Academy. The series started in spring 2020 when the Academy had to close its doors because of Covid-19. With this series we intend to bring our authors directly to our readers' homes, to help keep our audience informed and engaged until things get back to normal. You can watch the whole series on our YouTube channel.
Stay up to date with the Royal Irish Academy newsletterSign up now