Gaelic Word of the Week – North East Fife – Fìobh an Ear Thuath

Each week publish our Gaelic Word of the Week podcast which you can listen to at the link above. Here on the blog we add some extra facts, figures and photos for Gaelic learners who want to learn a little about the language and about the Scottish Parliament – Pàrlamaid na h-Alba. This week we continue looking at the Parliamentary constituencies and regions, this week with North East Fife – Fìobh an Ear Thuath.

This week we’re going back to Fife – Fìobha, often known as the Kingdom of Fife – Rìoghachd Fhìobha.

The word rìoghachd is often used in Gaelic to mean “country” as well as kingdom and you will often hear native Gaelic speakers say “an rìoghachd” as well as “an dùthaich” to mean “the country”.

This week’s constituency is North East Fife – Fìobh an Ear Thuath.
The biggest town in the sgìre – constituency is St Andrews. In Gaelic, the name of the town isn’t related to St Andrew at all – it is Cill Rìmhinn. This means church of Rìmhinn. In fact, the original English name of the town, Kilrymont, was an anglicisation of this. The name changed after the relics of St Andrew – Naomh Anndras, were supposedly brought to the town and it gained the name we know and love today. In Gaelic, though, it is still Cill Rìmhinn!

View of St Andrews – Cill Rìmhinn, from top of St Rule’s tower

Also in the constituency, but famous for its fine name rather than for golf or an ancient university is Auchtermuchty. This means “Upland of the place of pigs”. The Auchter part – uachdar – meaning uplands or upper part can also be seen in placenames like Auchterarder. And uachdar can also mean cream in Gaelic, called this because it is what you find at the top of the milk.

The element meaning pig is muc. You might recognise this from the Isle of Muck – Eilean nam Muc. However, in this case the “pigs” in question are “mucan-mara” – literally sea-pigs, that’s to say whales.
And in Gaelic, unlike in English, you don’t say “as fat as a pig” but rather “as fat as a seal” – cho reamhar ri ròn.

On the coast in the East Neuk too are many beautiful fishing villages. Crail is Cair Ail – the settlement at the rock and Pittenweem is Peit na h-Uamha – the estate of the cave.

And if you visit St Andrews – Cill Rìmhinn – or the East Neuk, you might get the train to Luacharas – Leuchars. This means “the place of rushes or reeds”.

Leuchars – Leucharas

This week’s Gaelic Word of the Week is North East Fife – Fìobh an Ear-Thuath:

This week’s Gaelic Word of the Week was written and read by Alasdair MacCaluim, Gaelic Development Officer who spent all his childhood holidays in Cair Ail and whose granny lived in Ladybank!

If you are interested in learning more about Gaelic in Fife, you might be interested in the following new video about Gaelic in the Kingdom by Welcome to Fife.

Alasdair MacCaluim,