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Sliabh na mBan (etymology)


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 先日、シャン・ノースの歌として、また演奏曲としても著名な <Sliabh na mBan> のことを 本欄 で書きました。

 その際、この山名の由来について気にはなっていました。ひそかに憶測はしていたのですが、このほどそれを裏付ける文章を Liam Clancy の自伝 The Mountain of the Women: Memoirs of an Irish Troubador 中に見つけました(太字は私)。

Not far from my hometown in Ireland there is a mountain called Slievenamon. It is shaped like a beautiful female breast and on its summit sits a cairn of stones, like a nipple. The name Slievenamon comes from the Gaelic, Sliabh na mBan, the mountain of the women. My blood tells me that my origins are there.

 こうなるとこの山の写真が見てみたくなります。同名の詩についての頁 にぴったりの写真がありました。

 ただ、こちらの頁 を見ると、いや他にも説があると、上記の説を含む二説を紹介しています(ゴールウェーの Roisin さん)。

We need to understand the geography to begin to understand the poem here. Sliabh na mban - the mountain of the woman - is a mountain in Tipperary. There are several thoughts about the name. One, is simply that it looks like a reclining woman with curved shoulders and a softly rounded breast - with a cairn on top that aids this thought. Another possible origin goes back to the legends of Fionn Mac Cumhaill. Apparently there is a story that the young women of the area raced up the mountain to win the hand of the heroic Fionn. The winner of the race was Gráinne, but since she then eloped with Diarmuid, and ironically went, the legend continues, to Aran, which we have already discovered to be a place where illicit love-making is ingrained in the very rocks. Is all our Irish landscape about sex? Perhaps it is. Ireland has always been personified by a woman and it is men who have always given their all to win her love. [. . .]

Rather, it is the love of Ireland, whose bosom is to be found in the Tipperary landscape, to whom Kickham [who wrote the poem 'Sliabh Na mBan'] dedicates his passions. And we begin to wonder, apart from Yeats in his many odes to the beauty of Maude Gonne, did any Irishman EVER write a love poem that was about an ordinary mortal woman?

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