Beidh lá eile ag an bPaorach
Living to fight another day!
This is a very common expression to hear in Irish. It is said to someone when something hasn’t gone according to plan, to remind a person that there will be other opportunities.
The literal meaning behind the words is that ‘Power (i.e. Mr. Power) will have another day.’
‘Chuala mé nár éirigh leat an post a fháil, a Sheáin. Ná bí buartha, beidh lá eile ag an bPaorach.’
‘I heard that you didn’t succeed in getting the job Seán. No worries, there will be other opportunities.’
‘Chaill foireann Mhaigh Eo sa nóiméad deireanach. Cén dochar, beidh lá eile ag an bPaorach.’
‘The Mayo team lost in the last minute. What harm, they’ll get another chance.’
‘Nár éirigh leat sa scrúdú iontrála? Ná bíodh imní ar bith ort. Beidh lá eile ag an bPaorach.’
‘Did you not succeed in the entrance exam? Don’t be worried at all. There’ll be more opportunities.’
An Paorach / An Direánach / An Riordánach
So the first question might be ……what exactly is a Paorach?!
‘An Paorach’ is another way to refer to a man with the surname ‘Power’ (de Paor). So, roughly translated ‘An Paorach’ means Mr. Power!
It is a feature of the Irish language that a man can be referred to by a form of his surname prefixed by the word ‘an’ (the) The ending ‘ach’ is added to the surname if possible, and some spelling changes may be also be required. (Not all surnames lend themselves to this variation).
Thus, a man with the surname Power (de Paor) becomes ‘an Paorach’.
The Aran Islands poet, Máirtín Ó Direáin, is often referred to as ‘an Direánach’. Similarly the poet Seán Ó Riordán is often referred to as ‘an Riordánach’. You may have heard Daniel O’Connell referred to as ‘An Conallach’.
Referring to someone in this way conveys a sense of importance, history and tradition and goes all the way back to the time of the great Gaelic chieftains. The Ulster chieftains Red Hugh O’Donnell and Hugh O’Neill may be referred to as ‘An Dónallach’ and ‘An Néilleach’, for example.
The obvious second question is ….
why does invoking Mr. Power mean there’ll be more opportunities?! ;-)
There are a couple of possible stories behind this expression.
It is said that these were the last words of Edward Power, of Dungarvan, before he was executed for his part in the Wexford Rebellion against the British in 1798. Although the rebellion had failed an Paorach evidently believed that there would be other opportunities for a successful rebellion, implying, I suppose, that he would be there in spirit when the time came.
Another story tells of feuding between Kilkenny warriors and some Powers from Waterford. As the Powers were defeated their parting cry was ‘beidh lá eile ag an bPaorach,’ essentially letting it be known that that wasn’t to be the end of them. ‘We’ll be back’ in other words!
So not only can you use this expression the next time you meet someone who has suffered a setback, but you now know all about it too!
Ná caill do mhisneach. Beidh lá eile ag an bPaorach!
Don’t lose faith. There’ll be more opportunities