Giorraíonn beirt bóthar: Two shorten the road


Carole King and Companionship: an unlikely comparison to a favorite Irish proverb.

Whether you enjoy the music and melodies of Carole King, or you're a huge Gilmore Girls fan, you’ll be acutely aware of the chorus line "where you lead, I will follow, anywhere that you tell me to."

This sentiment strikes a sentimental chord with the Irish proverb C, meaning two shorten the road. As Irish creative Niamh Langton explains, the direct translation of the phrase comes in two parts: 'beirt' meaning 'two people' and 'bóthar' meaning 'cow path' (or in this case, 'road'). 

Although the idiom may seem simple at first, the poetry behind it speaks volumes of companionship and loneliness. Reminding us that the journeys we take and the challenges we face are made all the easier by having someone at our side. 

As Niamh tells us, "I like the simple and poetic way Irish words create everyday sentences," adding, "a lot of comfort and meaning can be taken from giorraíonn beirt bóthar." Noting the rich rural cultural context that shaped Gaeilge (the Irish language).  

Discussing Gaeilge further, Niamh explains the influence of the language's two separate counting systems – one for counting persons and one that encompasses everything else. So, in the context of the phrase, while 'beirt' means two when referring to people, the number two is 'dó'. 

At the end of the day, the idea of life being better with someone you love by your side is one we can all stand by. So here's to 'giorraíonn beirt bóthar'!