cur i gcéill: hypocrisy, bluff, disguise, sham. “Níl i do chuid cainte ach cur i gcéill” | What you say is mere pretence; “...a chur i gcéill go bhfuil spéis sa Ghaeilge agat” | to profess oneself to be interested in Irish; “Níl ann ach cur i gcéill.” | It is mere acting.
Suppose you hold a jaw -bone so old that the chin has split.
A professor passes samples of bone around, explains: remains — derelict workhouse — Famine-era — a mass grave.
He rattles a transparent plastic bag. Inside, a clatter of speechless teeth, a broken grin. He says, a generous selection of fragments, says incremental dentine collagen analysis, says to pinpoint when starvation set in.
Suppose you hold the empty jaw bone still, two neat halves, one in each hand, the pale bone cool in your palms, three teeth still tucked into their sockets, snug as heifers working cud in some distant meadow.
Suppose you hold those jaw bones together and see it not as a broken, inanimate object but full, skinned, a stubbled chin, a cheek that lived, that was patted, kissed, hit,
and between those bones, a mouth that only ever knew the spit and speech of one warm, wet tongue. Suppose you hold this split jaw bone to your ear and imagine you hear all he spoke, every sound from his throat.
These bones date to a time and a region where only Irish was spoken. Holding it, you want to return to it some of the words that once resonated through its hollows, but your voice catches in your throat, as though something inside you is broken. Suppose the professor approaches, smiling, as always, says This is the mandible.
What would you call that in Gaelic? You stare at him, bones in hand, your jaw ajar. Suppose you stutter, your mouth fails. You try to say corrán géill, but the only sound from your mouth is cur i gcéill.