‘Tis many a sad morning followed a merry night.

Note: While the English translation of this week’s proverb could be subject to interpetation, the Irish is unequivocal. Most would infer that the English version is alluding to a hangover. However, it could be interpretted differently. It could mean that bad news follows good times. Alcohol is not necessary in this latter inference.

This is not true for the Irish word ‘súgach’ (merry). It does, in fact, allude to alcohol. ‘Súgach’ is derivative of the Irish verb ‘súigh’ which means ‘suck,’ or ‘absorb.’ The verbal noun of ‘súigh’ is ‘sú’ which means ‘juice.’ Therefore, one who is súgach has gotten merry from absorbing the juice of the barley.

Note also: Both the adjectives in this proverb are lenited. In a Roman font, this is indicated by adding an ‘h’ after the first letter, e.g., bhrónach, shúgach. Lenition is called ‘séimhiú’ in Irish. It literally means softening. In this case, lenition is required because both of the nouns being modified are feminine. Feminine nouns require the adjectives that modify them to be softened.