New Irish cat stamps (and a d*g cartoon)

September 3, 2014 • 2:13 pm

What a long day, but four of the five bits of the Albatross have been edited. It’s time for some Feline Recuperation, and I’ll even throw in a d*g for you miscreants.

Lucky you if you live in Ireland, because, as of TODAY, you can now put these on your letters:


Note that all the cat names are in Irish as well as English—except for the Maine Coon.

The Irish Post Office adds:

September 3rd, 2014: Cats are the subject of four new stamps to be issued by An Post tomorrow (Thursday). Four popular feline breeds – Maine Coon, Burmese, British Shorthair and Persian – are featured on the new 68c stamps by Red & Grey Design with striking photographs by Feline Photography specialist Amy French.

The stamps, a special First Day Cover envelope and Booklet of stamps may be viewed and purchased at , at the GPO Dublin and selected Post Offices.

. . . An Post spokesperson said: “With four glamorous cats on An Post’s new 68c stamps, this set will appeal to both cat lovers and breeders alike – they are simply the cat’s pyjamas!”

Yes, I get “pyjamas” (in the U.S. it’s “pajamas”), but “An Post spokesperson”? Is that Irish lingo.

Finally, someone gave me this Argyle Sweater cartoon from the Chicago Tribune, and I scanned it since it refers obliquely to the Official Website Charity™:

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 10.57.57 AM

45 thoughts on “New Irish cat stamps (and a d*g cartoon)

  1. An Post is basically the Postal Service. Because Irish is technically the official first language of Ireland, all the public services are referred to in Irish rather than English*.

    Iarnród Éireann = Irish rail
    Bus Éireann = Bus service etc.

    You see the pattern.

    *But everyone speaks English as their mother tongue. Very few people speak Irish. Don’t ask.

      1. It is very interesting – when English was the language of the ‘masters’, Gaelic was a badge of identity, but as soon as it ceased to be so then it no longer had the same pull. Unfortunately. I mourn the decline of such minority languages…

        1. By the end of British rule, only a tiny percent of the population still spoke Irish, as Irish had been actively discouraged.

          Since Independence there have been various efforts to restore the language: all school children are required to study it, there is one local TV channel that broadcasts predominantly in Irish etc; but it is really difficult to re-establish a language that has effectively already been replaced. Its future at the moment is hard to tell. If the language is no longer compulsory at school level, it is almost certainly going to die out eventually. However, forcing every school child to study a language for 12 years that many will most likely never use is a policy that is controversial for obvious reasons.

        1. I think we are all wondering why the indefinite article “an” instead of “a” when there is not vowel or vowel sound following. I think typo.

            1. No, it really is “the” :)

              The Irish version of Gaelic has a lot of borrowings from English, but I don’t think this is one of them. (I am no Irish language scholar. I’ve been living here for 15 years but I’m not even Irish).

              1. Yes, I figured it out finally down thread. There has to be some sort of “who’s on first” bilingual comedy hidden in this. 🙂

            2. @ Dominic

              Yes it is, but as you can see my name is the Latinised version of the name Gráinne. The spelling my parents chose is very rare in Ireland.

    1. I forget the exact words, but Scots Gaelic is very similar.


      “Iron road”, a.k.a chemin de fer (FR), and I’m having a temporary brain-fade over Spanish – Camino Feral, or FerroCamino? Or perhaps I’m getting a language word mixed up with a brand?
      There’s a hotel chain called Carrefore, and I’ll bet that’s not unrelated.
      Typical of English to be the outlier. Even if the things were invented in England. (Largely by Scots, it must be added. Honourable mentions to the Welsh and Cornish.)

      1. There’s a French/multinational retail chain called Carrefo*ur*, meaning “crossroads”. Despite appearances it’s unrelated to chemin/camino or fer/ferro: it’s from Latin quadrifurcus – “four-forked”.

          1. Iron rails came along quite quickly after the introduction of steam because wooden rails just broke under the weight.
            (Or, to look at it the other way, the introduction of locomotives had to wait until iron rails had been laid).
            Google e.g. Richard Trevithick.


        1. Well aware of it. I’ve done a modest amount of exploration of old mine workings in the Peak, Lakes and Mendip. Lots of respect for T’Owd Man, who were a hardy bugger for good and sure.
          And I’m sure those thousands of tons of broken rock were originally stacked behind good solid wood, even if it is now fungus and inspiration which is holding up the walls of the chamber. Mines can be … “interesting”.

  2. “An” is the definite article in Irish, if I remember correctly, so “An Post” would translate roughly as “The Post/Postal Service”.

    1. Ohhhhhh now I get it. That’s funny – “an” being an indefinite article in English but a definite article in Irish. There must be bilingual jokes in there somewhere.

      1. That doesn’t stop them, there are some terrible modern conversions of English into Irish. Some are okay, others are just bad accented English words.

  3. ‘An Post’ (pronounced On Pust, literally ‘The Post’) is the Irish Post Office. So it’d be the same as ‘UPS’ spokesperson….’. See…..easy.

  4. “Lucky you if you live in Ireland”

    Much as I like cats, I’m certain I don’t want to lick their backsides.

    1. There was a joke I recall from Henry VIII’s jester Will Kemp’s joke book, based on late mediaeval French jokes I think, (pardon to to those who dislike the vernacular) –
      Q: What is it that hath its head between its legs?
      A: Why that is a cat when it licketh its arse.

  5. Technically, it should be “An An Post spokesperson said…”. Of course, that’d just look stupid, so they could just as easily say “A spokesperson for An Post said…”. But just “An Post spokesperson said…” is as wrong as “UPS spokesperson said…”.

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