Welcome back after the break, and what’s this? New characters?! Surely not!

It was about time to flesh out the population of Ballinafil a bit more, and so I’d like you all to meet two characters I have been wanting to add since I started the re-draw: Garda Rachel and Garda Finn.

It’s at this point that I probably need to explain a certain little quirk that makes Ireland somewhat unique in the English-speaking world.


Gardai on patrol

In Ireland, we do not have a “Police Force”. Instead we have “An Garda Siochana”, which literally translates to “Guardians of the Peace”.

Following independence from the UK, this was one of a couple of “Gaelige-ifications” of official language that actually gain usage from most Irish people, even when the speaker is using English. When Ireland was still part of the UKΒ  (pre 1921), we did have a Metropolitan Police which looked and felt like any other British police force. Following independence, all Police in Ireland were then restyled in uniforms that were mostly just pallet-swaps of the original revolutionary army uniform, and named “Gardai”.

Interestingly, when an Irish person refers to the Police they will modify the word (in Irish) according to if they are singular or plural. You may have one “Garda”, or multiple “Gardai”. When referred to as an entire force you will often hear a person mention “The Gardai”.

Sometimes this does get turned to English, with some speakers referring to them as “The Guards”.

Furthermore, “Garda” has two other uses. The singular form is placed on a Garda Officer to indicate that they are “A Garda”. The same applies to the cars, which are also known as “Garda Cars” (one example drawn above).

Lastly, “Garda” is also the basic rank of a member of the force until promoted further. So, if for example Ashling had join the Gardai, she would be “Garda Ashling Connolly”. If you are uncertain of a Garda’s rank, it is often considered acceptable to simply refer to them as “Garda (Name)”, since technically that is still true.

So there you are, a strange twist on English that you won’t find in many other places (maybe Wales).