Owen Quotes in Translations
Lancey: His Majesty's government has ordered the first ever comprehensive survey of this entire country — a general triangulation which will embrace detailed hydrographic and topographic information and which will be executed to a scale of six inches to the English mile.
Hugh: (pouring a drink) Excellent - excellent.
Lancey looks at Owen.
Owen: A new map is being made of the whole country.
Lancey looks to Owen: Is that all? Owen smiles reassuringly and indicates to proceed.
Manus: And they call you Roland! They both call you Roland!
Owen: Shhhhh. Isn't it ridiculous? They seem to get it wrong from the very beginning — or else they can't pronounce Owen. I was afraid some of you bastards would laugh.
Manus: Aren't you going to tell them?
Owen: Yes - yes - soon - soon.
Manus: But they...
Owen: Easy, man, easy. Owen - Roland - what the hell. It's only a name. It's the same me, isn't it? Well, isn't it?
Owen: Bun is the Irish word for bottom. And Abha means river. So it's literally the mouth of the river.
Yolland: Let’s leave it alone. There's no English equivalent for a sound like that.
Owen: What is it called in the church registry?
Only now does Yolland open his eyes.
Yolland: Let's see ... Banowen.
Owen: That's wrong. (Consults text.) The list of freeholders calls it Owenmore — that's completely wrong: Owenmore’s the big river at the west end of the parish. […] (at map) Back to first principles. What are we trying to do?
Yolland: Good question.
Owen: We are trying to denominate and at the same time describe that tiny area of soggy, rocky, sandy ground where that little stream enters the sea, an area known locally as Bun na hAbhann… Burnfoot! What about Burnfoot?
Owen: Can't you speak English before your man?
Owen: Out of courtesy.
Manus: Doesn't he want to learn Irish? (to Yolland) Don't you want to learn lrish?
Yolland: Sorry - sorry? I - I –
Manus: I understand the Lanceys perfectly but people like you puzzle me.
Even if I did speak Irish I'd always be an outsider here, wouldn't I? I may learn the password but the language of the tribe will always elude me, won't it? The private core will always be ... hermetic, won't it?
Owen: Do you know where the priest lives?
Hugh: At Lis na Muc, over near...
Owen: No, he doesn't. Lis na Muc, the Fort of the Pigs, has become Swinefort. (Now turning the pages of the Name-Book - a page per name.) And to get to Swinefort you pass through Greencastle and Fair Head and Strandhill and Gort and Vhiteplains. And the new school isn't at Poll na gCaorach - it's at Sheepsrock. Will you be able to find your way?
Owen: What is happening?
Yolland: I'm not sure. But I'm concerned about my part in it. It's an eviction of sorts.
Owen: We're making a six-inch map of the country. Is there something sinister in that?
Yolland: Not in ...
Owen: And we're taking place-names that are riddled with confusion and ...
Yolland: Who's confused? Are the people confused?
Owen: … and we're standardising those names as accurately and as sensitively as we can.
Yolland: Something is being eroded.
And ever since that crossroads is known as Tobair Vree — even though that well has long since dried up. I know the story because my grandfather told it to me. But ask Doalty — or Maire — or Bridget — even my father — even Manus — why it's called Tobair Vree; and do you think they'll know? I know they don't know. So the question I put to you, Lieutenant, is this: what do we do with a name like that? Do we scrap Tobair Vree altogether and call it — what? — The Cross? Crossroads? Or do we keep piety with a man long dead, long forgotten, his name ‘eroded’ beyond recognition, whose trivial little story nobody in the parish remembers?
Owen: How are you? Are you all right?
Sarah nods: Yes.
Don't worry. It will come back to you again.
Sarah shakes her head.
It will. You're upset now. He frightened you. That's all's wrong.
Again Sarah shakes her head, slowly, emphatically, and smiles at Owen. Then she leaves.
Hugh: (indicating Name-Book) We must learn those new names.
Owen: (searching around) Did you see a sack lying about?
Hugh: We must learn where we live. We must learn to make them our own. We must make them our new home.