10 irishisms that come in handy when in Éire

By Peter Dlhopolec / March 24, 2020
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Check out a list of 10 words and phrases used by the Irish.

English may be a global language but when you happen to be in Ireland (Éire), the language and the Irish accent can cause your jaws drop now and then. How familiar are you with Irish terms below?

  1. What’s the craic?

Or, how are you doing? It is one of the most common greetings in Ireland. Feel free to use it anytime.

  1. I’m grand.

You may think when the Irish say they are grand, they say how great they’re doing. WRONG! It means okay, fine, mediocre.  But they use it in other situations as well.

A: Do you need anything from a grocery shop? B: No, I’m grand. (= No, I don’t.)

A: Wine? B: Grand. (= Sounds good.)

  1. What do you work at?

This is how the Irish will ask people about their job/workplace. Not a common construction in other English-speaking countries, though.

  1. Slán!

Why would you say “Chat to ya” and “Talk to you soon” if you can use one of the easiest phrases in Irish? Impress your Irish friends when you say goodbye to them.

  1. Act the maggot

This is the phrase heard exclusively in Ireland! It means that somebody or something behaves in a foolish, childish, or annoying way.

“I was meaning to call you, I promise – my smartphone was, however, acting the maggot.”  

“Stop acting the maggot!” (= Quit messing.)

  1. Are we there yet?

Bored, bored, and bored. If you’re bored, use the phrase above.

  1. Awful

While “awful” means something bad or unpleasant, the Irish use it to emphasise things are rather the opposite.

She is awful beautiful (= georgeous). 

It was awful craic (= so much fun). 

  1. Gas

If something is gas, it is great craic. You can also use phrases such “That’s moon” and words such as epic, class, deadly and buzz.

  1. Sucking diesel

When things move forward (not just a vehicle), you can then suck diesel in Ireland. It essentially means things are going exceptionally well or you’re feeling good.

  1. Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

That is quite a way to express shock and surprise. Or go for “Jaysus Christ!” and “Dear Jesus!”

About the author

Peter Dlhopolec

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