Speak Like the Irish

Speak Like the Irish

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all! To celebrate the holiday, I thought it was important to teach you to speak like the Irish do.

Kerry, Ireland.

This time of year is when I tend to miss my other home: Ireland. It is where my maternal grandparents were born, and where most of my family on that side still lives. Because of this, it’s hard for me to visit the Emerald Isle and not feel at home. In fact, aside from kissing The Blarney Stone, and visiting a few tourist pubs, I’ve never really experienced the tourist side of Ireland. Instead, it’s just been another home for me, full of family and friends, with plenty of quality time together.

Photo credit: my parents

Since I have also traveled time and time again with my Irish cousin and her friends, I have become accustomed to the different terms and sayings they have. We often laugh about it the first few days of traveling, and then slowly I begin talking just as they do, then we laugh some more. I blend in so well with them, that people are often surprised to discover that I’m American; automatically thinking I’m Irish when they overhear our conversations.

Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Just the other day, my cousin, Michelle, sent me a package. Inside, was a shirt with the saying, “State of Yerman,” I immediately started laughing. While it was the perfect shirt to wear to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, no one in America would quite understand the meaning behind it. Yerman means that guy, and state of you means you aren’t looking great.

State of Yerman t-shirt

Like this, there are quite a few phrases that could be a bit confusing for one visiting Ireland or talking to the Irish, so I spoke Michelle last night, and she came up with a few terms people should know when speaking to the Irish.

Yer man – that guy
Yer wan – that girl
State of it – it’s not looking great
The hack of ya – look at the state of ya
That’s cat – that’s awful
Grand – answer for everything
Ah sure g’wan – okay
Jammy – very lucky
Eejit – a fool
Jaysus (drag out the pronunciation) – Jesus, that’s mad!
He’s harmless – he’s a bit strange
You did it arseways/you rubbed your arse to it – you didn’t do it right
Chancer – someone who’ll try anything
Cop on – don’t be so stupid
What’s the craic? – How are you?
Any craic? – Any news?
Aww, he’s a dote. – He’s lovely.
I ate the head off him/I gave out to him – I told him off
Fairplay – well done
It’s a holy show – It looks really bad
Ya did in your hole – yea right, you did that
She still has her communion money/she’s really scabby – she’s cheap
Look at her and the price of her turnips – who does she think she is

There are probably a ton more, but these are definitely my favorite. If you have any more from Ireland, or favorites from other countries, be sure to add them to the comment box below.

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Comments (2)

  1. Eileen

    That was great Craic! Thanks for the laugh.

    1. The World Wanderer

      Haha, no problem! It was fun to write.

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