Let’s start with the most popular expression in Ireland; “what’s the craic?” This means “what is going on?” or “how is it going?”. The word ‘craic’ is Irish for ‘fun’ but we use it in this context to ask somebody how things are or what is happening. We generally use it to greet a person, which means that we use it when we meet them. We might say “hey, what’s the craic?”. This expression has become popular in other English speaking countries, probably due to the high number of Irish people abroad.

A popular phrase that is used in Ireland is ‘giving out’ which means to criticise somebody for doing something wrong. For example we say “my mother gave out to me for being late”. This means that she scolded me or criticized me for being late.
Irish people often use the word ‘after’ in a peculiar way. For example we say “I am after forgetting the key”, which means that I have just now forgotten the key. We could say “she is after closing the door”, which means she has just now closed the door. If we say “I’m after doing all my homework” it means that I have just now done all my homework.

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Funnily enough, when an Irish person says “I’m going to the jacks”, it means that they are going to the toilet.

If they tell you to “go away outta that”, it means that they don’t believe what you are saying or they think that what you are saying is stupid.

If I say “I will, yeah” it means that I actually won’t do it. If I say “you can, yeah”, it actually means that you can’t. These particular expressions are said with a sarcastic tone so that the listener knows that you don’t mean what you are saying.

If you are asked by an Irish person if something “was any use” it means that they want to know if something was any good or if it was worth doing. For example “was the concert any use?” This means was it any good or was it worth going to see.

If you annoy someone in Ireland, you might hear them say “you are wrecking my head” which means that you are really annoying them.

In terms of money we have different words for different amounts. For example, €1000 is ‘a grand’, €10 is ‘a tenner’, €5 is ‘a fiver’, €20 is ‘a score’ and €100 is ‘a ton’.

In Ireland instead of saying the cupboard, we say ‘the press’. For example, “the plates are in the press”.

In Ireland ‘the boot of the car’ is the space at the rear of the car and ‘the bonnet of the car’ is the part at the front which contains the oil tank among other important parts. In America they would call this ‘the hood’.

If you are drinking ‘minerals’ it means you are drinking soft drinks such as lemonade. If you are drinking ‘booze’ it means you are drinking alcohol.

If I say “I am gonna head on” it means that I am going to leave for another place.

So now that you have quite a few Irish expressions and words you should practise them and maybe even visit Ireland and try to use them. Go on, sure why not?


G. Harman

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Glenn Harman
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