A Beginner’s Guide to Irish Slang.

Amy Forde

Tagged: , , , , , ,

Ireland is often purported to be one of the best places to learn the English language and with the many international students at Griffith College some words may cause serious confusion. I am of course talking about Irish slang. Ireland is a small country and if you’ve ever travelled here you’ll have taken note of the different dialects this country has to offer. While English is the main spoken language many of you will hear, the native tongue of Irish (Gaeilge) can also be heard on this green island and several Irish slang terms derive from Irish. Here is a beginners guide to Irish slang.

Ara- Often used at the start of a sentence to let someone know you don’t care e.g. Ara sure what can ya do?

Back arse of nowhere – This is used to describe where someone lives in a rural area or when someone is lost e.g. I hadn’t a clue where I was, it was the back arse of nowhere.

Back arse of nowhere. Photo credit: neilalderney123
Back arse of nowhere. Photo credit: neilalderney123

Beure – This is used to describe a woman often aesthetically pleasing to the male brain e.g. Look at that beure!

Bushin’ – A term used to describe the consumption of alcoholic beverages in the countryside, often a discreet area, by underage drinkers or by those who enjoy bushing.

Calved – The description of a person after a night out, when movement is dangerous, you are a fragile person and one does not feel the best.

Caked – This is used to describe a girl who has used just a little too much make up e.g. Did you see her face? She’s caked!

Cat – A term often used to describe a bad performance of a GAA team or of a bad situation e.g. They played cat at the weekend.

Craic – Several meanings; often used to describe a person or a night out e.g. She’s mighty craic. It can also be used as a greeting e.g. What’s the craic?

The Craic. Photo credit:Tim Hellendrung
The Craic. Photo credit: Tim Hellendrung

Culchie – A person from the country, that is outside of Dublin and thought to be living outside of modern day civilisation.

Dose/Dosed –Used to describe someone’s annoying personality or when someone is quite sick e.g. Were you out with Mary last night? What a dose!

Foostherin’ – When a person is fidgeting or can’t sit still, they’re told to ‘stop foostherin’.

Gas – Not used to describe petrol or diesel. A term used to describe a funny person or situation e.g. Ah, last night was gas!

Hames – When someone makes a mess of a situation e.g. He made a hames of the dinner.

How’s she cuttin’? – Similar to what’s the craic, asking how you are or a greeting.

Heap (pronounced hape) – This is used to describe someone who is suffering the effects of a hangover e.g. He’s in an awful hape.

In a heap. Photo credit: flyhoof
In a heap. Photo credit: flyhoof

Iota – A term used to describe when someone has no idea or no notion of doing something e.g. I haven’t an iota what the lecturer just said.

Jackeen – A word used by culchies to describe those from Dublin.

Musha – A word that often causes confusion, it can be shouted or thrown into a conversation, mostly used out the country e.g. Ara musha how are ya?

Road frontage – To own land with access to a main road, often a measure of eligibility for marriage and can be heard out the country or in Coppers e.g. Have ya got road frontage?

Have ya got road frontage? Photo credit: see_another_side
Have ya got road frontage? Photo credit: see_another_side

Schkelp – Often used to describe a particularly bad punch or in a hurling game when tissue is removed from the leg without anaesthetic e.g. He took a schkelp out of my leg on the pitch.

Shades- A term used to describe the Gardaí. This is often used when out bushing e.g.  Then he hopped the wall and ran from the shades.

She/he didn’t get it from the air or she/he didn’t lick it off the stones – A term used to describe when someone has a quality of their parents or is influenced by someone else e.g. That girl is awful clumsy, then again she didn’t get it from the air/ lick it off the stones.

Steamed- One of many words used to describe being intoxicated. Other words include: locked, plastered, langers, fluthered, legless, polluted, ossified, and lushed.

Steamed, legless and plastered. Photo credit: Mario
Steamed, legless and plastered. Photo credit: Mario

Tae – Irish for tea. An essential drink of many people in this country and has been known to bring people back from the brink of a hangover.

Tight as a ducks arse – A term often used to describe a person who is mean or tight with money e.g. He won’t pay for all of that, he’s as tight as a ducks arse.

Took a notion – When someone likes a member of the opposite sex e.g. She took a notion to him.

Hopefully you are now that bit more educated about the inner workings of an Irish persons mind. Let us know what you think by commenting!

/ 7 Articles

Amy Forde