From Ireland With Love | Irishisms

We’re a unique bunch us Irish and we like to put our own mark on things, especially when it comes to language and slang. Yes we do speak English, so we should be able to communicate easily with the other 335 million or so people who also speak English. Yet some people claim when they visit this fair isle that it’s like we’re speaking another language. To be honest there are times when I can’t even understand my fellow Irish man. Yes we speak too fast at times and yes our accent can be strong and difficult to understand depending on what part of the country you’re in (I’ve been slagged for being well-spoken, as a Mayo person who’s well-spoken is a rare breed 😂). But it’s the slang words and phrases we use that flummoxes (puzzles) visitors. So I’ve put together a list of my favourite slang words and phrases to help you on your travels through Ireland.


Meaning/Context: Pronounced crack and can mean two different things depending on the context.

Example:  What’s the craic?                                                                                                                                                              (How are you?)

That was great craic!                                                                                                                                                       (That was great fun!)


Meaning: Broken

Example: The car is banjaxed!


Meaning: She’s a good looking girl.

Example: She’s some beour.


Meaning: Boy

Example: You’re a great gason.


Meaning: Drunk

Example: I was locked last night!


Meaning: Be quiet or shut up!

Example: Whisht will ya!


Meaning: Very, really or strange; depending on the context.

Example: She’s a quare (strange) one.

That’s quare (very/really) funny lads!


Meaning: Thing

Example: Pass me that yoke there!


Meaning: Bad or awful

Example: The weather is cat.


Meaning/Context: Decent/dead on/good or can describe how you’re feeling.

Example: He’s sound!

How are you?” “I’m sound!”

Stop the lights

Meaning/Context: Said in disbelief.

Example: “England lost the rugby match” “Stop the lights!”

Sucking diesel

Meaning: We’re doing well at something or getting better at something. (I would often hear my granddad say this phrase ☺)

Example: Now we’re sucking diesel!

I will in me hole!

Meaning: No chance!

Example: I will in me hole get up and sing!

A great stretch in the evenings.

Meaning: The days are getting longer.

Example: There’s a great stretch in the evenings.

Ah here!

Meaning/Context: When something bad or stupid happens.

Example: “She lost her phone last night.” “Ah here!”

I’m scarlah (scarlet) for yah (you)!

Meaning: Embarrassed

Example: “Didn’t all of my clothes fall out of the suitcase!.” “I’m scarlet for you!”

Go on outa (out of) dat (that)!

Meaning: You’re joking me.

Example: “I spent the night stranded on a beach, I didn’t know where I was at first!” “Go on out of that!”

So I hope these little words and phrases will help you understand us better. Do you have any favourite Irishisms? Are there any I should add to the list? Let me know!

Marteen x

 A list of my favourite slang words and phrases used in Ireland. Do you have any favourite Irishisms?

124 thoughts on “From Ireland With Love | Irishisms

  1. This is so funny! I’ve only been to Ireland once but this is all so true. Hoping to go back there later this year so am really pleased I’ve stumbled across this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are so many of these that I have never even heard of! Some don’t even make sense ha ha. This is a good guide for anyone who is heading to Ireland!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Being Irish even I have a tough time understanding my own people. Some of us talk way too fast and have a very strong accent.


  3. I love language, and I have Irish heritage, so I found this SO interesting! I was in a bookstore yesterday and started reading a coffee table book called Speaking American. It talks about different accents and vocabulary used throughout the United States (and has maps to go along with it)–it’s fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No, I’ve never been to Ireland! My great-grandmother on my dad’s side was 100% Irish, and my grandpa was a red-head in his younger days. 🙂
        So in the U.S….A popular one that most people here know about is what you call a carbonated beverage (like Coca-Cola). Depending on the region of the US, it is called pop, soda, or just coke (whether you want a Pepsi or Coca-Cola or ginger ale–they’re all called “coke”). Another one that was funny to me was what you call the weather when it’s rainy but the sun is shining. I’ve always called that a “sun shower” (makes sense) but in a lot of areas of the country, they just don’t have a word for it.
        This post has a bunch of the maps that were in the book–so interesting!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s so cool! Do you know what part of Ireland your great-grandmother came from? Yes, we have a lot of American programmes on TV here in Ireland and I hear that a lot, ‘soda’, ‘pop’ etc. Carbonated drinks in general I call fizzy drinks, Coca-cola we call coke. Thanks for link, it was interesting to read ☺


  4. “Fizzy drinks”–I like it! 🙂 And no, I’m not sure where she came from. I don’t know that she herself immigrated actually–might have been her parents or grandparents. I have a cousin who did our family tree, but I think he only traced back the paternal side (which was mostly English) to when they came here–before the Revolutionary War. Maybe one day I’ll get to visit, though. I’ve been told I’d “fit right in” with how I look. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love family history, I find it so interesting. You’ll always be welcome Naomi. Yes you’d fit right in with your red hair ☺


  5. I learned so much from reading your article and had great craic! The funniest was “sucking diesel.” We’ll memorize these phrases for our next trip to Ireland. Thank you for sharing!


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