09/02/21 • News & Happenings

Irish-isms and what they really mean

Have you ever wondered what an Irish person means when they talk about 'having the craic'?

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The craic was mighty at this event!

Irish people use a lot of words and phrases in common speech that might not make any sense when translated literally. This can often cause confusion and/or embarrassment when we speak with someone not familiar with their local meaning.  

If you have just landed in our lovely city, you may well come across similar phrases that cause you to stop in your tracks and wonder what on earth was meant by it. We have therefore compiled a list of some of the most confusing phrases for new crew, and what we actually mean when we say them.  

Ah, here!  

Where exactly? This expression is generally used to communicate frustration or annoyance.  

Example: “Ah, here, this new system is way too complicated!” 

Come here to me till I tell you. (Often said as c’mere to me till I tell ya!)  

But I’m standing right beside you! Literally translated this doesn’t make much sense, especially if you’re already right next to the person. What it actually means is ‘listen to me’, or ‘I have a juicy piece of gossip to share’. 

Example: “C’mere to me till I tell yaLaura just got promoted!” 

Craic. (Pronounced ‘crack’)  

Something which is fun and enjoyable. To truly emphasise exactly how much fun and enjoyment was had, we may even say; ‘the craic was mighty!’

To confuse things a little, we might also use ‘craic’ when greeting somebody. For instance, ‘what’s the craic?’  is used as an enquiry about what’s new with somebody.  

Example 1: “The craic was mighty at the last wrap party!” 

Example 2: “I haven’t seen you in a while, what’s the craic?” 

Deadly!  

This one causes a lot of confusion, as the literal translation of ‘deadly’ is something quite negative! However, unless referring to something morbid, we use ‘deadly’ to emphasise how great something is. 

Example: “The pubs in Kilkenny are deadly!” 

Go away outta that!  

In this one, ‘outta’ means out of, though that doesn’t really help if you’re trying to figure out the literal translation. It’s used to express disbelief and/or surprise. 

Example: “Tom Hardy is visiting the studio in June.” – “Go away outta that!” 

Giving out.  

Without naming names, one well-known Lighthouse keeper was working abroad when she asked her boss “are you going to give out to me?” Cue much confusion all-round when the boss misinterpreted her question as meaning “are you going to sleep with me?” As you can imagine, such a mistake can be quite embarrassing! 

Not to be confused with ‘putting out’, we use this when somebody is angry/upset about something and is communicating it verbally 

Example: “She was giving out that I didn’t have the retakes done in time.” 

Good luck 

Us Irish are all about the luck! As well as the literal translation, we use this as a way of saying goodbye.  

Example: “See you later!” – “Good luck!” 

Grand.  

One of the most widely used terms used by an Irish person no matter where in the world they go. It basically means the same as good or OK. 

Example: “How are you?” – “I’m grand!” 

It is, yeah.  

Depending on context and tone, this is used sarcastically to express disbelief rather than to express agreement with a statement.  

Example: “Is that Tom Hardy over by the vending machine?” – “It is, yeah.” 

It is, aye (‘aye’ is pronounced like ‘eye’)  

Same as above 

Savage!  

Believe it or not, telling someone that their new haircut is savage is a compliment in Ireland. Like ‘deadly’, ‘savage’ is used to express how great something is.   

Example: “Your new hairdo is savage!”   

Sound.  

The dictionary definition of the word sound, when used as an adjective, is quite fitting, and means something solid, stable, without defect. That’s pretty much how we use it as well, only we use it regularly to describe people, rather than objects. We can also use it to express understanding and agreement.  

Example 1: “We’ll meet them at 3pm if that time suits you?”, “that’s sound, see you then”. 

Example 2: “Laura is sound!”  

Stop your blaggardin’!  

In Kilkenny and surrounding areas, ‘blaggardin’ means acting silly or talking nonsense.  

Example: “I can swallow a whole boiled egg in one go” – “Stop your blaggardin’!” 

What’s the story?  

When used at the start of a conversation, this is usually an enquiry into what’s new with the other person. Depending on context, it may also be a request for detail or an update 

Example:What’s the story with the meeting on Friday?”

Your one and your man 

This is usually used to refer to a somebody instead of their name, or where their name is not known. ‘Your one’ refers to a female while ‘your man’ refers to a male.    

Example: “Can you believe your one asked me to have the retakes done by the end of the day?” 

Wisht up.  

This is a very rural statement and means ‘be quiet’. However, much in the same way as ‘shut up’ it is often used jokingly without negative meaning. 

Example: “Will you wisht up about Tom Hardy!” 

 

We hope you’ve found this list of Irish-isms helpful. Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to confusing phrases us Irish use. If you have come across phrases that aren’t included on the list, don’t be afraid to ask your Irish colleagues what they mean if you don’t understand.   

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