A traveler’s guide to Irish slang

Irish slang, or as academics call it, Hiberno English, is one of the things about Ireland that endears this green country to travelers to all over the world. Sure, many of the slang words used by Irish people are not unique to Irish English, but not knowing them can and will cause some confusion to those who are are not aware of the colloquialisms and obscure words that they hear from the mouths of the natives. So if you’ve ever been confused when chit chatting with the locals in an Irish pub, then it’s time to learn a bit about the language, so here’s a traveler’s guide to Irish slang.

On the subject of drinks

If someone asks you if you’d fancy a few scoops, they are probably asking you if you’d like to have a few drinks. And if you are inclined to have a pint of Guinness, then you can just ask for the Black Stuff, but be careful not to get fluthered or plastered, that is, very drunk. If you’d like to use the facilities while drinking in a pub, you can politely ask for the jacks, but asking about the loo will also do the trick. And maybe you’ll want to much on some taytos (crips, or chips) while having a plain (which is another name for Guinness). That’s all you need for some great craic and a grand evening!

On the subject of food

Foodstuff that you already know well and are expecting to find in Ireland can come under different names here, and although you won’t be met with blank stares if you ask for bacon instead of rashers, it’s nice to know the local name of the foods you’re eating. Like in Britain, if you ask for chips you will get French fries, so for regular potato chips ask for crips or taytos. Bangers will always get you sausages, and if you want some tea for breakfast you can just buy a cuppa. But if you want some ketchup on your bangers than you’d better ask for tomato sauce instead. And if you want some ice cream for desert, you can talk like a local and just ask for a lolly.

On the subject of making friends

If you go out to a pub at least once, especially on weekends, you are bound to make some new friends too, especially if you are in a town or city with a large student population. There are various Hiberno English words used to refer to other people whom you might know, be they friends or acquaintances. But a cute hoor (sly person) might not be trustworthy, and if someone calls you an eejit it means that they don’t like you very much. However, if you overhear someone calling you a fine half, then you should definitely be flattered!

Leave a Reply