Speaking Irish/English on St Patricks Day.

Here in Ireland we speak English, but not as you know it. I am aware that many of you who read my blog do not come from here, so as I did last year, I thought I’d give you a crash course in speaking English as we Irish do. Just in time for St Patricks Day.

For starters we will tackle The introduction.
We do on occasions say ‘Hello’, but over here we may also say,
Hi, how are ye. (It’s ye, not yee) but if you wish to really sound Irish you must roll it into one word, “Hihowareye”.St Patricks Day
or,
How’s the goin?
Hows life?
However the most frequently used greeting between friends would be,
Hi any craic? or What’s the craic?

Terms of loathing.
In Ireland we love to give out about someone. Some common terms we use to express our displeasure in an individual are,
He’s a right fecker,
A feckin eejit,
An awful Gobshite,
A whinger,
An aul cow,(female)
Some bitch (female)

Terms of endearment.
We are also prone to sentiment.
Sweetheart
Darling/darlin
Wee darlin
Pet
Me aul flower (peculiar to Dublin)
Aul stock (peculiar to Cork I think)

Frequently used expressions.
Feck is possibly our most common. We use it with everything, or maybe that’s just me!
You’re a fecker.
Feck off
For feck’s sake.
Feckin weather, traffic, headache, husband.
Shut the feck up.

We also regularly use religious expressions, even if we are non believers, to express annoyance, surprise, pain etc. I’ll elaborate on these in order to help you understand there is no prayer involved. (I think I used almost all of these today at some point).
Jaysus..that’s terrible.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph.. what the hell are you doin?
Oh God… I’m late.
Oh my God… were you watchin that fella on TV last night?
For God’s sake… I’m pig sick of you moaning.
For Jaysus’ sake… look at that eejit over there.
Jesus Christ.. (after stubbing your toe)
God help him…(anyone you pity)
In the name of God... will you ever shush and listen to me.St Patricks Day
Sweet Jesus…what have I done?

Irish/English can be confusing…
If you ask someone to do something and they refuse,instead of no they may say…
“I will in me arse”,
“Ye, right”,
“I will ye!”

Various expressions we use
I’ll burst ye (I’ll kill you)
Are ye thick or what? (Do you not understand? Why were you so stupid?)
She wouldn’t tear at the plucking (she’s a good age)
She didn’t get that from the water (she’s like her mother/father)
He’s the spit of you. (He’s very like you)

Here is an example of a possible conversation which I posted last year, in which you can see our English in action.

Mary; How are ye June?
June: Hi Mary.Hows things?
Mary : Not so bad. Did ye hear me news? I’m engaged.
June: I heard. Congratulations, are ye thrilled?
Mary : Ah I am really. I’m mad about Jack.
June :He’s some looker, I wouldn’t kick him out of bed for eating crisps.
Mary : You still with Sean?
June : No chance. That fecker. I wouldn’t be seen dead with him.
Mary : Sorry to hear that, but he was thick as a brick, wasn’t he?
June : Definitely not the sharpest tool in the box. I hated his ma too. She was a right oul cow.
Mary; Ye she’s hard goin alright. And the state of her. Jaysus she thinks shes 20!
June : I know… she wouldn’t tear at the plucking. She must be 100 I’d say, (ha ha)
Mary : Do you fancy a coffee, or a bite to eat?
June : I’d love it, I could eat the leg of a chair.
Mary : Since I got preggers I’m eatin for Ireland.
June : Will we go into “Julias”
Mary : We will ye, even the flies leave that place!St Patricks Day
June : We’ll head to Bewleys so.
Mary : Great. Listen I’ve to get some dosh so I’ll meet ye there.
June : Ok so. See ya.

Just to make sure you are getting it, here’s another for you.

Sean: Hi Johnny, “hows it going?”.
Johnny: Good Sean boy. Any crack?
Sean : Jaysus no, nothing happenin. And you?
Johnny : No, heard that feckin eejet Jack, has Mary up the duff.
Sean : He’s an awful gobshite that fella. If she was my sister I’d break his face.
Johnny: Ye. Shes cracked about him though.
Sean: She’s not so bright, God love her.
Johnny : Her ma is loosin the plot over it.
Sean : Ah her ma’s a mad cow.
Johnny: Oh and thanks for giving me the nod about that job. Fair play to ye.
Sean : Not a bother. Did ye get it?
Johnny : I did ye! Didn’t come close I’d say.
Sean : Aw not to worry. Were you disappointed?
Johnny : I was in me arse!
Sean : Ah good. I better be off.
Johnny : Right, no bother. See ye around.

So there you have it. You are now ready to speak to your Irish friends tomorrow, and join in the craic of St Patricks Day. By the way, rumour has it over here, that those of you living in the US are known to refer to it as Patty’s Day. Let me tell you that is a serious no no. Patty is a girls name, so if you must shorten it, it can only be Paddys Day, or better still as I know it …. MY BIRTHDAY!

Happy St Patricks Day where ever you are.

photo credit: IE358 via photopin (license)
photo credit: St. Patrick’s Day, Dublin via photopin (license)
photo credit: The James Joyce (9) via photopin (license)

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44 thoughts on “Speaking Irish/English on St Patricks Day.

  1. Ha ha! I understood it all. We have a comedian here in Australia named Jimeoin and he was good for helping me learn. I must confess that I also use the word feck and feckin’ a fair bit (yeh thanks Mrs Brown)! lol

  2. I am intrigued by different dialects and lifestyles/cultures than what the Midwestern states offer. Thank you for giving me some more Irish English dialect. I have to admit, I still am not sure what the feck ye said!

    1. Ah Deb I’ll have to put you in my beginners class! You copped on to the Feck pretty quickly I have great hopes you will eventually be fluent. Happy St Patricks Day.

  3. there are some expressions common to the Scots and the Irish – ‘pet’ being one of them

    the first girl I ever loved used to call me ‘pet’ all the time

    40+ years later, we’re still friends – I must remind her of that term of endearment next time we speak 😆

    P.S. happy birthday, tric – hope it’s a good one x

    P.P.S. have put up my own post featuring the Irish language in MH today 😆

    1. I think Scotland and Ireland are way more connected than most countries. Thanks for the birthday wishes, I’d a lovely day.
      As for you post, ‘nil aon focail agam’. (I have no words!)

  4. Irish AND born on the 17th? You’re celebrating well today I hope Tric!!! Happy Birthday!!!! I hope it’s a good one!!!

    And I love the music of this post through and through! 😉

  5. All spot on, I even learned a couple of new ones! And it must be said that in Ireland a couple of the terms of loathing can also double up as terms of endearment 😛
    Happy Birthday to you Trich 🙂 xx

    1. Oh yes you’re right we are great for using terms of loathing as a term of endearment. Maybe I’ll keep that for the advanced class. Thanks for the birthday wishes. I love my birthday. 🙂

    1. Thanks Lucia, I’d a great day and I’m enjoying the wine as I type. I hope you’d a good St Patricks Day on your beautiful island home.

    1. Thanks beth. I hope sometime you get to use your new expressions. Did I read on Marks post you are in or going to Corktown? I’m in Cork what a coincidence, just a few miles between us. 🙂

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