Irish phrases you need to know before visiting Ireland

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Here’s a list of Irish words, phrases and slang that you might hear Irish people use in conversation. If you learn a few of these and use them in front of the locals, they will be very impressed!

Sláinte = Cheers

This is, perhaps, the best word to learn before your trip to Ireland. Just before drinking, you raise your glass and say sláinte, pronounced a bit like “slawn-che”.

Sure Look = It is what it is

One of my personal favourites, ‘Sure Look’ is often followed by ‘Sure Listen’. It’s one of those things you say when you don’t know what to say..

In a sentence: “That’s a pity”… “Ah, sure look”

Craic = Fun

A very commonly used cultural word in Ireland which is slang for fun and enjoyment. A lot of people come to Ireland for the ‘craic’. Check out 10 other reasons why people visit Ireland.

In a sentence: “Tonight will be great craic” or “The craic is 90”

The ‘jacks’ = The toilet

In a sentence: “Wow, the Best of Ireland Instagram page is so cool, I need to follow it! But first, I’m going to the jacks”

Eejit = An idiot

It’s usually a light-hearted way of calling someone a fool! Here’s a very Irish way of using it in a sentence: “Ah sure look, you’re only acting the eejit now”

Acting the maggot = Messing

Mostly used by Irish mothers to stop their kids being silly.

In a sentence: “Stop acting the maggot, I’m not going to ask again..”

Arseways = Incorrect

To do something arseways is to do something the wrong way.

In a sentence: “I’ve put that IKEA desk together arseways”

Any use? = Is it any good?

In a sentence: “I just bought new headphones” .. “Are they any use?”

How’s she ‘cuttin’? = How are you?

Other ways to ask this question include: What’s the craic? How’s the form? How are things? How’s it going? And.. ‘howaya’ which is essentially ‘How are you’ said very quickly!

The press = Cupboard

Irish people call cupboards ‘presses’. Not sure how much you will be talking about presses but you never know!

In a sentence: “Where is my leprechaun hat?” .. “It’s in the press”

Wrecked = Very tired

Usually used when you’re exhausted.

In a sentence: “We went for a hike this morning and I’m absolutely wrecked now”

The guards = The police

That’s an easy one.

We’re suckin’ diesel = We’re making progress

This phrase can also mean we’re doing well. It’s important to note that fuel (petrol or diesel) is what we put in our cars, not gas.

In a sentence: “Now we’re suckin’ diesel”

Sound = Cool

Most of the time, ‘sound’ is used as a way to describe someone. You will also hear ‘sound out’ which means the same thing!

In a sentence: “They might be politicians but I must say, they’re a sound bunch of people”

Minerals = Soft drinks

We call soft drinks ‘minerals’ in Ireland. 

This is typically how you will be offered a mineral: “Will you have a mineral? Ah go on, go on, go on, go on, you will”

Chips = Fries

A commonly misunderstood word is chips! In Ireland, French fries are chips and chips are crisps!

In a sentence: “Can I have a burger and chips, and a packet of Tayto crisps”

I will yeah = I won’t

This is where Irish sarcasm comes into play! Similarly, I am yeah = I’m not.

In a sentence: “Will you marry me?” .. “I will yeah”

Awful good = Very good

Awful can be used instead of ‘very’. e.g. Awful bad news = very bad news. 

In a sentence: “Jeez, I’m awful tired after that bus journey”

A kip = A mess

A kip is often used to describe a messy or untidy place. 

In a sentence: “There’s clothes all over your room, this place is a kip”

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