Monthly Archives: July 2012

How to Blend In When Studying Abroad in Galway – Tip No. 2, Talk Like a Local

Ireland is a mainly English-speaking country, but the Irish are known to have a certain way with words, that can be both endearing and confusing for foreign visitors.

Continuing with our theme of ‘blending in’ when studying abroad, here are some commonly used words and expressions you’ll hear in Ireland.

First up are the words chips and crisps, two important staples of a typical college student’s diet, whose different meanings can sometimes be confusing.

French Fries


In Ireland, we call fries (French Fries) chips.



Crisps on the other hand are what we call potato chips.

The word craic (pronounced ‘crack’) is probably one you’ve heard before. I’m not sure if it has a direct translation, but it basically means ‘fun’, or perhaps more specifically fun conversation. The word craic is also used in a common greeting. “How’s the craic?” or “Any craic?” is basically the colloquial equivalent to “What’s up?”

Speaking of greetings, “How are you getting on?” is similarly another Irish equivalent of “How are you?”

An eejit is another distinctly Irish term for a fool or imbecile. While it is mainly a pejorative term, it’s not a particularly harsh insult. Also, you might call yourself or someone else an eejit for making a hames of something, which means making a mess of something.

The word grand is also widely used to describe something as ‘good’ or ‘OK’. “Grand” or “I’m grand” is also the normal response to the “How’s it going?” or “How are you getting on?” greeting.

Slagging is something of a national pastime in Ireland. It basically means insulting your friends, but in a friendly or jovial manner. This is an important distinction, as clearly there is a thin line between slagging and outright insulting behaviour.

Irish people generally only ‘slag’ their close friends, so you can actually take it as a compliment if it happens to you!

Please let us know if you’ve come across any other interesting slang words or expressions in Ireland. Also, be sure to check out our previous post on How to Blend In When Studying Abroad in Galway



Filed under About Ireland

Random (County) Galway photos, Part 2

Continuing our theme with a look at some of the sights worth exploring beyond the city of Galway…

Inishmann, Aran Islands, Co. Galway

Inishmann (57)

Omey Island, Co. Galway

Omey Island Marker

Kinvarra, Co. Galway
Galway Hooker passing the Pier Head at Kinvara

Portumna House, Portumna, Co. Galway
Portumna Castle in County Galway, Ireland

If you enjoyed these photos, then check out out previous photo blogs here, here and here.

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How to Blend In When Studying Abroad in Galway – Tip No. 1, Kick the Wall in Salthill

So, you’re an international student in Galway and you’re looking to blend in with some of the locals. What are some of the local customs and traditions you can follow to feel like a true Galwegian?

Tip No. 1, “Kick the Wall” in Salthill

Kicking the prom wall

“Kicking the prom wall” from Galway Photographs Site

A favourite tradition in Galway for locals and visitors alike is “walking the prom” in Salthill. The prom is the seaside promenade that runs from the Claddagh near the city centre out to the diving boards at Blackrock in Salthill (approximately 3km). The local tradition is to ‘kick’ the wall at the end of the prom at Blackrock.


Filed under About Ireland

How to Blend In When Studying Abroad In Galway, Ireland – Tip No. 3, Support a local sports team

Galway may be known as the ‘cultural capital of Ireland’ but sport also plays a major part in the life of the city. While studying in Galway, you should take the opportunity to go along to see a game.

The most popular sports played in Galway are Gaelic Football, Hurling, Rugby and Soccer.

Galway GAA

Courtesy of

The Galway Gaelic Football and Hurling teams usually play their home games at Pearse Stadium, in Salthill. The All Ireland Championship, which is the main competition for both sports, is played during the summer, however if you’re not in Ireland during the summer, you may be able to catch a national league game.

There are normally three senior League of Ireland soccer teams in Galway, Galway United, Salthill Devon and Mervue United. Galway United play their home games at Terryland Park, which is located across the river from the NUI Galway campus.

Finally, fans of rugby should get down to the Sportsground on College Road (just five minutes from Eyre Square) to cheer on Connacht. The Student’s Union often have discounted tickets for NUI Galway students, so keep an eye on their website for details of forthcoming fixtures.


Filed under About Ireland, Introduction

Getting to Galway… Dublin or Shannon?

Most international students arrive in Ireland via either Dublin Airport or Shannon Airport before taking a bus to Galway.


by Thomas Becker (Flickr)

We’re often asked which is the better option. It’s difficult to say, as both airports are generally convenient, with good bus links to and from Galway. Also, it can obviously depend on where you’re travelling from.

While a cheapest flight may be the deciding option for most, one other factor you may wish to consider, if you’re deciding between the two airports, is the ease with which you can get to (and from) Galway.

Shannon Airport is approximately 85 kilometres from Galway and is well served by flights from North America, the UK and a number of European destinations.


by Fred Dean Jnr (Flickr)

Bus Eireann currently operates a service between Shannon Airport and Galway. The journey takes almost two hours as it’s not a direct service. However, there are no late night/very early morning services, so you’ll need to check you can get back to Shannon in good time, if you have a morning departure for your flight back home.

Dublin Airport is approximately 200km from Galway. It is the largest airport in Ireland, with services to and from North America, the UK and mainland Europe.

Citylink, GoBus and Bus Eireann provide frequent services between Galway and Dublin Airport, pretty much 24hrs a day, including late night/early morning services, which are convenient if you have an early arrival time or departure back home. The direct bus journey to Galway takes approximately 3 hours, with buses departing from outside the Terminal 1 building.

For more information about travel within Ireland, please refer to the International Student Pre Arrival Guide.

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