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.
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