Visiting Ireland? Over 80 slangs & phrases you might want to know

Expat life
14 Jun 2024
5 mins read
Written by Team Instarem

New to Ireland? If you constantly feel lost in the middle of a conversation, we’re here to help with the lingo. 

 

Famous for Guinness, black pudding and green hills, the beautiful country of Ireland is known for the amazing countryside, stunning cities and – sometimes – its gregarious natives. 

 

So, if you’re trying to pick up accents and Irish slangs from television shows or movies, just a little reminder that the accent varies from region to region.  

 

So, stall the ball, guys, a hape of common Irish slangs are coming your way. 

Food & Beverage Terms

Irish Terms

 

Meanings

 

Afters

Dessert

Blackers

Blackberries

Chipper

Fish and chip shop

Fluthered

Very drunk

Gargle

Beer or alcohol

Jar

Beer

Locked

Very drunk

Messages

Shopping or groceries

On the tear

Going drinking

Pan

Bread

Pandy

Mashed potatoes

Poppy

Potatoes

Scald

Tea

Scoops

Alcoholic drink

Scuttered, Ossified, Mouldy, Buckled

To be drunk

Human Description

Irish Terms

 

Meanings

 

Chancer

A dodgy or risky character

Chiseler

Young child (Dublin slang)

Ciotóg

Left-handed

Culchie

A person from a rural/agricultural area

Dosser

Someone not working or messing about, up to no good

Earwiging

Listening in on a private conversation

Fella

Used for your guy, as in ‘Me Fella’ partner/husband/boyfriend

Fine thing

Good looking man or woman

Flahulach

Flamboyant; also, very generous

Holy Joe

A self-righteous person

Jibber

A person afraid to try new things

Melter

A person who is very annoying

Oul‘ Dear / Oul‘ Wan

Mother, Mom

Oul’ Fella

Father

Rugger Bugger

Someone who is posh, loud and loves Rugby

Throw shapes

Show off, sometimes aggressively

Weather, Location & Vehicles

Irish Terms

Meanings

Bucketing down

Raining hard

Gaff

Home, to have a ‘free gaff’ means you are home alone

Jacks

Toilet

Jo Maxi

Taxi, cab

Kip

Used to refer to sleep; a dirty or unpleasant place

Lash

The word has the following meanings:

1. To rain hard

1. To make an attempt at something

1. To go out drinking

Nixer

An extra or irregular job, the income from which is not declared for taxation purposes

Pictures

Movies, film

The Pale

Anywhere in the region of Dublin

Trinners

Trinity College Dublin

Yonks

A long time

Black Mariah

Police van

Bombardier

A type of Irish bus

Bonnet

Car hood

Boreen

Narrow lane

Yoyo

Euro

Zonk

One-pound coin

Common Irish Phrases

Phrases

 

Meanings

 

A whale of a time

If someone says they are having a whale of a time they mean they’re enjoying themselves very much

Cheese on your chin

A chat

Do the washing

Wash clothes

Doing (or speaking) nineteen to the dozen

Going (or speaking) very fast

Donkey’s years

A very, very long time

Down the swanie

Down the drain

Eat the head off

Annoyed or to scold someone

Fierce weather

Threatening weather

Go way outta that

Has several meanings including exclamation of disbelief or don’t be silly or it’s no trouble

Happy out

It simply means to be happy

Haven’t a baldies

When you are unsure of an answer to a question

Holy show

Disgraceful scene

How’s he / she cuttin’?

Used to ask ‘How are you?’ or ‘What’s the news?’

I will yea

A sarcastic way of saying that someone will definitely not do something

I’m gonna head on

Going to leave

Like hen’s teeth

Extremely rare or impossible to obtain

Put the heart crossways

To give someone a fright

Sell ya the eye out of your head

Acon man who will sell anything

Stall the ball

Slow down or stop.

Sure, look it

It is what it is, whatever happens, happens

That’s a fret

An exclamation used to react to something unbelievable yet not completely impossible

The dose is goin‘ round

Used to refer to a viral illness

Wet the tea

Put teabags in boiling water

You couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo

An uncoordinated person

Your head’s a marley

One is foolish or stupid

 

Well, that was quite a list, but we don’t claim to have covered every phrase and slang from the vast Irish treasure trove. You may have come across a few that are not on our list. So, do let us know in the comments if we have missed out on any Irish phrases, words or slang. We will surely put them on our list.

 

You Might Also Want To Read: Moving To Canada? Here Are 75 Canadian English Slangs & Phrases You Must Know

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*Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. All details are accurate at the time of publishing. Instarem has no affiliation or relationship with products or vendors mentioned. 

 

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