How to be Irish 101

Posted By: MackenzieRule
Posted On: October 1st, 2017
Attending: Trinity College Dublin

Ok everyone, if you are visiting Ireland for the first time from America, here is a quick guide with rules/tips/terms to help you blend in Ireland!

Rule #1, if you want people to think you’re from Ireland, either don’t speak, or develop a very convincing Irish accent (not possible) before you come because as soon as one word slips out, game over. Immediately, everyone around you knows you are American. The good news is most Irish love Americans, so embrace it!

WARNING: When someone hears you speak and then asks “Oh where are you from?!”, do not say America. Obviously they know you are from there, they are asking which state or city. (Maybe I’m the only idiot to say America and most people do not experience this)

What an American believes to be an Irish accent vs. an actual Irish accent- totally different. No one says “Top of the morning to ya!” Well at least not that I’ve heard. There are parts of Ireland that definitely have a stronger accent and are much harder to understand. In my experience so far, Belfast seems to have the strongest accent and talk a little faster than the rest of the places I’ve been in Ireland.

On that note, Rule #2: When you’ve asked someone to repeat themselves more than two times and you still don’t understand what they are saying, just smile and nod.

Onto the lingo…

SO GREAT. Some terms, sayings, reactions, etc. that are just good to know, or you can go the extra step to add it to your own vocabulary (I certainly am)

  1. My favorite- “Brilliant”. If someone does/says something funny, you might hear an Irish person say “Oh my god that’s brilliant!”
  2. “It’ll be good craic” (sounds like “crack”) No, this isn’t talking about doing drugs. It means it’ll be a lot of fun or a good time.
  3. The reply to “thank you” is “no worries”
  4. Everyone says sorry about everything, and now I find myself doing the same. I must admit, it does sound more polite when you add in a “sorry” to every question.
  5. “Mental”- Directed towards a person, place or thing, but it means crazy or insane. For example, it’s not usually a compliment when a person says, “(Insert name here) is mental!”
  6. “Cheap and Cheerful” – Could be talking about anything from an article of clothing to going out for a meal, but basically it’s self-explanatory.
  7. If it’s 5:30 pm, its not “five thirty”, it’s “half five”.
  8. “That’s class”- Equivalent to an American saying “That’s awesome/amazing”. To give a better context, I heard a girl on my team say “The pictures you can get from that view are class”
  9. There is this great store called Penney’s, and it is the same as Primark in America. The store sells EVERYTHING from clothes, shoes, and accessories to home goods and it is dirt cheap yet good quality. I’d say this store defines the saying “cheap and cheerful”, but according to the Irish, you never brag about owning something from Penney’s. I made the mistake of showing off my cute, 11 euro, Penney’s jacket to a group of Irish girls and was laughed at. Therefore, if someone compliments the shirt you are wearing, and it’s from Penney’s, do not say “Thank you! I got it from Penney’s!” Instead, you reply modestly, “Oh this cheap shirt? I just got it at Penney’s.”
  10. An alternative to “thank you” is “cheers”

I know 10 isn’t much, but I’ve only been here for a little over a month so I only hope to build. There are a couple sayings and terms I’ve heard in conversation, but still am not sure of the meaning. The other day I heard my coach say “the kids are gas”, which I think means funny? If anyone from Ireland is reading this blog, please confirm or deny in comments below!

I hope this little guide gave you a little taste of Ireland, and helps if you ever get a chance to visit. On that note, if you do get a chance, VISIT! It is a trip you won’t regret!

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