An American’s Guide to Speaking English in Ireland (you think you know… but you have no idea)

Huh? What did you say? Is that English? What does that mean?

After spending 3 months in Spain (2 in Tenerife and 5 weeks in Madrid) desperately attempting to learn Spanish but not doing a very good job of it, I was quite excited to jet off to an English speaking country for 3 months. Never did I imagine that I would still have difficulty understanding the language.

Not only is the accent  one thing to wrestle with… but deciphering the Irish vocabulary can be quite tricky and leave you feeling confused.

In Temple Bar in Dublin listening to some traditional music... no clue what the lyrics are about ;-)

In Temple Bar in Dublin listening to some traditional music… no clue what the lyrics are about 😉

 

So before you go completely misunderstanding what those charming Irish people are saying to you… here is a starter list of vocab to help ya out on your Irish adventures!

 

Boot – trunk of a car

Bonnet – hood of a car

Petrol – gas for your car

On the piss – going drinking

Taking the piss – having a laugh (making fun of someone)

Grand – ok – “That’s grand”

Chips –  french fries

A-1 – great, “That’s A-1” = That’s great, “He’s A-1” – He’s a great guy

Sound – good

That’s gas – that’s funny

Chipper – a fast food type place for burgers and fries

Take away – take-out food

Pint – alcohol measurement

Messer – a joker – “That guy is a messer”

Deadly – fantastic

Dear – expensive

Bold – naughty

To give out – reprimand

The Jax – toilet

Knackered/Shattered – tired

Fag – cigarette

Trolley – shopping cart

Red sauce – ketchup

Telly – television

Brolly – umbrella

Jumper – sweater

Vest – tank-top

Call over – the person is coming to your house

Holiday – vacation

 

Luckily beautiful sites like this (The Rock of Cashel) speak for themselves... no confusing vocabulary needed!

Luckily beautiful sites like this (The Rock of Cashel) speak for themselves… no confusing vocabulary needed!

 

I consider myself a fairly intelligent person, but I must admit there was at least one moment on most days when I didn’t understand what the hell the person was saying!!! So when necessary put your pride aside and kindly ask for a translation OR if it’s just in passing someone SMILE and NOD (I walked by this old man on the street who was so sweet and friendly… NO freaking clue what he said to me but I smiled and that seemed to appease him).

 

Now go have a grand time in Ireland but make sure your hotel isn’t  too dear…take the piss at someone but don’t be too much of a messer or you may just end up tied up in a boot.

 

Happy Traveling!

 

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One thought on “An American’s Guide to Speaking English in Ireland (you think you know… but you have no idea)

  1. too funny! bringing me back to my irish pub working days, and my trips to ireland. LOVE the accent! and i was the only one of my friends who could decipher it. 🙂 that and i swooned any time i heard the accent…

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