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  • Travel English: Ireland

    Up For a Jar Down the Local? A Guide to Understanding English Spoken in Ireland with help from U2.

    We might feel a certain affinity with Ireland because we enjoy St. Patrick’s Day and the music of U2. However, the English spoken in Ireland is particularly confusing for non-native speakers because it has many terms and phrases taken from Gaeilge, Ireland’s own native language. Here is a brief vocabulary guide to help you out when you visit Ireland.

    Food and Drink

    A drink is called a “jar.”

    A public house is called a “pub” or “the local.”

    If someone is inviting you for a drink in a public house you might hear “Are you up for a jar down the local.”

    Slainte is an Irish word used when you drink. It means “to your health.”

    Cookies are called “biscuits.”

    A place where you buy fish and chips is called a “chipper.”

    A soft drink is called a “fizzy” drink or a “mineral.”

    Sports clothing is called a “tracksuit.”

    A cup of tea might be called a “cup of scald.”

    A glass of beer is called a “pint.”

    If someone is drunk you might hear “plastered” or “langers,” “pissed” or “locked.”

    A liquor store is called an “Off Licence.”

    A carry-out restaurant is called a “take away.”

    A slice of bacon is called a “rasher.”

    Social

    If someone wants to welcome you they might say “cead mile failte” which translated from the Irish language means “a hundred thousand welcomes.”

    If someone is asking you how you are they might say “what’s the craic?”

    If someone wants to say thank you they say “cheers” or “thanks a million.”

    When someone is going home they say “I’m heading off now.”

    When going to bed they say “I’m ready to hit the hay.”

    If it’s raining you might hear “It’s a soft old day.”

    If someone is inviting you to sit down you’ll here “take the weight off your legs.”

    When referring to a person whose name they cannot remember they will call them “yer man” or “yer woman.”

    If you are blocking the television, you will here “you’re in my light.”

    If something is fun, it is a “blast.”

    If something is great, it might be called “savage.”

    If someone did something considered stupid they might be called a “muppet.”

    Clothes

    A clothes closet is called a “wardrobe.”

    Sports shoes are called “runners.”

    Hair bangs is called a “fringe.”

    Trousers are called “pants.”

    An overcoat is called an “anorak.”

    Random

    Mouth is called “gob.” Close your mouth is “shut your gob.”

    A drugstore is called a “pharmacy.”

    The garbage is called a “dustbin.”

    The side of the road or pavement is called the “footpath.”

    An argument is called a “row.”

    If someone is very angry they might say “he/she had a conniption.”

    A strange person might be called “quare.”

    Getting angry is called “giving out.”

    A clever person might be called “cute.”

    A dangerous person or place is called “dodgy.”

    Someone from Dublin might be called a “Dub.”

    Someone from outside of Dublin might be called a “culchie” meaning a hillbilly.

    A bathroom might be called “the jacks.”

    Any unspecified object could be called a “yoke.”

    How was that? Difficult? Don’t worry. As soon as you arrive you’ll start to pick up all the local words or lingo. Speaking of locals, here is a tune from Ireland’s most famous band, U2 with Where The Streets Have No Name.

    Get travel English classes for especially for Ireland or anywhere else you need to go.