VagaGuide Tim relaxing on an ancient stone circle in Ireland
VagaGuide Tim rehearsing his lines at an ancient stone circle

 

We Irish are known for our way with words. Although we speak English in Ireland, our version has more than a hint of Gaelic influence. You'll notice plentiful poetic license being taken with Irish phrases and grammar.

Yoke

Vagabond Robin meets Steve the goat man of Sneem and Puck, his goat, on her small group tour of Ireland

Everyone has moments when words escape us.

Where you might say, 'it's on the tip of my tongue', we Irish say 'that yoke'. 'Yoke' is the perfect noun substitute.

Examples:

"Can you get that yoke for me?" or "Where did I leave that yoke?".

Yoke can literally mean anything.

IMPORTANT: Not egg yolk.

The Surprisingly Logical Meaning Behind Some Irish Words

Irish phrases may differ from American ones. But our words have quite logical meanings:

Footpath - a.k.a. a sidewalk; it's a path your feet go on.

Runners - What you might call sneakers or trainers; so-called as, literally, you go running in your runners.

Slagging

A group of Vagabond guests having fun at Ladies View

At first, it may seem like we are constantly insulting one another. In fact, slagging is a mark of how close a friendship you have with someone.

If someone starts joking about your accent or, perhaps, about your home country, don't take it as an insult. It's a sign they like you! Feel free to join in and return the slagging. It's all in good spirit!

Try these handy Irish slagging phrases to fit right in:

"Stop acting the maggot" - Acting in a foolish manner.

"Ye half eedjit ye" - Not quite a full eedjit, but still quite foolish.

"You're an awful snake (pronounced shnaake) " - Translation: you're a sneaky person, but I like you.

Notions

A big bug lands on one of our vehicles

Anyone who shows overly zealous self-regard, boastfullness or pride is said to have 'notions'. In extreme cases, you may even be accused of exhibiting 'serious notions'.

For example:

"Would you listen to her, she's got serious notions".

VERY IMPORTANT - Anyone who displays 'notions' is opening themselves up to the possibility of being 'slagged'.

The Jacks

A group of excited Vagabond guests at Ireland's finest toilets in Gougane Barra Forest Park
A group of excited Vagabond guests at Ireland's finest 'jacks' in Gougane Barra Forest Park

You may know it as the restrooms or toilets. In Ireland they are called "the jacks". If you arrive in a pub you might ask the barman "Where's your jacks?" & they'll point you in the right direction."

Bumbags

Those of you from the USA and Canada may know these delightful appendages as fanny packs.

Generally, Irish people know what you mean if you say 'fanny pack'.

However, be prepared to get a slight grin or giggle, as the word fanny has different connotations in Ireland.

Ask your tour guide!

"Stall the ball"

Guest Bianca Sanchez fooling around with another Vagabond guest on tour in Ireland

"Stall the ball for a minute" is a playful way of asking someone to slow down; either literally, or just in conversation.

If you're on tour, it's acceptable to shout out to your guide,

"Can you stall the ball please - I want to get a few photos here"

33 and a third

You may notice Irish people pronouncing 'three' as 'tree'. Or '33 and a third' as 'turty tree and a turd'.

We get a lot of 'slagging' for dropping our 'h' in various words. This pronunciation may have originated from the Irish/ Gaelic word for the number three being "trĂ­".

Well, that's our excuse and we're sticking to it!

"C'mere till I tell ye"

If someone in Ireland is excitedly about to tell you some hot gossip, or an anecdote, they may open in this playful manner:

"C'mere till I tell ya..."

"Sound as a pound"

Direct meaning = everything is all good.

If your VagaGuide asks how you're doing, and you're feeling good, a good response would be:

"Sound as a pound, thanks for asking"

"I'm absolutely stuffed"

A cooked Irish breakfast served in a frying pan with soda bread

We're not talking about any form of taxidermy here.

Rather, you've had a large amount of lovely Irish food and are feeling satisfied.

This is a phrase we guarantee you'll use more than once on your small group tour of Ireland with us.

Craic

Man drinking Guinness

One of the more well known Irish words of phrase. Put simply, craic means fun.

But craic is slightly more versatile. It can mean good times, good company and converstation, or even be a form of greeting

Examples:

"It was great craic last night", or "What's the craic?"

You might see the phrase 'Craic agus ceoil' advertising a pub. This means 'Live music and good fun' in Irish.

Suckin' Diesel

 

View out over the dashboard of a Vagabond tour vehicle as a group of sheep block a rural road somewhere in Ireland
Traffic jam, Ireland style!

Our VagaTrons do suck quite a lot of diesel. But if an Irish persons says this to you, don't take them literally!

Telling someone that you're 'suckin' diesel' means that things are going exceptionally well.

Want to go on an in-depth study tour of Irish slang? Check out our small group tours of Ireland.

Alternatively, you can also contact our friendly reservations staff directly on: info@vagabond.ie

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