Understanding the Irish
Dinesh, our Waterford Institute of Technology and Indian Ambassador gives us a taste of some of the local slang and language he has encountered while studying abroad in Ireland…
Let’s start with some common day-to-day phrases that the Irish use in place of phrases like ‘how are you?‘ or ‘what’s up?‘ Instead of hearing these phrases, you’ll most likely hear Irish people say, ‘what’s the craic?’ or ‘what’s the story?‘
I remember my first house meeting with my Irish friends here and someone form the group said, ‘hey Dinesh, what’s the craic?’ And I was like, ‘pardon… I don’t quite get you buddy?’ Thankfully, my friend sitting next to me explained things so be aware that these phrases can sound odd in real life, but remember, don’t be afraid to ask what people are talking about! People here are happy to explain!
What about money and how do people refer to the currency here? You guessed it, there’s a slang term for that too! Ireland uses the Euro but when it comes to language, the situation here is not the same as other European countries. In Ireland, you’ll often hear the Euro described a yoyo, just like the yoyo with which kids play with… but obviously not referring to the same thing! The very first day I landed in Ireland, I went outside the airport to a café and asked for one bottle of water, I got the bottle than fun started… I asked how much? The guy said, ‘1.50 yoyo please’… I told him ‘yoyo? What do you mean?’ He was looking at me and repeated again, and it took me a while to figure out the whole scenario!
Then there’s ‘grand’. Note, this doesn’t mean large or something big as it should, rather this word is used to convey many different words including ok, alright, good, no problem… the list goes on. Here’s an example,
Landlord: Hello Mr…. When you will pay me the rent?
Tenant: The day after tomorrow
Landlord: Ohh! That’s grand!
Feeling thirsty or like celebrating? Learn the work off-licence! This will be a new term to many international students, especially for students from Asia, and is the term used for a legal liquor store… where you can buy some happy moments!
Don’t forget to swat up on local sports too, and know that Gaelic football and Hurling are national pastimes here in Ireland. Gaelic football appears to be a mix of rugby and football. We warned, it looks easy at first but it needs stamina and skill! Hurling is the fastest game on grass, but very fun and interesting, the most unique thing about Irish games is that if someone is not watching you, than you can be little sneaky and can make a foul, you will be safe!