10 Irish Phrases to Learn

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 | By

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It never fails.  You’re in a foreign country.  You say something you consider completely normal, like, “Where can I catch a ride?” Every native of the country turns to look at you like you have two heads.  Then, it hits you.  “Catching a ride” means something completely different than what it means in your culture.   If you are traveling to Ireland, there are 10 Irish phrases that are helpful for you to know whether you hear them in pubs, see them on Irish souvenirs or read them on signs along the road.

  1. Sláinte is cheers.  Use it in the pub to clink glasses.  
  2. What’s on? means the same as what’s going on, or what’s up, when you use it as an Irish phrase.
  3. Craic may confuse you.  It’s pronounced ‘crack’ like the illegal U.S. narcotic.   The Irish phrase craic means where’s the fun, music and good times … if it’s definable at all you’ll find it in the pub. (We share some craic weekly here)
  4. Tóg go bog é, a Tenon Tours’ favorite Irish phrase (we even named our Tenon Tours pub Tóg go bog é) meaning take it easy.  On a road sign it means just as such, but also think of it as a reminder to “chill out”, enjoy the sites and experience that is exploring and driving in Ireland.
  5. ‘Taking the piss’ at you implies you’re being made fun of … not something else.
  6. ‘Happy days’ can be awesome or great.  It’s a frequently used Irish phrase.  Go ahead and try it out.
  7. ‘Holiday’ is synonymous with vacation overseas.  You’ll be asked if you’re on ‘Holiday’ as a common Irish phrase.
  8. Petrol means gas, as in petrol station.
  9. Erin go bragh, Erin go braugh or Erinn go brach is an Irish blessing used to show allegiance to Ireland and translates to Ireland forever.
  10. ‘Away with the fairies’ is just fun.  It means crazy.   Try it on your mom.  She’ll like it.

There are other less colorful phrases we could tell you about.  However, learning a few of them for yourself is the best way to go about it.   Irish travel is all about learning Irish culture and experiencing what makes the Emerald Island unique.  Sláinte!
Read Irish Phrases- Part 2

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  1. Thanks for the Irish phrases. Some I had learned from attending the
    Daniel O’Donnell shows here in the U.S. in the city of Branson, Missouri.
    Knowledge of these phrases will be helpful if and when I do get
    to travel to Ireland.

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