It has been four years since I first came to Ireland. Before coming to Ireland I had spent a year in London.
It wasn’t the first time for me in any English-speaking country but for the initial couple of months of my stay in Dublin it was very difficult for me to understand some of the local conversations.
The reason being that any Irish conversation is so full of slang and Gaelic words that the sentence has a completely different meaning for a non-Irish person.
I am still in process of learning slang but when I heard some of the slang for first time, my interpretation of each of them was so different to what they actually mean, for example:1. Your man/woman: This one is most confusing and a hilarious one, for me it meant like you are talking about someone who belongs to the other person. “Your man was standing there and listening” for me would mean that your husband/boyfriend was there standing and listening, but no it actually means the man in question or person being talked about.2. What’s the craic?: The first time I heard this one was like there was something broken somewhere. What it actually meant was how are things going? Is there anything new?3. It’s gas: The Irish meaning of this one is so different to anything that anyone can imagine, if you don’t know the context where its been used. It has nothing to do with gasoline, it means funny. it means the conversation or joke or person is funny. Funny enough, isn’t it. That’s the irony.4. Grand: I always thought grand means big but not in Irish English, it means that “everything is fine”. For example if someone asks you: “How are you?” the answer is “I am grand”. Yes that’s what it means.5. Deadly or savage: When I heard this one first time, I thought of it as something scary but it actually means brilliant.6. Fair play: It has nothing to do with any game, it just mean that you did great.7. Culchie: I heard this word first time and had no idea what it meant. It means a person from rural area. It’s I think very similar to Desi in India.8. It’s lashing: If you are in Ireland get used to hearing this phrase, because it means it’s raining. Other variants include bucketing, pegging it and spitting’.9. What’s the story?: When Irish people ask you “what’s the story?” they are not asking you about any family stories or any fairy tales, it just means “what’s up?”.10. Jackeen: I heard this one very recently and had no clue what it meant. It is a term used for Dubliner.
I love the Irish accent, Irish slang and I love the fact that in a small country like Ireland there are so many accents and how they are so completely different to one another, like the Cork accent is so different to the Galway and Dublin accents.
The north Dublin accent is so different to the south Dublin accent. My love for Irish accents and slang started when I watched Derry Girls and Father Ted on Netflix.
When I hear Irish country people talk, it’s like music to my ears and I can listen to them for hours.
I was recently at a play, Drama at Inish, a great comic play and as an outsider who hasn’t grown up in Ireland, I think it’s was really funny and great way to appreciate the Irish culture.