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Slang in Irish?

After finishing my tree I feel that i have a pretty good grasp on Irish but are there any examples of some slang words that someone would encounter if they visit Ireland?

July 24, 2015



Keiron, meet Clisare

(For better or worse, you're probably not likely to encounter any of these as Gaeilge unless you attend a Coláiste Samhradh in the Gaeltacht, but you may well encounter them as Béarla anywhere in Ireland)


I was hoping someone else would jump in on this thread, but here's a few other suggestions.

The truth is, you'll be speaking English most of the time in Ireland, but there are some phrases as Gaeilge that you can use/encounter in day to day usage.

Sin a bhfuil - That's it.
Maith an Fear! - Good man!
Ceart go Leor - OK/All Right.
Is maith liom cáca milis - I like cake!
And don't forget An bhfuil cead agam dul go dtí an leithreas :-)

You might also encounter some rhyming phrases

Cúla Búla - Cool
Éasca Péasca - Easy Peasy
Sabháiste Cabáiste - Savage Cabbage. Savage is a term of approval in Hiberno-English
Rí Rá agus Ruaille Buaille - you had to be there.

And don't forget to say Go Raibh Maith Agat to your bus driver!


Thank you for your help. I hope that i will encounter some Irish speakers on my trip. I am headed all around Ireland including the Gaeltachts like Galway and Donegal.


I had an irish teacher who said 'ceart go lore' or 'maith go lore' at the end of every sentence. I was really frustrating because at first we had no idea what she was saying. But I can attest they're both good slang.


You might get some use out of some out out of the Irish equivalents for some common "text-speak" terms, but only if the people you're texting with know to expect them from you.

grma - thanks Go Raibh Maith Agat
grmma - thank you very much Go Raibh Míle Maith Agat
GAO - LOL - Gáire Ós Ard
ABMTAG - LMAO - Ag Briseadh Mo Thóin ag Gáire


Note that lists of terms like this tend to do the rounds in early March during Seachtain na Gaeilge, in the run up to St Patricks Day.


Slang is something that gets less attention than it deserves. In all honesty, if you were to speak with someone in Ireland, they wouldn't be constantly speaking in completely articulated, formal Irish, they'd use slang which occasionally breaks from the grammatical norm. There are examples of this in English as well, although most of the English ones that I know of are just native speakers becoming lazy with their spelling (mixing up "your" and "you're", for instance). As such, slang would be an integral part of learning a language that you intend to use regularly, along with common idioms and so forth. I haven't gotten very far along the learning course tree thingamajig, but I assume that if you're asking for slang and you've finished your tree it isn't there.

However, I have noticed a few idioms and collections of words that mean different things together than separate - A good example being "Dia duit", which put together is a greeting but if you look at the words individually you'll instead see something about God. On the topic of God being mentioned in everyday phrases, I wonder if Irish includes a message directed at people who sneeze, in much the same way that English speakers say "bless you".


Actually, if I remember my Irish lessons from my time in Galway, you say "Dia leat" (God with you) to someone who sneezes. And the response is "Dia linn" (God with us). So you are absolutely right on at least that point.


You can also say "Deiseal!" which literally means 'clockwise'. It functions as a blessing because it's the direction the sun travels. I'm not sure if it's still in common use, but I like it because it also sounds like an onomatopoeia.

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