Irish For Newbies

A lot of things are different in Ireland. They drive on the other (some would say wrong) side of the car and the other side of the road. They consider dinnertime to be from about 9:00-midnight. They are obsessed with round-abouts (even in the middle of highways). They don’t keep shops open past 4:00 in the afternoon. They have about 5,000 different varieties of Kit Kat candy bars. And they have a lot of different words for things.

Turns out that even though the Irish speak English, there are quite a few differences in terminology. While we were in Ireland I picked up a bit of the local lingo. I had a few back-and-forths where my intentions got completely lost in translation–much to the frustration (and, eventually, the amusement) of both parties. I’ll spare you the trouble of figuring out all of these translations for yourself. Here are my top Irish-English translations for newbies:

  • bog – toilet
  • nappy – diaper
  • hob- stove
  • cot (or baby cot) – crib
  • Maxi-Cosi – infant car seat (note: the airline attendant will become quickly agitated if you suggest bringing a carseat onto her aircraft. Those are huge bulky seats for toddlers and there is not room for them on the little Irish planes. A Maxi-Cosi, however, is perfectly acceptable.)
  • knickers – socks
  • brolly – umbrella
  • gherkins – pickles
  • lads and lassies/ ladies and gents – boys and girls/ women and men (I just think it’s cute that they actually call everyone by these names!)
  • chips – french fries
  • chip butty – a sandwhich stuffed with fries and mayo. Surprisingly delicious.
  • trolley – shopping cart
  • bap – hamburger bun
  • pram – stroller
  • lolly – candy
  • biscuits – cookies
  • savoury biscuits – crackers
  • creche – daycare/ child care center
  • boot – car trunk
  • wellies – rain boots
  • GHT – hair flat iron
  • mineral – soft drinks
  • garda – police
  • Sat Nav – GPS
  • mobile – cell phone
  • the craic – a jolly good time!

Ireland Allisons iPhone - 0086

I hope this helps if you ever plan your own trip out to the Emerald Isle (or if you just want to impress that bartender at your local Irish pub)!

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