One of the most delicious accents of English around the world is brought to you by Irish people. You are welcome. Year after year, it is being voted high among the sexiest accents on the planet (along with the Scottish, our unstoppable competitors, and somehow – Italians). Should you spend more time in and around Ireland, you will definitely notice that in fact, there is no such thing as ‘the Irish accent’. It is more of a whole weird family of accents competing for the title of the most incomprehensible one. Take a train ride from Dublin to Belfast and you’ll hear the difference.
Besides the Hiberno-English, Ireland has its own language, Irish Gaelic, spoken by several communities in the southwest, west and northwestern coast. Ireland has quite a complicated relationship with its historical native tongue, of which I will probably write another time. But some of the greatest English words in Ireland come from Irish Gaelic.
Let us start with Sláinte (s’lawn-che), the word for ‘Cheers!’ you will inevitably learn on your first night out. Sláinte literally means ‘health’ in Irish, and health is exactly what is supposed to be flowing down your throat with every pint.
What else’s good for your health, is ‘the water of life’, uisce beatha – that’s how we call whiskey in Irish, for obvious reasons. Illegally produced and distributed whiskey back in the day was called síbín, which led to the English term ‘shebeen’ for an illicit establishment that sells such produce.
Craic (crack) in Irish Gaelic stands for ‘fun’, and here it is absolutely acceptable to use the word ‘crack’ around police officers. Which, by the way, are not called ‘the police’ at all, they are Gardaí, or guards.
Now, eejit is how we spell ‘idiot’ both in oral and written form. No need to be offended when somebody calls you this. In many many cases, ‘eejit’ is a very acceptable form of endearment and friendliness. We love you, ye big feckin’ eejit. ‘Feckin’ is a smarter version of the f-word, aptly used by all generations.
Shamrock is our word for Ireland’s national plant, the clover. It comes from the Irish word seamróg, ‘little trefoil’. Note that the ‘shamrock soup’ recipe does not actually involve any shamrock, but still makes for a great St Patrick’s Day hangover treat. We do not use shamrock for any specific purpose, it just grows out there and feeds the cows. We’ve got a whole slew of cows and sheep all around the country. The word ‘slew’ is used to denominate a very large quantity of beings, a crowd, and comes from the Irish slua, ‘crowd, host’.
As you may see, a whole lot of words in Hiberno-English come from the inability of English speakers to spell Irish. Irish go leor, ‘enough’, turned into the English ‘galore’, and Gaelic slua ghairm, ‘war cry’, was adapted to English pronunciation as now common word ’slogan’.
Some words do not simply come from phonetical adaptations, but have a whole story behind them. Such is the word ‘boycott’, for example, which originated in 19th century Ireland, when the Irish Land League began advocating for better conditions and cheaper land lease for farmers. One of the first targets of their protests was a land agent, Captain Charles C. Boycott. The protesters stayed in front of his office, driving away customers and employees. Very soon, the English and Irish press picked up on the issue and started using the agent’s eponymous last name in similar cases.
For advice from our expert guides on planning your trip to Dublin.
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.
3rd Party Cookies
This website uses Google Analytics to collect anonymous information such as the number of visitors to the site, and the most popular pages.
Keeping this cookie enabled helps us to improve our website.
Please enable Strictly Necessary Cookies first so that we can save your preferences!
2. Disabling Cookies
You can disable cookies by adjusting the your browser privacy and security settings. Be aware that disabling cookies will affect the functionality of this and many other websites that you visit. Therefore it is recommended that you do not disable cookies.
3. The Cookies We Set
Orders processing related cookies: This site offers e-commerce or payment facilities and some cookies are essential to ensure that your order is remembered between pages so that we can process it properly.
4. Forms Related Cookies
When you submit data to through a form such as those found on contact pages or comment forms cookies may be set to remember your user details for future correspondence.
5. Site Preferences Cookies
In order to provide you with a great experience on this site, we provide the functionality to set your preferences for how this site runs when you use it. In order to remember your preferences, we need to set cookies so that this information can be called whenever you interact with a page is affected by your preferences.
6. Third Party Cookies
This site uses Google Analytics which is one of the most widespread and trusted analytics solutions on the web for helping us to understand how you use the site and ways that we can improve your experience. These cookies may track things such as how long you spend on the site and the pages that you visit so we can continue to produce engaging content. For more information on Google Analytics cookies, see the official Google Analytics page.
Several partners advertise on our behalf and affiliate tracking cookies simply allow us to see if our customers have come to the site through one of our partner sites so that we can credit them appropriately and where applicable allow our affiliate partners to provide any bonus that they may provide you for making a purchase.
We also use social media buttons and/or plugins on this site that allow you to connect with your social network in various ways. For these to work the following social media sites including: TripAdvisor, Facebook, twitter, youtube, Instagram, LinkedIn, g+, blogspot, will set cookies through our site which may be used to enhance your profile on their site or contribute to the data they hold for various purposes outlined in their respective privacy policies.
7. More Information
Hopefully, that has clarified things for you and as was previously mentioned if there is something that you aren’t sure whether you need or not it’s usually safer to leave cookies enabled in case it does interact with one of the features you use on our site.
This Cookies Policy was created with the help of the CookiePolicyGenerator.com
However, if you are still looking for more information, you can contact us at email@example.com