Located in the south-west of the country, Kilkenny is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the province of Leinster.
Popular sites include Kilkenny Castle, Rothe House, and St Mary’s Cathedral. The Kilkenny Arts Festival attracts throngs of people annually, while the Cat Laughs comedy festival has been headlined by major comedians such as Des Bishop, Alison Spittle, and Joanne McNally.
As Kilkenny has so much to offer, you may find yourself there in the near future. Be warned – like most counties in Ireland, the people of Kilkenny have their own unique branch of English, peppered with phrases and words which are unfamiliar to the untrained ear.
Fear not – in this article we have outlined the top 10 most baffling Kilkenny slang phrases, explained in simple terms, so you can fit right in with the locals during your visit!
10. How’s she cutting?
To an outsider this phrase may be confusing, and even a little concerning. Who is the “she” they are referring to? And what is she cutting?
Fear not – this is simply the Kilkenny way of asking how you are. Just reply with a simple “not too bad, and yourself?” and you’re golden!
This simple phrase seems a little dangerous, and a bit ominous, but in truth it is a substitute for words such as cool, class, or unreal. Basically, deadly can be used to describe something impressive – be it a deadly pair of shoes or a deadly new hot spot in town.
In complete contrast to deadly, we have the word lousy – a word used to describe something unimpressive.
This phrase is slightly more complex, as it can also be used to describe unsavoury acts – for example, if someone doesn’t fulfil a promise, this act could certainly be described as lousy.
The word lousy is so embedded in Kilkenny culture that it has spawned the word louser – a name given to someone who is lousy or has simple committed a lousy act.
7. Wisht Up
If someone utters this phrase whilst you are in their company, it is time to shut the mouth and open the ears. Wisht up is a slightly softer version of shut up and is often used when the speaker has a story to tell, or an important piece of gossip to share.
Wisht up is commonly heard in the pub, when the round has been bought and the stories are beginning to flow with pints in hand.
6. Ah would ya go away with yourself
This is a phrase you don’t particularly want aimed towards you – it’s a phrase used to call someone out when they’re lying.
Applicable when someone is blatantly spouting nonsense, the infamous ah wouldja go away with yourself has the power to stop anyone in their tracks and recant their exaggerated statements.
5. A face only their mother could love
A phrase that is heard in several parts of the country, this biting insult is popular amongst the people of Kilkenny.
Though vicious, the phrase is often used in jest amongst friends. In plain English, this phrase explains someone who is so unattractive that the only person who will love them is their mother.
Whilst funny in the right context, be careful with this piece of slang – it’s better to be used on a person you know well, as opposed to a relative stranger you’ve just met!
The word meet has a deeper meaning than you may think. Meet is synonymous for the word shift and is mostly used by the younger generation of Kilkenny.
Most people in Kilkenny can recall memories of the dreaded question at teen discos, first held in GAA halls and then the local dingy nightclub when you got a bit older. “Will you meet my friend?”, the age-old question asked on behalf of a boy or girl too afraid to ask the question for themselves.
3. Watering the banjo
This word is used to describe someone who is utterly and disgracefully drunk. Used to describe someone in the pub who has had a few too many pints, or someone in a nightclub who has over-indulged in alcohol.
Watering the banjo is next-level inebriated, having easily surpassed the milestones of merry, tipsy, and drunk.
2. Ate you out of house and home
This expression is used to describe a greedy person with an insatiable appetite, who arrives at your house and eats as much as they can. It is sometimes used for guests, but more usually applied to college students visiting home for the weekend and taking advantage of having food in the press which isn’t pasta, cereal, or leftover take-away.
It is often used in a begrudgingly loving way. For example: “It’s great to have him home for the weekend, but Jaysus, he would ate you out of house and home”.
1. The K Team
Forget Gaelic Football – in Kilkenny, it’s all about the hurling. The Kilkenny Cats have won 36 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championships – more than any other county in the country. They also hold the record for the most All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship Wins, with an impressive 21 wins under the bag.
The K Team is the loving name given to the loyal fans, whose never-ending support for their team encourages the cats to leave it all on the pitch and excel year after year.