From the midlands to city kids, it’s fair to say that these are 25 Irish sayings all kids from Ireland have heard before.
When it comes to Irish sayings, there are certain phrases all kids growing up on the Emerald Isle will have heard before.
Growing up looks a little different for everyone. Depending on where you live or what your family is like, there are many variables.
One constant, however, are the phrases used by all Emerald Islanders. Read on to discover the 25 Irish sayings all kids from Ireland have heard before.
25. “Wait until your father comes home.” – we all know what this one means
This is an oldie but a goodie. When tooted, it means “be warned; you’re in big trouble!”
24. “Ask your mother.” – basically means, “I’m not getting involved.”
This phrase essentially translates to “I don’t want to be responsible for this decision”. It can also go the opposite way, aka “ask your father”.
23. “Your eyes will turn square from watching the telly.” – we all believed this one
Those who remember when TVs weighed a tonne of bricks and took up most of the space in the living room may also remember this catchphrase.
22. “We’ll see!” – never gonna happen
One of the most common Irish sayings that also translates to “it’s probably never going to happen”.
21. “I wasn’t born yesterday.” – do you think I’m stupid?
This Irish saying essentially means, “Do you think I’m stupid?” The correct response to this is still unknown.
20. “In my day….” – it was always better in the past
No childhood would be complete without memories of our parents and grandparents looking back on the days gone by. Most of those stories would begin with this age-old Irish phrase “in my day…”.
19. “Were you born in a barn?” – don’t forget to close the door
If you ever forgot to close the door behind you as a kid in Ireland, you may have been met with this classic Irish saying.
18. “Mind yourself!” – be careful
Essentially, “Be careful, don’t die” – a common saying when you were off to play in the park with your friends.
17. “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph” – and sometimes the wee donkey
Ireland is a predominantly religious country, particularly in former years and to toot the names of the holy magistrates was a pretty standard feat. This would be an old-school alternative to “Oh my god”.
16. “I’ll light a candle for you.” – often used to scold
For those who did something bold or had bad news to share with another, it was a sign of consideration and empathy to say, “I’ll light a candle for you”. Often though, when kids were naughty, mothers would state this famous Irish saying.
15. “Here’s his car now.” – dad’s home
Direct translation: “your father is back!”
14. “What will the neighbours think?” – oh, the shame
This Irish saying is often spoken when the kids are messing about in the garden.
13. “Get away out of that.” – stop that
Another common Irish saying, this phrase translates to “stop that!”
12. “Get back up them stairs.” – don’t try to get away from homework
For the kids who tried to get out of doing their homework or tried to sneak back down after bedtime, this one is for you!
11. “Stop acting the maggot.” – stop messing around
This quintessentially Irish saying is said to those who are being cheeky, naughty, or playful.
10. “You’re doing my head in.” – you’re annoying me
Another top Irish saying that colloquially translates to “you’re annoying me.”
9. “Did you turn off the immersion?” – a crime if you didn’t
If you didn’t hear this Irish saying as a kid, are you even Irish? Leaving the immersion on is the ultimate crime in Ireland.
8. “I will in my eye.” – no chance
Essentially, this means “I will not.”
7. “Get up the yard.” – stop messing
Another variation of “stop acting the maggot.”
6. “It’s a school night!” – can’t do anything on a school night
This saying transcends countries and is believed to be a statement experienced by children the world over.
5. “Straight up to bed after…” – when you’re allowed to stay up late for something
Whether it was dinner or a TV show, often the evenings would be punctuated by this Irish saying.
4. “What time do you call this?” – when you’re late
This is another top Irish saying all Irish kids will remember. It essentially translates to “get up to bed now!”
3. “Who’s ‘she’, the cat’s mother?” – use their name
Another old-school Irish saying that we have here. This one is often directed towards kids after using the pronoun ‘she’ in place of someone’s name.
2. “Don’t make me stop this car.” – the ultimate threat
For all those kids out there who used to nag or moan in the backseat or fight with their siblings, this is another one for you!
1. “I’m going to count to three.” – last chance
When these six words were spoken, we as kids knew our parents meant business! Essentially, topping our list of Irish sayings, this common Irish expression means, “If you don’t stop what you’re doing right now, there will be trouble!”