20 mad GALWAY SLANG phrases that only make sense to locals

If you’re visiting Galway, have a read of these mad slang phrases so you can understand the locals on your trip.

20 MAD Galway Slang Phrases Which Make No Sense To English Speakers.

From Capital of Culture in 2020 to being voted among the top six friendliest cities in the world, Galway continues to amass travellers from across the world every year.

If you’re looking for recommendations for a visit to Galway, we have you covered, but we’ve also compiled a list of mad Galway slang phrases that might help you out while you’re there!

20. Ara/Arah − “Ara, sure what harm?”

Ara is one of the mad Galway slang phrases that only locals will know.
Credit: pxhere.com

‘Ara’ may only be three letters long, but its use in a sentence knows no bounds. It is most used by Galwegians as a precursor to a positive or optimistic statement like, “Ara, sure look, it’ll be grand”.

‘Ara’ also stands alone from time to time. For example, your friend is apprehensive about going for pints and working the next day, you reply with an ‘Ara’, and nothing more is said. Always the optimists, the Galwegians!

19. Dry − “Jaysus, he’s awful dry, that lad.”

Galwegians are no strangers to the rain, so keeping dry is a must, but being dry is another thing altogether!

This harmless insult can refer to people who are slightly uptight or just simply no craic at all. So don’t be surprised when you hear the old Galway jibe, “Don’t be dry”, when you tell them you aren’t coming out tonight!

18. Shift/Shifting −“Did ya get the shift in the Roisin last night, did ya?”

A phrase known around Ireland.

A list of Galway slang phrases couldn’t be made without mentioning ‘shifting’. In Galway, to ‘shift’ someone is to kiss them and “getting the shift” is a standard mission on a night out for Galway’s singletons.

One of Galway’s best bars, the Roisin Dubh, even went viral in 2016 for displaying a “no shifting at the bar” sign. So, if you’re looking for love in Galway, you know where to go!

17. Craytúreen − “You’re soaked, ya poor craytúreen!”

‘Craytúreen’ is an amalgamation of two Galway phrases; ‘Craytúr’ is an affectionate term for the less fortunate, and ‘een’ denotes anything small in size.

Both Galway phrases have Gaeilge origins, but you’ll more than likely hear them during your stay as Galwegians can add ‘een’ onto just about anything, even people’s names!

16. Stop the lights −“Stop the lights. He did not, did he?”

'Stop the lights' is one of the mad Galway slang phrases that only locals will know.
Credit: pexels / Andrea Piacquadio

We’re not sure where this Galway slang phrase originates from, but we do know it’s used by locals as a term of dismay, oftentimes after hearing a juicy bit of gossip!

15. Tome − “Where did ya get the jacket? It’s pure tome.”

Anyone who grew up as a teenager in the early 2000s and 2010s in Galway will be familiar with ‘Tome’, a phrase meaning cool.

‘Tome’ was so popular in Galway that it was even the name of a successful club night that ran in the city only a few years ago!

14. I haven’t a fear − “I haven’t a fear of heading in there.”

I haven't a fear of heading in there.
Credit: pexels / Vie Studio

Whether your boss has asked you to stay late on a Friday afternoon or your mates are going for some sociable ones on a Sunday night, ‘I haven’t a fear’ is a perfectly Galway response to something you’ve no intentions of doing.

13. Lush/Lushing − “It’s Friday night. Will I grab us some lush?!”

The nightlife in Galway is lively with Galwegians ‘going out lushing’! In Galway’s characterful pubs, you can find friendly natives and pick up some of the best Galway slang phrases, such as ‘lush’, a term for a drink, usually an alcoholic one.

12. Sparch/Sparching − “The sun is splitting the rocks; will we go down to the Sparch?”

'Sparching' is one of the mad Galway slang phrases that only locals will know.
Credit: Flickr / Bro. Jeffrey Pioquinto, SJ

Summer in Galway is some of the most fun you could ever have. The Spanish Arch is where you can soak up the sunshine, listen to musicians, get a bag of cans with your mates and partake in the popular Galway pastime, “Sparching”.

11. Gammy −“That’s a gammy pint of Guinness.”

‘Gammy’ or ‘acting gammy’ are Galway phrases for something below par or something not working to its full effect anymore.

10. Sublick − “Well, sublick, what’s the craic?”

'Sublick' is a word for friend.
Credit: pexels / Andrea Piacquadio

‘Sublick’ is a Galway phrase that you may not hear as often there anymore. It’s a term used to refer to a friend or acquaintance, especially when greeting them!

9. Sham −“What’s the story, sham?”

‘Sham’ is an infamous Galway phrase. In Galway, you could be a ‘sham’, or you could hear or see something so shocking or disappointing you’re provoked to respond with a ‘sham’ afterwards!

8. You’re right too − “Yeah, come in on my day off. You’re right too.”

This is one of the mad Galway slang phrases that only locals will know.
Credit: pexels / Keira Burton

Galwegians can be as sarcastic as they are friendly, and ‘You’re right too’ may just be their answer for something that they think you aren’t in any way right about. Don’t worry; you’ll get used to the witty Galway humour in no time!

7. Musha! – “Musha, would ya look at that!”

Much like many Galway phrases, ‘Musha’ has an origin in the Irish language and is mostly used to express shock or disapproval. You’ll generally hear ‘musha’ used in rural Galway areas.

6. Gomey − “She’s some gomey, that one!”

Gomey is similar to 'eejit'.

‘Gomey’ is another quintessentially Galway insult, much like calling someone an eejit!

5. Corbed − “Corbed myself falling on Shop Street last night.”

‘Corbed’ is typical Galway slang you’ll hear for getting yourself into a ruin, be it by an injury or by getting caught smoking around the back of the school bike shed.

4. Go away from around me − “Will ya go away from around me you”

This is another one of the mad Galway slang phrases that only locals will know.

This can be said in jest or in frustration. Whichever it is, you’ll most likely hear it in a Galway accent, so add it to your Galway phrase book.

3. Are ya wide? − “Oh, don’t worry, I’m wide to the buzz.”

To be ‘wide’, in terms of Galway slang, is to know exactly what’s going on. So, if you really want to show off that you’re ‘wide’ to Galway terminologies, try this one out!

2. Grade − “I can’t go out this weekend; I have literally no grade until payday.”

This is a term that means you have no money.
Credit: pexels / Nicola Barts

‘Grade’ is, as you probably guessed, a Galway phrase for money, often used by folks from the city.

1. Howya loveens! − “Ara Howya loveen, I haven’t seen you in ages!”

Arguably, one of the favourite phrases among Galwegians is this one, which is used as a salutation and as a substitute for ‘how are you?’.

‘Loveen’ is a term of endearment in Galway that basically means ‘little love’, proving Galway is home to friendly and welcoming folk, so why not visit Galway and find out for yourself?

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