Top 10 easy Irish GREETINGS you NEED to know before visiting

If you’re planning a trip to the Emerald Isle, one way to truly immerse yourself in Irish culture is by mastering a few common Irish greetings.

Top 10 easy Irish greetings you need to know before visiting.

Knowing how to greet people and strike up a conversation with the locals can go a long way in creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere during your visit.

In this article, we’ll explore the top ten easy Irish greetings you need to know. From standard greetings to the more colloquial terms, we’ll help you navigate the art of conversation in Ireland. Hint – “Top of the morning to ya” is NOT one of them.

Ireland Before You Die’s insights into Irish hospitality:

  • Hospitality in Ireland is deeply ingrained in the culture, reflecting a tradition of welcoming guests with open arms and a genuine interest in their well-being.
  • The Irish are known for their generosity, often going out of their way to make visitors feel at home, whether through a cup of tea or an invitation to share a meal.
  • In times of celebration or mourning, Irish communities come together to support one another, emphasising the strong bonds and sense of unity within the culture.
  • “Meitheal” is an old Irish word that describes how neighbours would come together to assist in the harvesting of crops or other tasks.

10. Dia duit/Dia Dhuit – the Irish hello

Dia duit translates to “God be with you”.
Credit: Pexels/ Andrea Piacquadio

Dia duit is a traditional Irish greeting in the Irish language that means hello, directly translating to “God be with you”. It’s a polite and friendly way to say hello among Irish speakers.

While the Irish language is not widely spoken in Ireland and the first language of most people is English, it’ll show you’ve made an effort to learn the language of Ireland.

When travelling in Ireland, this phrase is an excellent way to start conversations and show respect for the local culture. The typical retort to this Irish hello is, “Dia is muire dhuit” to say hello back.

READ MORE: Top 10 ways to say HELLO in IRELAND.

9. What’s the craic? – one of the most common easy Irish greetings

Top 10 easy Irish greetings you need to know before visiting.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Tourism Northern Ireland

Craic” is an Irish term for fun, news, or general conversation. So when someone asks, “What’s the craic?” they’re essentially asking, “What’s going on?” or “How are you?” This phrase is perfect for striking up a chat and getting to know the locals.

While some greetings are particular to certain areas of the country, “What’s the craic?” is a universal phrase that everybody in Ireland understands.

8. What’s the story? – a Dublin greeting

What’s the story? is common in Dublin.
Credit: Unsplash/ Gregory DALLEAU

This is a casual way to ask someone how they’re doing or what’s happening in their life. It’s a versatile greeting that can be used with friends and even strangers to start a conversation and show your interest in their well-being.

This is a very common greeting in Dublin, so a great one to know if you’re visiting Ireland’s capital city while enjoying our extensive Dublin Bucket List.

7. How’s the form? – a very typical Irish greeting

Top 10 easy Irish greetings you need to know before visiting.
Credit: Pexels/ Donald Tong

When you inquire about someone’s form, you’re essentially asking about their mood or general condition.

It’s a polite and friendly way to show you care about their well-being and are interested in how they’re feeling. This is a phrase often asked between friends, and you can even go a step further with the Irish prayers and blessings for friends. And in typical Irish fashion, even if your form isn’t good, you’ll say, “Grand, yea!”.

6. Well? – short and to the point

Well? is short and to the point.
Credit: Pexels/ Helena Lopes

A simple and informal greeting, “Well?” is often used in Ireland to ask someone how they’re doing. This is a very typical way to say hello in Ireland, whether it’s a close friend or a complete stranger.

It’s a great way to start a conversation and gauge the other person’s mood.

5. Howya/Howaya – the Irish love to mesh words

Top 10 easy Irish greetings you need to know before visiting.

This is a casual and shortened version of “How are you?”. It’s commonly used in everyday conversations, and you can respond with “Not too bad, thanks” or “Grand”, which is another way of saying you’re doing fine.

4. Story horse/Well horse? – not the horse you’re thinking of

Instead of saying, “What’s the story horse?” they shorten it to “Story horse?”.
Credit: Pexels/ Jacque B.

These playful and colloquial greetings are used to ask someone how they’re doing. They are often accompanied by a smile or a nod, creating a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, and is a good explainer as to why Irish people are known for their sense of humour.

This ultra-casual way of greeting someone is what Irish people use when they meet up with a mate. Instead of saying, “What’s the story horse?” they shorten it to “Story horse?”. This is a typical greeting in North Dublin.

3. Well if it isn’t yourself – “look what the cat dragged in”

Top 10 easy Irish greetings you need to know before visiting.
Credit: Pexles/ Stephan Seeber

This warm and friendly greeting expresses surprise and delight upon seeing someone you know. It’s a lovely way to reconnect with old friends or acquaintances.

You might also hear, “Well if it isn’t himself/herself”. Irish people love to greet each other in a light-hearted and friendly way like this. This is one of the easy Irish greetings you might say if you haven’t seen someone in a long time.

2. How’s she cuttin’? – how are you?

How’s she cuttin’?  means how are you?
Credit: Pexels/ Nicole Michalou

This phrase is an informal way to ask how someone is getting on. It’s often used with friends and family, and it adds a touch of humour to the conversation.

1. Well, sham? – a common hello to a friend

Top 10 easy Irish greetings you need to know before visiting.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Referring to people as “sham” is a common, informal way to say hello to a friend or acquaintance in Ireland.

This is one Irish slang phrase you’ll find in many different counties in Ireland, like Galway and Limerick, for example.

RELATED READ: IRISH SLANG: Top 80 words & phrases used in daily life.

Notable mentions  

Similar to “What’s the story?” or “How’s the form?”, “How’s tricks?” is a fun way to inquire about someone’s well-being and what they’ve been up to lately.
Credit: Pexels/ Ron Lach

How’s tricks?: Similar to “What’s the story?” or “How’s the form?”, “How’s tricks?” is a fun way to inquire about someone’s well-being and what they’ve been up to lately. It’s commonly used in friendly chats.

How you gettin’ er?: This informal greeting is often used in rural areas of Ireland. It’s a friendly way to ask how someone is doing and if they need any assistance.

There she is/he is: Similar to “Well if it isn’t yourself”, this is a common way friends greet each other in Ireland.

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Right: This is a common greeting in Northern Ireland. You might hear people simply saying, “Right” when they see you as a way of saying hello.

Céad Míle Fáilte: “Céad Míle Fáilte” means “A Hundred Thousand Welcomes” in Irish. While it’s not a typical greeting, it’s a beautiful way to express hospitality and warm regards to visitors.

Conas atá tú/Cad é mar atá tú?: There are different dialects of the Irish language. “Conas atá tú?” is primarily heard in Munster Irish while “Cad é mar atá tú?” is the Ulster dialect of Irish. 

This phrase means “How are you?” in Irish Gaelic. You might respond with, “Tá mé go maith” – I’m very well.

Your questions answered about Irish greetings

Top 10 easy Irish greetings you need to know before visiting.
Credit: Flickr/ Diego Sideburns

Is it essential to use Irish greetings in Ireland?

While it’s not obligatory, using Irish greetings can help you connect with the locals and show respect for their culture. It’s often appreciated, and it can enhance your experience in Ireland. However, if you say the typical “Hello” and “Hi”, people will understand you!

How do I respond to Irish greetings?

Most responses are straightforward, such as “Not too bad, thanks” or “Grand”. It’s also common to return the same greeting, like saying “What’s the story?” in response to “What’s the story?”.

What’s the best way to practice Irish greetings before my trip?

Reading articles like this is a great way to familiarise yourself with the way local people greet each other in Ireland. You’ll also find watching shows and movies set in Ireland helpful to get used to the different accents.

How do you say goodbye in Irish?

In the Irish language, “Slán go fóill” is the phrase for goodbye, while “Slán agat” means “see you later”. Aside from the Irish language, you might say “Cya later”, “I’m off”, or just the typical “Bye” when leaving and saying goodbye. You can also see more about the true meaning of the “Irish Goodbye” in our article.

Find Your Dream Hotel in Ireland

On the hunt for the ultimate hotel for your Irish adventure? Explore a curated selection ranging from the charming heritage of boutique accommodations in Dublin's vibrant heart to the tranquil luxury of rural retreats and the captivating coastal vistas. Start your search below to find the perfect stay with our trusted hotel partner.



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