The ultimate Irish cheat sheet: Ireland’s best slang words

We know, we know, we have some strange slang. Here is our ultimate cheat sheet with all of Ireland’s best slang words you need to know.

‘What’s the craic?’, a common Irish greeting, is not the only slang phrase that us Irish like to use daily. Believe it or not, most of our day to day conversations consist of Ireland’s best slang words that, funny enough, not everyone understands, even us Irish.

Slang words vary from county to county. Pair that with each county’s distinct accent, and you’ll be forgiven for not understanding what on earth we are trying to say. Don’t give up on trying to decipher the language of the leprechauns just yet, because here at Ireland Before You Die, we have created the ultimate cheat sheet, a guide to Ireland’s best slang words.

So, next time you head out to the local country pub, you can converse with the locals without a second thought. Some of these may make no sense, but hey, that’s the beauty of it, so let’s take a look at Ireland’s best slang words.

10. Yoke – “thing”

A yoke is a thing, and not an egg you're thinking of.

Next time someone asks you to pass the ‘yoke’ over there or asks what this ‘yoke’ is, you’ll quickly know that it’s not an egg they’re talking about.

9. Sound – “reliable”

The word sound means reliable, another Irish phrase you need to know.

The sentence may go a little like this, ‘Ah yer man over there, he’s a sound lad’. This is a positive comment meaning he is a good guy.

8. Bogger – “country folk”

Bogger is a word you need to know, it relates to farmers and culchies.

Some similar examples from around the world may be hick/hillbilly/bogan. Still, In Ireland, if you’re from anywhere outside a city, you’re pretty much called a ‘Bogger’, possibly referring to the land of the bogs.

7. Yer Man/Yer Want – “the man/the woman”

Yer man/yer want is another of Ireland's best slang words

This one may sound peculiar, but believe it or not, it is probably the most common of all. When speaking about someone, we generally start by saying ‘Ya see yer wan over there’ and continue on. It’s a way of talking about someone, regardless if it’s a man or a woman.

6. Gaff – “house”

A gaff is one of Ireland's best slang words you need to know, don't worry, it's part of our cheat sheet.

Next time you’re invited to a ‘gaff’ party, you can relax, it just means someone is having a party at their home, and you’re welcome. Gaff parties can be the best Irish parties you’ll ever find!

5. Plastered – “drunk”

Plastered is one of Ireland's best slang words, it means drunk.

Do you overhear Tom talking about how plastered John was at the gaff party last weekend? Do you wonder what kind of accident he got into? Well, ‘plastered’ is an Irish term for drunk, not injured, like you would imagine. So sure enough, Jack is grand now!

4. Craic – “fun, banter”

Another of Ireland's best slang words you need to know is craic.

Interestingly, the word craic is Irish for ‘fun’, so you may see many bars with signs outside saying ‘craic agus ceoil’ (fun and music), so don’t be alarmed, it’s nothing illegal.

3. Gas – “hilarious”

Gas is another of the Ireland's best slang words.

Mary might say ‘Jack told us all a joke at work the other day, it was absolutely gas’. Mary thinks Jack’s joke-telling skills are pretty good, not that she believes he has some flatulence problem.

2. Jacks – “toilet”

The jacks are the toilets and one of Ireland's best slang words.

You might be on a night out and one by one, people keep saying they’re ‘going to the jacks’. You might be confused and wondering who this jack guy is that people keep approaching, but it’s actually just a slang term for toilet. Some places may even have it written on the door, so have a lookout for it next time!

1. Grand – “fine, ok”

Grand is another of Ireland's best slang words you need to know.

And at number one on our list of Ireland’s best slang words is grand. Grand is a word that is used by everyone, no matter what age or where they are from in the country. It purely means everything is fine or is all ok. “Sure, it’ll be grand” is something we all like to say, no matter the situation. We’re a nation full of optimists after all!

Now that we’ve reached the end of the Ireland’s best slang words, you may have had a few of those ‘ah-ha’ moments, reminiscing over that time you once heard the lad beside you talking about his bogger friend who came to the gaff party at the weekend and got absolutely plastered but everyone thought he was gas craic.

We may not have covered every slang word in the Irish language, but that’s even more reason to get out there today and try your hand at deciphering a few of those words we haven’t mentioned. No doubt, there will be many more of Ireland’s best slang words that you will come across, so get a head start! You’ll be sounding like one of us in no time.

Facebook Comments
Jade Poleon is a free spirit with a love for the world and her homeland, Ireland. Jade started travelling in 2007 and since then has travelled to every continent and over 90 countries, qualified as a yoga teacher in India, hiked the Himalayas, walked 900km across Spain, and is about to embark on a trip through Portugal in her camper van. Travel is her number-one passion, and she has a soft spot for hiking, food, and jaw-dropping scenery, all of which can be found right here on our stunning Emerald Isle.