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Sure japers we haven't seen you in donkey's years! A guide to Irish saying and their meanings. Photo by: Photocall Ireland

35 Irish sayings and phrases you need to learn before you visit

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Sure japers we haven't seen you in donkey's years! A guide to Irish saying and their meanings. Photo by: Photocall Ireland


In use: "Lord God you were fairly ossified last night weren't you?"

22. "Chips"

In Ireland, chips are crisps and French fries are chips. Be warned you will fall in love with a delicacy called "curry cheese chips" some night when you're ossified.

In use: "Here love, fancy a bag'a chips?"

23. "The fear"


The fear is what you will have the morning after you were ossified, and ate said curry cheese chip. Also called "the beer blues," "drinker's remorse," and "the chronics" – it sums up how you feel when you can't remember large chunks of the night before.

Other symptoms include unexplained depression, cuts and bruises, and not being able to find your shoes. Why do we do it to ourselves?!

In use: "I'm afraid to show my face in there again. I'm crippled with the fear."

24. "I will yea"


This can get very confusing. "I will yea" means "I definitely won't," it's just an easier way of saying it. We're big into our sarcasm here, and if you get flustered by it, don't worry. You won't be the first and definitely won't be the last.

In use: "Are you getting up for mass in the morning? I will yea!"

25. "Beyont"


Beyont is an all encompassing word for any place that isn't the place you're in at the moment. It can refer to the other end of the room, or to the other side of the world.

Expect to hear a lot of country people question you about stuff you have at home, and they'll use the word beyont when doing it.

In use: "Would you have much rain beyont?"

26. "I'm gunna head on"

There are two phrases for the price of one here. There's "head on," which means you're going to leave, and  "head," which simply means "go."

So if someone asks you will you head somewhere, you'll now know what they're actually asking.

In use: "There's two lads shouting at each other in the chipper. I'm gunna head on before a fight breaks out."

27. "Naggins" and "shoulders"

Naggins and shoulders refer to the sizes of bottles of spirits. A shoulder will get you a good way to being to being happy out, but a naggin is perfect for smuggling (or "gooching") into a pub.

However, we're not endorsing such scurrilous actions.

In use: "Get me a shoulder of Captain Morgan, and Aisling wants a naggin of vodka."

28. "Fierce weather"


All weather is "fierce." It can be fierce wet, fierce cold, fierce mild, fierce dry, fierce windy, fierce drizzly, fierce warm, fierce frosty, fierce breezy, fierce damp, fierce humid, fierce dead. Fierce everything,  basically.

Actually, on that note, if someone tells you it's a dead day they mean the weather is humid and would make you sleepy.

In use: "How are you? God it's fierce weather we've been having the last few days."

29. "A jumper"


Sweaters, or pullovers, are called jumpers in Ireland. It's an absolute guarantee that Irish mammies will insist you put a jumper on if you're heading out anywhere.

In use: "Make sure and bring a jumper with you. It's fierce weather out there."

30. "That dose is going' round"

Don't say they didn't warn you! If you didn't wear your jumper, you probably caught a cold. But don't worry, someone will reassure you that "that dose is goin' round," meaning everyone else has the same illness.

I'm not sure why that's meant to make you feel any better though.

In use: "Brendan's in bed with the flu, he won't make the festival." "Oh God help him, but sure that dose is goin' round."

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