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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

31. "A shuck"

A shuck is big ditch that runs along the bottom of fields. If they're not cleaned out regularly, grass, briars, and nettles can grow up and you mightn't even see the shuck.

So if you're planning any Sound of Music-esque frolics through the fields, beware you don't fall in.

In use: "Come quick, the tractor go out of control on Patsy and now he's below, stuck in the shuck."

32. "Do the washing"

Obviously, if you're planning a long stay in Ireland, your clothes are going to have to be washed at some stage. Note that instead of doing "laundry," we do "the washing."

This is all weather related too, and if you're staying with an Irish mammy she'll constantly talk about doing the washing.

In use: "There's great drying today, so I got up at half six to do the washing and get it out on the line nice and early."

33. "The messages"

You will hear about people going out to do the messages, or going into town for the messages. Alas, middle-aged Irish women are not part of some secret government organisation; they're just referring to the shopping.

The messages are what some Irish people call the groceries.

In use: "Anyone want anything I'm heading into town to do the messages."

34. "Call round for a céilí"

A céilí, as we all know, is globally thought of as a session of trad music and dancing, but it also can simply mean calling round to someone's house for a chat and a cup of tea.

The phrase is beginning to die out, but that doesn't mean we can't bring it back!

In use: "Are you doing anything Friday? Sure I might call round for a céilí."

35. "That's a fret"


"That's a fret" is an expression of disbelief. Usually said in a calm way, though. Use it when something's surprising but at the same time not beyond the realms of possibility.

In use: "Thirty-five phrases I need to learn before coming to Ireland? That's a fret!"

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