Irish Phrases to Know Before You Go

Irish Phrases to Know Before You Go

When choosing to study abroad, language is an important factor. For what seems like a majority of people, studying abroad is a lot about improving their language skills. I, on the other hand, specifically choose not to study in a non-English speaking country for a multitude of reasons.

I hadn’t taken enough years of another language to qualify, I didn’t want the added stress of trying to communicate in a new language, and so on and so forth.

However, what I failed to take into account, when choosing to study in Ireland, was how incredibly important Irish is. Irish, or Gaelic, although I hardly ever hear that term, is everywhere:

  • Irish is an exam subject in school.
  • Students can focus on it in college.
  • Parents can choose for their kids to attend schools that only speak and teach in Irish.
  • Irish is written next to English on road signs.
  • There are TV programs that are in Irish.
  • The news also comes on in Irish every evening.

And those are just a few examples!


Irish is everywhere, and its important to the Irish people. Some people are fluent, others only know a few words and phrases. Some Irish words have become part of the everyday slang-like “craic” (pronounced ‘crack’), which means something along the lines of good fun. So while I’m not learning a new language, I’m still surrounded by one.

Another thing I didn’t really think about was Irish phrases. I’ve learned a whole new vocabulary since I’ve been here, and I’ve begun to notice myself occasionally using it in my everyday life.

Here are a 10 Irish words and phrases I’ve learned since I’ve arrived:

  1. Grand – used like you’d use great, fine, okay or alright.
  2. Craic – I mentioned this one earlier. “What’s the craic?” “How’s the craic?” “Just for the craic.”
  3. Swot – kind of like nerd. Basically, someone who studies a lot and does a lot of schoolwork.
  4. Banjaxed – broken, messed up
  5. Lads – I’ve heard this one used by everybody. Any group of people can be referred to as ‘lads’.
  6. Doss or dosser – to skip class or one who skips class. I’ve heard it used as “This class is a right doss,” or “Having a doss class.”
  7. Your man – that guy
  8. Your one  same as ‘your man’. “And your man said…”
  9. Fair play – well done
  10. Ye  similar to ‘you’


Kayla Trowbridge is 16 years old and lives in Zionsville, Indiana. Her goal during her study abroad program is to “create relationships that will continue throughout my life and develop a new understanding of the Irish culture.” Follow Kayla’s adventure in Ireland on her blog post updates throughout her program.

Does studying abroad in a country like Ireland sound grand to you?

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