Northern Ireland Slang

If, like me, you’re from Northern Ireland you will have grown up with a wonderfully varied vocabulary, quite unique to these parts.

Visitors to the place may be a little unsure as to the meaning of some of our more interesting or colourful terms, so here’s a handy guide you can use on your next self-catering holiday to Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland Slang – the low-down

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When speaking the words below, we strongly recommend you try them in a Northern Irish accent.

Let’s unravel some of the more mysterious Northern Ireland slang terms. In no particular order, here are some of my absolute favourites…

  • ‘Bout ye’ – how are you?
  • ‘Eejit’ – commonly used to describe someone behaving somewhat foolishly
  • ‘Oul-Doll’ – describing an older lady, usually but not always someone’s Mother
  • ‘Scundered’ – utterly fed up, and in some parts can mean hugely embarrassed
  • ‘Dead-on’ – ok great
  • ‘Catch yourself on!’ – Wise up for heaven’s sake!
  • ‘Ach’ – Commonly placed at the start of a sentence e.g. ‘Ach I don’t know’. Meaning unknown.
  • ‘I’m away’ – I’m leaving now
  • ‘Your man’ – You know, that bloke
  • ‘It’s hateful’ – I don’t like it
  • ‘wee’ – used to describe pretty much anything, small or not. ‘Would you like a wee slice of cake’
  • ‘tara’ – that’s terrible!
  • ‘craic’ – fun & banter / what’s happening. e.g. ‘it was great craic’ / ‘What’s the craic?’
  • ‘is that you?’ – have you finished? / are you going?
  • ‘culchie’ – someone who lives in the country
  • ‘happy days’ – that’s great!
  • ‘quare’ – serious / major . e.g. ‘that’s a quare bump on yer head there’
  • ‘we’an’ – child
  • ‘wee doll’ – little girl

And it’s not just actual words which may baffle the un-initiated. We love to mess around with sentence syntax too…

  • ‘it’s hateful, so it is’
  • ‘I heard that the other day, so I did’
  • ‘you’ve already been there, but’
  • ‘are you going out now, just?’

So there you have it, Northern Irish slang in a nutshell. A truly unique, expressive and lyrical language we all know and love here…

Want to come and try it for yourself?  Take a look at some of our gorgeous holiday cottages and get it booked!

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