Forget about Gaeilge, let’s look at some sayings in English that only make sense to the true Irish, English speaker. Here are the top bonkers Irish sayings that only make sense if you’re Irish.
We Irish speak with a flowery tongue. And we make utterances that only we Irish understand.
Ah well, that’s just the way we are so the rest of the world can either lump it or leave it. Let’s have a look at some of the English language sayings that only make sense to us Irish folk.
10. If you fall out of that tree and hurt yourself, I’ll fecking kill you
Every one of us as a child, be it boys or the few tom-girls that we knew, have heard our mother piercing scream warning us to be careful but not in the loving maternal way that one would expect.
No, Irish mother’s make a maternal piece of advice sound like a mafia death threat, ah shur, they still cared, God, bless them.
9. Ah, Shur, he’s harmless, God bless him
This could refer equally to the psychotic teenage neighbour living next door whose hobbies include killing all the neighbourhood cats or equally to the bachelor uncle who spends all day starring into space and mumbling to himself.
I suppose it’s our way of showing tolerance to those a bit weirder than ourselves. And God knows there are a few weird ones around Ireland.
8. It’s the course of the drink, so it is
Let’s face it, most other nations say that the Irish have a problem with ‘the drink’ and they’re probably right.
There is an old Irish proverb that says “Drink is the course of the Irish. It makes you fight with your neighbour, it makes you shoot at your landlord, and it makes you miss him.”
Ok, yeah we might have a problem with the few too many pints of a night, but it comes in handy when we need an excuse.
7. Ah shur, he’s one of our own God bless him
This comment is usually reserved for the dodgy politician just caught with his fingers in the till.
It sometimes seems in Ireland that you can get away with anything as long as your father died fighting the Black and Tans and then went on to help the county win an all-Ireland senior championship before opening a pub.
6. If God closed one door, he opened another
One thing about the Irish is we’re eternal optimists. In fairness to us — perhaps it’s the strict Catholic upbringing — but we seem to accept the hand that faith deals us with an ‘ah shur, it can only get better’ attitude.
Someone once said to me that the famine was the best thing that ever happened to the Irish because it opened up emigration to America.
I suppose again Ireland’s loss was the police force’s and construction industry of New York and Boston’s gain.
5. It will be grand
Like number six above, this is where our eternal optimism really comes to the fore.
Like seriously, if Ireland is ever nuked by accident by the Yanks or the Russians or even the Chinese or God forgive, the French.
Can’t you just imagine a future Taoiseach driving out to what’s left of RTE and broadcasting to the Nation? “Ok Lads we have a slight problem but hold your horses, it will be grand.”
4. All belonging to him were in the Black and Tans
This is where it can get nasty. Any reference to the Tans is taken as a slur on one’s whole family.
This saying could be used if, for example, if a neighbour out-bids you at auction for a couple of acres down the road, or you catch someone sleeping with your wife.
Well, of course, if the adulterous blackguard you catch sleeping with your wife is “one of our own” as above, well then, “ah shur, that’s grand. At least it’s one of our own.”
3. Jaysus, you wouldn’t throw her out of bed for eating Taytos
As we all know, real Irish men are obsessive about tidiness, and in particular about the tidiness and cleanliness of our bed linen.
In fact, some long-term Irish bachelors have been known to change their sheets every two or three years — whether it’s needed or not.
So, by saying “you wouldn’t throw her out of bed for eating Taytos,” they are admitting that a night in the sack with a particular lady might be worth the messy sheets in the morning if the lady had a sudden urge to snack on potato crisps in bed.
2. How many priests did he have?
William Shakespeare — another great Irishman claimed by the Brits — once said “The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones.”
Ok, that might be true in many parts of the world. Still, the good that a man does in Ireland is measured by the number of priests and politicians at the funeral and of course at the by the amount of free booze served afterwards.
Of course, the free booze afterwards lends us the other Irish saying, “he got a great send-off, so he did.”
1. Is it a boy or a child?
Call Irishmen sexist if you must, but everyone knows if you are going to have a baby — well it’s better to have a boy.
This is probably the first question a new Irish father hears, “was it a boy or a child?”
If the unfortunate father has parented a ‘child’, he will hang his head in just the right amount of shame before going on to buy a pint for all present.
As the drink is downed, the sex of the newborn child becomes less and less important and words of encouragement like ‘shur, better luck next time’ and ‘shur as long as it’s healthy,’ are uttered.
Well, there you have it ten little unique Irish ways of saying things that will leave the rest of English speaking world guessing. Shur isn’t more the pity for them.
There you have it, the top Irish sayings only the Irish will know.