Irish Words and Phrases:  Express Yourself the Irish Way, Wherever you Are in the World!

Learning a few key Irish words and phrases is such a great way to express your love of the Emerald Isle.

Irish phrases.  Finding the washroom.

Not only will it endear you to your native Irish friends, it could also save you some embarrassment the next time you try to find the washroom at an Irish pub!

Trust me, that happened to a friend of mine. Yes, a friend. It wasn't me. Honest...

Let's Get Started With Irish Words and Phrases

To begin with, you will definitely want to know what we believe is the most recognized word in the Irish vocabulary!

Here it is (drum roll please...) Slainte - pronounced SLAWN-chuh, which means ‘health,’ ‘cheers’ and in most cases ‘drink up!’

And being willing to venture out and say ‘hello’ (Dia Duit: pronounced JEE-uh-gwich) and ‘goodbye’ (Slan: pronounced slawn) would be appreciated in many parts of Ireland, the way it is anywhere you use the local language.

We recommend you get comfortable with these basic Irish phrases. They are easy to say, easy to use, and they work in nearly any Irish drinking establishment in the world!

And if you want to know more about Irish sayings in general, you can visit that section here!

Meanwhile, please enjoy this overview of Irish words and phrases!

Irish Words - Tile image of the word Slainte from Blarney Woolen Mills.

Irish Slang

In some of our earlier visits to Ireland, and even in talking with Irish colleagues in the US, we have had many chances to practice our Irish words and phrases.

On our way to learning the beautiful Gaelic language, we have found it fun and rewarding to practice everyday phrases and Irish slang in English.

On rare occasions, we are ‘Bang On’ (pronounced Bang On, meaning we got it right). More often we ‘make a bags of it’ and have to be corrected.

For example, knowing the various uses of 'craic' can be useful, even if it’s just a matter of not looking confused when somebody asks you ‘What’s the crack?’ or ‘Where’s the crack?’

In such cases you are being asked ‘what’s up?’ and you should respond with what you are doing, where you are going, and whether you care to invite the asker to join you.

(Fair warning:  looking around - as if the ‘crack’ were a thing to be pointed at - is a sure sign that Irish slang is not your first language.)

Using Irish phrases.  Now THIS is how you show your Irish side!

While certain phrases may confuse you, we imagine others will be perfectly understandable. For example if your companion looks over your shoulder at an attractive man or woman and describes them as a ‘fine (foin) thing,’ we’re pretty sure you’ll get it.

On the other hand, if your companion frowns and nods at that ‘shower of savages,’ across the room, you may have a more difficult time figuring out what they’re talking about (let’s just say – it’s something you don’t want to be).

And by the way, if somebody tells you you’re ‘suckin’ diesel,’ don’t get angry – it’s a good thing (means you’re doing great, making sense).

Irish Words - What's the Craic?

Key Irish Words and Phrases

If you prefer to kick it up a notch and actually speak a bit of the language, there are a few words and phrases you should definitely know.

The most basic greeting, ‘how are you,’ Conas ata tu? (CUN-es uh-TA tu). The standard reply ‘I’m doing fine,’ is Taim go maith (TAHm g’ MAW). Goodbye (slan) is pronounced SLAWN.

Other greetings could be ‘good morning,’ maidin maith (May jun my) or ‘good evening’ trathnona maith (traw no nuh my).

To say ‘please,’ le do thoil (LE doh HUL). To say ‘thank you,’ Go raibh maith agat (GUH ROW MAW ug ut). And ‘you’re welcome,’ is go ndeanai mhaith duit (Go nia-nee wa ditch).

And finally, ‘where do I find the bathroom?’ Ca bhfuil an leithreas (CA wil awn LE HER as?).

Want More Irish Sayings?

It is probably obvious - at Irish Expressions, we love Irish wit and wisdom!  The age-old sayings of the Emerald Isle bring people together, making us laugh, love and sometimes shed a tear.

Learning Irish sayings gives us a deeper sense of connection with Ireland, wherever in the world we happen to be!

We have captured many of our favorite Irish sayings in an e-book called "77 Favorite Irish Sayings."  In it you will find Irish proverbs, jokes, limericks, blessings, quotes and more!

This fun, free guide is available to you to download.  Answer two quick questions below to get instant access!

Thank You for Visiting Irish Words!  Here's What to Do Next...

Irish words and phrases give us a window into Irish culture and heritage. Share them during special occasions, to celebrate Irish culture and express your personal Irish side!

For more information of this type, you may want to pay a visit to our main section on Irish Sayings here!

And you enjoyed this page in particular, please share your feedback, opinions and stories with your Irish Expressions community!  You can do that by visiting us on Facebook or Twitter.

Meanwhile, thanks for visiting! Now let's click on another topic above and continue expressing your Irish side at Irish

Want to Feel More Connected to Ireland?  Here's How!

At Irish Expressions we believe everybody – well almost everybody! - has an "Irish side."  So - how nice would it be to have access to a fun Irish experience, on demand, wherever you happen to be?


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