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What's the craic? 10 Irish slang terms to make you sound like a local

What's the craic? 10 Irish slang terms to make you sound like a local

Irish slang is a maze of contradictions, dry sarcasm, and lyrical descriptions. It also varies based on regional differences. Fear not — we’ll help you decode Dubliners with a “rake” of phrases to help you if you’re thinking of exploring Ireland’s capital.

English is one of the two official languages in Ireland, the other being the Irish language: “Irish”.  The latter is sometimes called “Gaelic”, but never by anyone in Ireland (and now, never by you). Irish people are very welcoming and often keen for a chat, so knowing some of the local lingo can help you strike up a conversation.

While some of Ireland’s slang terms originate from the Irish version of the word, others simply reflect how “gas” the Irish are. Feeling lost? Read on to add some cool Irish words to your vocabulary.

1. Gas 


Meaning: Funny; causing amusement or surprise; amusing; comical.

This can be used to describe a funny person or situation in Irish slang, as in:

  • “Last night was gas, I never knew Pablo could dance like that”

  • “Ha! That’s gas, where did you hear that?”

  • “He’s an absolute gas man that Dean, he had us in stitches last night”

(Bonus idiom: if you’re “in stitches”, you’re laughing a lot). 

2. Rake / rake-load


Meaning: A great quantity or number; multitude.

Other than being used to gather up leaves, a “rake” in Ireland can also be used to describe a great number of something.

  • “I have an absolute rake-load of assignments to finish this weekend, I’m dreading it.”

  • “There was a rake of people waiting at the bus stop.” 

3. Your man / Your one / Young fellah / Young one


Meaning: A young man or boy / a young woman or girl / any man / any woman.

Although it may sound like a reference to a romantic partner, in Irish slang, “your man” refers to any man, whether you know them or not. “Your one”, meanwhile, is used to refer to a woman. 

Young fellah and young one (or “wan”, depending on the accent) refer to male and female youths, respectively.

  • “Who’s your one in the blue dress over there?” (for a woman)

  • “I go there so much that your man in the coffee shop knows my full order now.” (for a man)

  • “That young one must be freezing, she’s not even wearing a jacket!” (for a young girl)

4. Craic


Meaning: A good time; fun; banter; mischievous; news.

A word with a million uses, you’ll hear craic (pronounced “crack”) used every day in Ireland as a slang term. You may already know it as meaning “a fun time”, however, did you know you can also use it in the following ways? 

  • “What’s the craic?” – “What’s up/how are you/any news?”

  • “You should come, the craic’s 90” – the absolute maximum that the craic can be, this simply means whatever is going down is definitely a good time. 

  • “Minus craic” – The opposite of “the craic’s 90”. If something (or someone) is described as minus craic you can safely skip that. It’s no fun.

5. I will, yeah 


Meaning: They will not 

This one can be slightly confusing — it’s all about the delivery of the phrase. When delivered dryly, it’s easy to mistake “I will, yeah” for an Irish person confirming that they will do the thing you’ve asked of them. When actually, they absolutely will not. 

  • “Are you going to the kitchen? Will you make me a cup of tea?”
    “I will, yeah.”


They will not. 

6. Fierce


Meaning: Very

Fierce in Irish slang is used in place of “very” in some instances. 

  • “It’s fierce mild out!”

  • “It’s fierce dark today.”

It’s also used as an intensifying adjective, modifying a noun. It can have a positive meaning, like great, or abundant; and a negative one, like severe, or awful. 

  • "That was a fierce commute."

  • "Dublin is still fierce craic at 3 am."

  • "There’s fierce drying out there." (meaning it’s a good day to hang up laundry, the day being particularly warm and windy)

7. Gombeen / Eejit


Meaning: Insults: shady character, fool.

While these have slightly different meanings, it’s enough for you to know that the connecting thread for these words in Irish slang is that they’re both insults, often used in a good-natured way. For nuanced specificities: 

  • Gombeen: A shady character, particularly a suspect businessperson who may be looking to lure you into a scam.

  • Eejit: A wholesome little insult, this can also be used as a term of endearment. Just a silly fool. 

8. Class / Whopper / Deadly 


Meaning: Excellent, really good, great, fun, brilliant.

You can use all of these to describe something or someone that you really like. 

  • “You missed out on Luuk’s party last night. It was deadly!”

  • “I had a great time with Helena yesterday. She’s whopper.” 

9. C’mere to me 


Meaning: Listen to me 

C’mere to me (or c’mere t’me) is short for “come here to me”. However, in Irish slang it’s used to mean “Listen to me” or “I have something to tell you”. You can use it conspiratorially or pragmatically, depending on the information you deliver.

  • “C’mere to me, did you hear Joe started a conga line at Luuk’s party? It was class, everyone joined in.” 

10. Sure look, this is it


Meaning: It is what it is / C’est la vie 

You’ll hear this handy little phrase cropping up most frequently at the end of a casual conversation. It has a general meaning of acceptance, or there being nothing to be done about a situation. It can also be used to wrap up a conversation once you want to get on your way again.

  • “I can’t believe I’ve been scheduled for a Friday work shift again! If only someone would swap with me…?”
    “Sure look, this is it.”

You’re ready! Enjoy your new Irish slang phrases

C’mere to me. You have a rake-load of new Irish slang terms to practice, and you’re going to do a whopper job using them in your day-to-day life. 

Now you’re ready to blend in with Ireland’s locals, armed with the knowledge that Gaelic is Irish, “I will yeah” is “I absolutely will not” and “Sure this is it” is an acceptable response to almost any statement.

Practice your Irish slang in DublinExplore
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