Having spent long, wonderful summers in the Connemara Gaeltacht like half of the rest of the Pale, I managed to come across a collection of words that the English language – in all its glory – seems to be so clearly lacking.
So here’s our definitive list of 18 words an Ghaeilge has, that the English language is raging it doesn’t.
Disclaimer: These terms are best attempted in the accent of an older heavy-set Connemara man.
Now, how could we make a list of excellent Irish words without including our famed leader. Known internationally for being the essence of what Irish people bring to the table, and accepted globally that it should be bottled and sold.
Disclaimer; may also be used negatively, i.e. calling someone bad craic, no craic, or, god forbid, anti-craic or minus-craic.
Someone who would hang you out to dry given the opportunity.
Literally means ‘colourful’, and is generally used to describe comeliness of appearance.
The crankiest bitch you can find. The word literally means ‘weasel’, and such a person embodies all the nasty personality traits of said rodent. Bonus points for (sort of) rhyming with sassy. #sasóg
Nothing. Nada. Basically the Connemara way of saying ‘fuck all’, only you can actually get away with it in front of your parents.
The definitive name for ‘the one’ drink we have on a school night.
Also known in English as ‘famous last words’.
The Irish word for ‘word’. A useful one, and probably known to most readers – particularly as it would allow you to curse in front of your Irish teacher without consequence. A friend of faic.
A lumpy, lazy mess of a person who spends the most of their life horizontal. And not in the good way.
The most foul, rotten, rubbish way to describe something completely mingin’.
Like a guy who hasn’t showered in two weeks and is tucking into a slice of mouldy bread while rubbing his face off your face. That kinda mingin’.
This is a real favourite, meaning the schmoozing you do to woo the girl/boy mythical Irish creature of your dreams. The art of flattery and flirtation, Irish style.
A real thick eejit who hasn’t a notion whether he’s going right or left.
A complete total fucking whinger.
An ever-knowing all seeing wise man/woman who can guide you on the path to righteousness. Think your local Yogi times about a billion.
So this word is combined of two words; spear (sky) and bean (woman) and it literally translates as; a woman as beautiful as the whole sky. Think of those dreamy skies you only see in remote Ireland and how beaut they are – now imagine that in female form.
To be absolutely off-the-wall fuming/bulling with someone. It comes from the word ‘spark’, as in ‘spark-plug’, so it literally means to be electrified with anger.
This is the main term of endearment in the Irish language, and trust me, when the love of your Gaeltacht life calls you this (or the even better diminutive version – a stóirín beag – saucy) you will never love like that again.
Literally means superior/president, and you might recognise it from the name of our dear President’s gaf ‘Arás an Uachtaráin’.
What’s cool about this word is, that ‘uachtar’ is the Irish for cream, hence ‘Uachtarán’ implies the cream who has risen to the top, aka the big dog and/or the best. Hon Michael D!