Lost in translation
My family moved to the UK from Ireland when I was 14. Landing in a new school, I was like a rare tropical bird. Girls would come up to me at break-time, demanding I say something so they could hear my accent.
And it seemed a cruel twist of fate that for the register, each girl had to shout out her allotted number. Mine? 33 – of course. The whole class held it’s breath from 31 to make sure they heard me say “turty-tree”.
There are a few verbal adjustments you need to make as an Irish girl in the UK. “Do NOT ask for a rubber, it’s an eraser!!” my mother warned me on my first day. As an adult, quoting my postcode (with an R in it) to a customer services person was hard work. I would pronounce R “Oar” but it was always repeated back to me as “O”.
Accent-uate the positive
I recently completed the hilarious and spookily accurate New York Times British and Irish dialect quiz
I think I confused it somewhat as I have a mix of Irish and Brit slang words. My kids are also a wonderful Anglo-Irish mix of words and phrases, for example, they wash their faces with a facecloth (flannel) and they always eat their tea (it’s only dinner if we eat out…?)
Having a Southern or Northern Irish accent is no hardship on the dating or work front either. Jamie Dornan was voted No 2 sexiest accent by Glamour Magazine in 2018 and in a global study conducted, CEOWorld Magazine revealed that the most attractive accents were the Brits, closely followed by the Irish.
So for my UK friends travelling to Ireland, here’s my Irish Slang guide.
You can read it on the plane over (my accent seems to go very Dublin over the Irish Sea- Aer Lingus must put something in the air conditioning).
Irish Slang guide – Top 5
Gurrier n a hooligan or trouble-maker, for example, “He’s a right gurrier, stay away from him.”
eejit n a fool, for example, “You’re an awful eejit on the drink.”
gasman n someone who is very funny. “Sure he’s a gasman, that one.”
Jacks n pl uncouth word meaning the toilet (and frankly, they’re going to be a while in there…) “I’m off to the jacks now.”
Yoke n another word for thing for example, “Where am I after putting the yoke for the garden?.”
Check out my Pinterest board for more on Irish slang and sayings (just not when the kids are around…)
Remember your roots
After all these years, my accent and where I’m from is still an integral part of my character and I wouldn’t change it.
Anthony Burgess wrote – “It’s always good to remember where you come from and celebrate it. To remember where you come from is part of where you’re going.”
Don’t mind me, I’m off to find my runners and play tag with the kids.