Small guide to Irish expressions

All regions of the world have their language subtleties. Thus, if it's an English-speaking country, Ireland has, in addition to the usual English, its own everyday life's expressions. We have prepared a little lexicon of expressions to understand our Irish friends!


"What's the craic?"

This is certainly the most iconic Irish expression. Pronounced "What's the crac?", this sentence has multiple meanings. "What's up?", "How are you?"... It's even sometimes used to start a conversation. As you can see, there is no precise definition as its spectrum of uses is wide. Notice however that this Irish expression has an extremely positive connotation! The Gaelic word "craic" is used to express the sympathy that someone inspires you. And if an Irish tells you that you are a "cracker", it's that you are eye-catching!


"Sure look it!"

No doubt, if you are staying in Ireland, you will hear this sentence countless times. And for good reason: it's the favorite expression of the compliant Irish. "Sure look it" is the go-anywhere answer. Its real meaning, no one knows it. But if there is a moment in a discussion where you don't really know what to say without hurting your interlocutor, this expression is your way out!

For instance: "Isn't it a lovely dress I'm wearing?" "Sure, look it." Subtil.



This word is used by our Irish friends to say "very good". Often, it comes to replace the usual English term "very". Small subtlety: it's pronounced "queer"!


"For donkey years"

If we don't know the origin of the meaning of this expression, we know that it was born in Northern Ireland. "For donkey years" means "for a very long time". An expression that has even crossed the Irish borders since it's commonly used by the English!



This word is a must in the Irish lexicon. Mostly used by young people, the term "grand" is equivalent to "fine" or "good" in everyday English. So, "It's grand" means that it's good. The Irish also use "You are grand!" to tell someone that everything is fine.


Gaelic expressions have no secrets for you anymore. What a treat to your Irish interlocutors during your next stay in Ireland! Check out our internship programs in Dublin.

Small guide to Irish expressions