Translating Irishisms

IT’S been 10 years since I first came to Ireland, and six since I moved here permanently, but I still shake my head at the odd drizzle of Irishness.

This is particularly true when it comes to words and I’m now fairly good at definitively translating Irishisms. Stuff like ‘craic’, ‘your one’, and ‘go away will ya’, are easy enough for us foreigners to pick up, but there are four words and phrases below that I suppose I’m still confused by:

  1. Can I have a glass?

    When ordering beer or cider in Blighty, it’s either a pint or a half pint. In Ireland, it’s a pint, or a glass. Tis a bit baffling as to how it came about when half a pint is a damn fine description for, well, half a pint.

  2. How long are you here?

    This question appears to be able to go two ways, it’s like a riddle, and takes far too much effort to answer. The code is that it is only ever missing a ‘have you been’, not a ‘going to be’.

  3. Pudding

    Apparently pudding is not a universal alternative word for dessert. Widely used in Britain as such, in Ireland it just gets you blank stares – sometimes followed by smarty pants saying: ‘a pudding is not dessert, it IS a dessert.’ Whatevs. Bit upset about this one.

  4.  Having a lie-on

    In London we lie-in, in Londonderry they lie-on (I think, or maybe this hasn’t reached that far north?). Anyway, definitely down south they lie-on, instead of lie-in, on Sundays, and probably other days too.

If you’re also English and don’t have a clue what’s going on, let me know. Thinking of starting an Irish-English translation service for newcomers to this green land.

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