How to sound Irish on St. Paddy’s Day

****Please note the correction to the blog title. I have been duly notified that I’ve made St. Paddy into a burger. A very special thank you to Donal Walsh for sending me the tweet. I’ll not be making that mistake again. 🙂

To learn more about the Its Paddy not Patty Irish clamp down, click here. ****

Now back to the original blog…

Everyone claims to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s tradition.

Whether you have an ancestorial blood claim or you’re pretending, here are some Irish sayings you might use to impress friends and family.

Should you be challenged, there’s a brief explanation of the origins to help you out.

What’s the craic? Any craic? or How’s the craic?

It’s basically a greeting like we say in the states “How are you?” Sadly, since the spoken word sounds like “crack,” using the phrases can lead to misunderstanding. Be careful!

A typical Irish response would be “divil a bit,” which means “not much.”

Story horse?

A shortened version of “What’s the story, horse?” It’s how you ask someone what’s up. In response, an Irishman is likely to dive deeply into what’s been going on in life with a witty, long-winded tale.

Acting the maggot.

If someone is acting like a fool – messing around, being obnoxious, paying more attention to their phone than you – compare them to the wriggly white worm and they’ll get the message.

Look at the state o’you!

Heard around inner Dublin, it means you question a person’s attire, personal hygiene, intoxication level, or general demeanor. If it’s a drinking companion who is overly inebriated, he’s said to be in a “bleedin’ state” or “wrecked.”

I’m on me tod.

Means you’re on your own, alone at the bar or party, or in general.

The phrase comes from the story of Tod Sloan, an American jockey whose mother died when he was young and his father abandoned him. Tod moved to the U.K. and was ridiculed for his Western riding style which ultimately ended his incredibly successful horse-racing career. After that, Sloan was always said to be “on his own.”

It’s an example of Cockney rhyming slang. The phrase construction involves taking a common word and using a rhyming phrase of two or three words to replace it. “On my Tod Sloan” rhymes with “on my own”; but in Cockney fashion, the word that completes the rhyme (“Sloan”) is omitted.

And lastly, my favorite…

Sláinte!

An Irish toast to use as you clink your glasses of Guinness. Sláinte (pronounced “slaan-sha”) literally translates as “health” and is a shortened version of “I drink to your health!”

2 Comments on “How to sound Irish on St. Paddy’s Day

  1. Thanks for the lesson in Irish. I must be the only living American who cannot claim even a drop of Irish blood, but I’m fascinated with the culture and adore the people. Someday I plan to go there and spend a gloriously long vacation riding their horses and listening to their stories.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *