Top ten Irish sayings a Canadian won’t understand

‘Would you like to try some of this hand cream’, asked my lovely Canadian workmate.

‘Ahh sure go on, give us a lash of it’, I replied, sticking out my paw to try some of the aforementioned cream.

Cue ‘WTF’ expression on workmates face. Where exactly was I telling her to ‘go on’ to she pondered aloud while also wondering why in God’s name I fancied being ‘lashed’ with a bottle of beauty cream.

mrs doyle

After we got over the initial breakdown in communication, we launched into a deep discussion on other Irish-isms that leave our Canuck friends and colleagues scratching their head in confusion.

Some examples that cropped up included:

1. ‘Jesus I’d murder a rasher sandwich’ – expressing a deep desire or craving to eat a particular food, in this case a rasher. Explaining what a ‘rasher’s is results in a whole other conversation.

2. ‘Here dya fancy a few scoops’ – inviting an acquaintance to join you for an alcoholic beverage (generally a pint a.k.a. scoop of beer) in a drinking establishment of your choosing.

3. ‘Whisht, the aul doll is on the mobile’ – this is a triple threat and deserves careful explanation. A) ‘Whisht’ = please be quiet. B) ‘The aul doll’ = my darling mother. C) Mobile = cell phone.

4. ‘C’mere till I tell ya’ – requesting someone to come closer so you can impart valuable information

5. ‘Did you see the absolute state of your wan’ – criticizing the appearance or actions of another female.

6. ‘He’s a feckin mental bastard’ – Canadians should not be affronted if this title is bestowed upon them. In Ireland this is high praise indeed and generally tends to describe a guy or girl who is highly entertaining, great fun to be around and the life & soul of a party.

7. ‘He’s the anti-craic’ – Canadians SHOULD be affronted if this particular sentence is thrown their way. You NEVER want to be labelled the anti-craic, a.k.a boring, dull and wouldn’t know fun if it came up and slapped you across the head.

8.‘That one would give ire to Vaseline’ – warning an acquaintance that the woman or man in question is so irritating they could make anyone or anything break out in a rash.

9.‘Dya ever hear such a load of bollocks’ – declaring complete disbelief at what you just heard or read and dismissing it as a falsehood.

10.‘That’s a quare-lookin yoke’ – stating that the item you behold before your eyes is weird, strange or unusual looking.

Please let us know what other Irish sayings you use that your Canadian counterparts do not understand.



5 thoughts on “Top ten Irish sayings a Canadian won’t understand

  1. I’m a born and bred Edmontonian and I understood all of those! Granted, I have lived with my partner from Dublin for over 20 years and had many visits with Irish relatives so that may have helped! I do remember our first fight where she said, “Ah, would ya cop on to yerself!” After a few minutes of mental translations, I replied “I would if I knew what that meant!”. The argument ended there cause we both started laughing

  2. I liven in Vancouver for a year, and these all required explanation:
    ‘Ah sure it could happen a Bishop!’
    Question from colleague: ‘Hey, what did you get up to on your day off?’ My answer: ‘F**k all really.’ Many raised eyebrows.
    Or the standard Irish sarcastic response to a stupid question, e.g., ‘Really? You like working the morning shift?’ ‘Ya sure, I love it, always at my best at 5.30 in the morning.’
    ‘That fella wouldn’t work in a fit!’

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