Overheard on the Streets of Cork

Students jumping for joy at the University College Cork (UCC) campus


You may think that students who study in Cork don’t have to deal with a language barrier, but you would be mistaken.  The Irish do speak English, of course, but they have their own phrases and sayings that make their dialect unique.   Here are just a few examples of some terms that former students have overheard in the Irish streets, and their translations into American English.


  • Grand is used like we say great—as in, “That concert was grand, wasn’t it?”
  • The Irish use “lads” the same way we use “guys” (or “y’all” in certain parts of the country).  It’s a general term for everyone, even when directed solely at girls.
  • Wellies are rainboots
  • Americans are Yanks (no matter which part you’re from)
  • The term foxy is used to describe redheads—although it may not be used all that much in Ireland, because contrary to popular belief, not every Irishman has red hair!
  • “Craic” (pronounced “crack”) is a term that means “fun,” so asking “What’s the craic?” is akin to asking “What’s going on/what’s the latest news?”
  • Calling someone “savage as a cabbage” means that you think they are attractive!
  • “Yer man” or “yer woman” is used when referring to a specific person in a conversation, but it doesn’t necessarily mean a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • “Mi daza” (pronounced mee-da-zah) means excellent, fantastic
  • Even the time of day is stated differently.  For example, instead of saying “four-thirty,” an Irish person would likely say “half four.”  Isn’t it funny how something so simple can become so different?


On an excursion to the Aran Islands!















What will you discover when you study in Cork?



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  1. Absolutely true – it took us a while to catch on to their popular phrases. “Ye enjoy the craic!” was my favorite, followed by “Slainte!” at the pubs. Just one of the many aspects of the culture that I fell in love with (sports, pride for their region, etc.)… Amazing!

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