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Irish Languages & Slang

Learn about national languages and local lingo

In the Republic of Ireland, English and Irish are the main languages today.

The Gaelic-speaking Irish are bilingual, so you won’t need a language guidebook. You will, however, encounter many road signs along your journey in both English and Gaelic.

A few friendly Gaelic words you might encounter in the rural areas are fàilte (“welcome”) and slàinte (“cheers”).


You may notice that sometimes toilet signs are different! If you see “fir” it is for ladies and “mna” for gents.

There are specific slang words that you may not recognise while in Ireland, here are a few helpful “translations”:

  • Aye – yes
  • Naw – no
  • Craic – fun
  • Gaff - house
  • Grand – fine/great
  • Wee – small, little
  • Loo or the Jacks – a bathroom/WC
  • Chips – French fries
  • Crisps – potato chips (US-English)
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