How To Speak Norn Iron – Part Uno

I’ve been meaning to do this one for a while for a bit o’ fun! How to decipher the gobbledygook that is lovely Northern Irish slang!

The French are poetic, the Italians are romantic, the Germans are frightening and the Northern Irish have a whimsical accent that hits the ear like a brick to the side of the head.

Obviously, here on the Big Green Rock we have a ton of different accents and vernaculars, my personal favourite is Cork. Are they angry? Happy? Have they fallen down a well and want Lassie to come save them? Who the hell knows since no one can understand them, but they do speak in a lovely sing song way!

As you well know am a compulsive list-maker, so this gives me a chance to indulge in my not-so-secret delight. How people live without lists I will never know, if you haven’t got a notepad and pen in every room, I’m sorry but you’re a monster and I totally misjudged you. *slides you shifty sideways glance* I shall now shut the hell up and get on with it!

Leprechaun land.


An Irish Procrastinators List To Speaking Norn Iron (Part 1)

  1. Norn Iron: Northern Ireland (dur…)
  2. Craic: (sure I couldn’t leave this one out!) It has a load of different meanings!

What’s the craic?: How are you? How was the holiday? Does she fancy ya or wha? What’s happening?

What’s the craic?!: What the eff? You just elbowed my pint and now I’m wearing it!

The craic was mighty!: It was a blast! Sure didn’t we end up plastered and woke up on a boat with 6 sea lions and a Slovakian called Bob but sure the craic was mighty!

She’s great craic: Give her a couple of pints and she’ll soon be dancing on the tables.

I’ve no craic: I just lost my job, my marriage went bust, the kids hate me and I slipped on a banana peel…but I don’t wanna talk about it.

It goes on and on…

3. Wind your neck in: Calm down. “He’s off on one again I wish he’d wind his bloody neck in!”

4. Scunderred: Embarrassed. “Sure I missed the seat on the bus and landed on the floor – pure scunderred!” (yep, it happened to me)

5. Bake: Face. “Well you can wipe that look off your bake cos you’ll be goin nowhere tonight!”

6. Baltic: Freezing. “We couldn’t get a taxi last night and sure it was pure baltic and I near froze!”

7. Mucker: Friend. “Ach I love that wee fella up the street, he’s my wee mucker.”

8. Dead on: Ok then (useful if you want to be sarcastic) “You want me to loan you a score? Aye dead on! Sure you still owe me a tenner from last week.” or “Be there at 6? Dead on sure see you then.”

9. Buck eejit: Friendly way of calling someone an idiot. “Sure she walked clean into a glass door. That wee girl’s a buck eejit!”

10. Banjaxed: Broken. Or drunk. “Managed to wrap my bike round a lamppost and now the front wheel’s banjaxed” or “Jesus my head’s banging I was absolutely banjaxed last night!”

I’ll leave it there for today and think of a few new ones. It’s pub o’clock and I’ve only a few hours before they shut early. Damn this country and their religious ways!

Funny story actually, me and my mum went to Dublin a few years ago. We were looking forward to it for yonks and got down all bizzed and hit the pub. About an hour later the lights came on. Sure wasn’t it Good Friday and both of us plonkers forgot? Ended up back in the room with a couple of bottles of plonk. (Ha ha, we may be calendar-illiterate eejits but we always have booze!)

Happy Friday all…have a good one!


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An Irish Procrastinator

Penitent. Irish. Faffer.

23 thoughts on “How To Speak Norn Iron – Part Uno”

  1. Oh, I love this list! Seems like “craic” has almost as many uses as “canny” in the North East (which is different to Scottish cannae – that just means can’t. Boring 😉 ) My dad uses craic, wind your neck in, baltic, eejit (without the “buck) and banjaxed all the time, but I’m not sure whether he picked them up when we were in Northern Ireland, from the army (with army people coming from all over, so do their expressions) or he just knew them anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. [I’ve only just worked out how to comment on this one (the site looks different every time??) – I shan’t ask the obvious question as I know the answer.] Essential reading, I shall print it off and take it with me if we ever do get to Bangor this year, I am much obliged to you. I’m sure with a bit of ingenuity I’ll manage to work in some choice phrases, but as I’ve only seen my old friend a couple of times in the last 20 years it may cause a few raised eyebrows. As you are clearly a linguist, have you watched Michael Portillo’s train journeys through India on TV? He quoted some helpful Indian phrases from his copy of the old Baedecker’s (?) guide, for the Victorians to use when travelling through the country. I can’t remember them, but they were so very non-PC, they were a real scream. It was in the latest episode, on BBC 1 or 2 if you want a laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll definitely look it up (I have the oul TiVo now so the viewing world is my oyster!) But sure Bangoria have their own slang, think I might be a bit rough around the edges for those North Down types! If you ever decide to make it this far you must let me know!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Ha ha! I had actually been married for a few years before I realised that it wasn’t just my husband being a bit nutty, as a family member mentioned sweeping brushes too! I still find the term hilarious, but I have grown very fond of it 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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