Survival Guide

In Ireland we can be a little bit confusing to say the least. If not Irish, you have to have your wits about you in order to survive the mayhem and confusion that may arise by saying the wrong thing 🙂 .

Here’s my pick of the most common words that Irish people use that totally confuse our international visitors.  If you have heard any others, then please feel free to share below.

Potato Chips!

What American’s and other international visitors call French Fries!


Not to be confused with a Wood Chipper, A Golf Club, Beanie Baby or Dog.   A chipper in Ireland refers to a fast-food restaurant/take-away that sells chips (French fries), fish, battered sausages and other fried foods. Mostly frequented after a night of gargle (alcohol). 

Light Beer
Having worked behind a bar, albeit some time ago, I often saw confusion with Irish Bar Staff when asked for a light beer.  Not being as familiar with non-alcoholic, or low-alcoholic drinks, Light Beer was often mistaken to mean a Lager Beer, as it is pale/light in colour, as opposed to Guinness/Stout which is black, and ales which are dark in colour.  I am sure times have changed, yet it may be wise to err on the side of caution when ordering a light beer, and state Low/No Alcohol.

This one seems like Irish logic to me. What do you do when you put on your sports shoes?…You run!  Therefore, your sneakers (why the heck they’re called Sneakers is baffling) shall be known as runners.

Again this seems totally logical to the Irish mind. The hotpress is the airing cupboard where you might store sheets and towels next to the boiler. So therefore it is a press (cupboard) which is hot. 😉 

To use this in a sentence it would be “Do you know the yoke you use to make coffee with.” See, it’s simple. We Irish can appear to be noun deficient and have many words that can be used to replace nouns. For example “Where did I put that thingamabob.” 😉 not stupid but Creative 😉 

No, this is not someone who has hurled themselves off a building, nor someone who can teleport, like Hayden Christensen in the 2008 film of the same name.  It’s simply a sweater, not to be confused by a jumpsuit.

Path / Footpath
Americans call it a sidewalk, but in Ireland it’s called a footpath. This is quite simply a path for your feet.

Not the variety of shoes that go on our feet. A boot is the trunk of your car. The place where your spare tire, groceries and other bulky items go. A common command as an Irish child was to “pop the boot.”

In Ireland, a ride usually can mean one of a few things.  Firstly, ‘A Ride’ (noun) refers to an attractive person, male or female. Secondly, asking for, or offering someone ‘A Ride’ (verb) is not advised.  It is not when you offer to drive your friend to the shop! For that you might ask for a “Lift.”

In America one might say Elevator, however, here in Ireland we like to call them Lifts. Alternatively, a lift may be as above: driving someone somewhere.

Perhaps referring to taxidermy, when an Irish person says they are ‘stuffed’ it means they have had their fill of food.

Simply put, a fortnight is a time period of Two Weeks.