10 (more) words you really need to know before you study English in Ireland

Such was the popularity of last week’s blog that we thought we’d bring you some more words that you really need to know before  you study English in Ireland. Ireland is no different from every other English-speaking country in the world in that it has its own version of English called Hiberno-English. Don’t worry, it is not hugely different from the so-called standard but there are some words it might be worth knowing before you come to study with us at City Language School Dublin. Here are just a few.

After – This is probably one of the strangest and in fact only dramatically different grammar structures that you are likely to hear when you come to study English in Ireland. It comes directly from Irish grammar structures.

In Irish there is no Present Perfect or Past Perfect. Instead Irish uses the verb to be + after + verb in the infinitive (Irish is very complicated by the way)

Táim tar eis mo dhinnear a ithe = I am after my dinner eat

After a few jigs and rearranging this becomes the Hiberno English expression…

I’m after having me dinner.

In Standard English that would be…

I have just had my dinner

It’s crazy but it’s true. It is still quite common to hear this in Ireland but don’t worry it is not something that you are expected to learn and it doesn’t mean we don’t have the present perfect or the past perfect in Ireland. We do.  


Most people who are familiar with Standard English will recognise this word as another word for employer or the person you work for but in Ireland we use it to mean friend. It’s a little bit like Hey buddy (USA) or Hey man (USA) or G’day mate (Australia).

Here we say…

Story boss?
How are you boss?
Alright boss?

…which in both cases just means Hello my friend, are you well?

Clatter (noun/verb)

This is a very common word in Dublin and means to hit someone hard.

‘I clattered him’ or ‘I gave him a good clatter’

Clatter can also be used for car crashes.

“I clattered into his car”

Clatter (noun)

Yep it’s the same word but in this case it means a large amount.

He made a clatter of money out of the business = He made lots of money out of the business

Dosser (noun)

A lazy or disinterested person who sometimes likes to distract other people with stupid actions. It is a word that is used in schools quite often to describe schoolboys who can’t concentrate and constantly try to make jokes. It can also describe people who don’t pull their weight/do their job properly or in a lazy fashion.

That lad is a total dosser. He just sits on his backside all day.

Easy (adj)
These adjectives are used in Hiberno-English to mean ’I don’t mind’.

I’m easy. I will do whatever anyone else wants.

You can expect to hear this a lot in Ireland as we try to outdo each other in politeness.

Gob – mouth

This is another word that comes from Irish. The gob in Irish is a bird’s beak but in English slang it is a mouth.

Shut your gob! is quite a common phrase.

Sound (adj)

Not too sure that this one is restricted to Ireland but it is certainly used here a lot is a way of saying OK.

“I’ll call you tomorrow!” “Sound!”

You can also use it to describe a person who is nice and often reliable.

He’s sound. He won’t let you down.

Culchie (noun)

This describes a person who lives or comes from the countryside. Depending on how it is used, it can be badge of honour or a slur. Either way it is very common and you can expect to hear it while you’re here learning English


Sure can be used for emphasis or to show that something is obvious or the speaker finds something to be indignant about.

Ah I’m not going back there again. Sure, I was only there the other day”

“Let’s go tomorrow sure.” (instead of today because it’s too much hassle)

Hassle (noun/verb)

A very common word in Ireland used instead of problem or problems. As a verb it’s great because it covers the expressions ‘to cause problems’, ‘to disturb you’, ‘to bother you’ and many more.

“I’ll change the booking for tomorrow. That’s no hassle.”

“Sorry to hassle you, but could you get me some water.”

“Let’s leave before the traffic gets heavy. Saves hassle.”

Your Language School in Dublin City Centre

City Language School is right in the heart of Dublin City Centre. Dublin is the proud and vibrant capital of Ireland and with its cosmopolitan and modern feel, it has repeatedly been voted Europe’s friendliest city by Trip Advisor. Dublin boasts strong links with literature, music, dance and storytelling. As you walk through the streets of Temple Bar, you can absorb the musical tradition which spills onto the streets from the many bars and restaurants; truly a city of enormous beauty! Dublin is surrounded by breath-taking natural scenery that will leave you with lifelong memories. It is perfectly located on the eastern coastline of Ireland and is a convenient gateway to the rest of Europe.
We are conveniently located in the heart of Dublin on Dame Street, giving you easy access to the whole city of Dublin as well as bus and tram lines for you to get around.

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