Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Since my husband, Matt, is Irish, I thought it appropriate for him to share a bit about St. Patrick’s Day. Learn about St. Patrick’s Day, Irish slang, and the Irish language from a true Irishman, my husband Matt, below. Thanks Matt for contributing to my blog! 🙂

Content Below Written by Matthew Gallagher

Happy St. Paddy’s Day everybody!

If you’re American you might be surprised to see it written as ‘Paddy’ instead of ‘Patty’, but rest assured in Ireland it’s always St. Paddy’s day. The shortened version of Patrick is Paddy (almost everyone has an Uncle Paddy in their family), so the holiday celebrating our Patron saint, who brought Christianity to Ireland in the 5th Century and according to legend banished the snakes from the island, is affectionately shortened to St. Paddy’s day. In America however, Patty seems to have been adopted as the shortened form, much to the bemusement of the visiting Irish since Patty is generally regarded as a girls name.

But in truth there are many differences between how St. Patrick’s day is celebrated in Ireland compared to the US, even though the St. Patrick’s Day festival as we now know it now, owes a lot to the celebrations of Irish-Americans in their adopted cities.
For example the well known tradition of eating corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s day is entirely an (Irish) American tradition.  This is most likely due to the Irish emigrants living near Jewish neighborhoods when they first settled into their new cities around the 19th century. Others might have had a different experience growing up in Ireland but I remember we were likely to have peas, potatoes and carrots with a roast chicken or lamb for our St. Patrick’s day dinner, followed by  ice-cream with green and yellow jello! 🙂

Another tradition that I learned about the hard way was getting pinched for not wearing green! I remember the shock on Grace’s face when I explained that I’d never heard of this tradition before, and it certainly wasn’t Irish! Of course we do wear green on St. Patrick’s day in Ireland, as you can see from this image from Dublin City Centre from a few hours ago, but not wearing green isn’t punished with a pinch! 🙂

As you can probably tell, the St. Patrick’s day celebrations in Ireland are a big deal! While everyone gets the day off for the national holiday (it’s like our 4th of July), there is actually a week of festivities, with lots of events throughout the week like céilí dances, fireworks displays and of course the big parades! If you ever decide to visit to experience it for yourself you may need some help with the Irish slang though. Here’s a few words and phrases to help you celebrate!

Craic = Fun

‘Craic’ means good fun. The Irish are known for ‘having the craic’ and if you go out to enjoy celebrating tonight, you might say in the morning that ‘it was a bit of craic’ or that ‘the craic was mighty’.

Scoops/Jars = Pints of Beer

Having the craic doesn’t necessarily mean drinking, but you might receive an invite to ‘have a jar’, or ‘have a few scoops’ or even ‘go for a few quiet ones’  to celebrate.

Go Away Out Of That = I don’t believe you/You’re messing with me

If while celebrating you find yourself explaining the pinching tradition to an Irish person, they may tell you to ‘Go away out of that!’, meaning they don’t believe that’s a thing!

Gas = Funny
After explaining the pinching tradition they might say ‘That’s gas altogether’ meaning it’s strange and funny!

Sláinte = Cheers!
Of course you’ll need to know how to offer a toast, and the traditional way is to say ‘Sláinte’ (slawn-cha) which is the Irish word for ‘Your Health’

Many people are surprised to find that Irish is an actual language. It’s usually referred to as Gaelic in the US, but more correctly called Gaeilge (gway-el-ga) in the language itself. Although most people in Ireland speak English as their first language, Irish is still widely spoken throughout the country, with some areas known as the Gaeltacht (gway-el-tockt) where Irish is the primary language spoken still.

Here’s a few simple Irish words and phrases!

Dia Dhuit (Jee-ya gwitch) = Hello

Slán (slawn) = Goodbye

Sláinte (slawncha) = Cheers/Your Health

Céad Míle Fáilte (kayd meela fawl-cha) = One Hundred Thousand Welcomes!

Go Raibh Maith Agat (Guh rev moh ah-guth) = Thank you!

Finally I’d like to wish you all a Happy St. Patrick’s day in Irish, so enjoy the rest of your day and ‘Beannachtaí Lá Fhéile Padraig oraibh go léir’ (Ban-ock-tea law ay-la Paw-drig ur-iv guh lair)


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