Getting to Grips with the Galway Lingo

Do people speak Irish in Ireland? A not uncommon question from tourists seeking to visit the Emerald Isle.

Rest assured, English is our predominant language. Irish (or Gaelic) is still spoken in pockets along the west coast, namely the Gaeltacht region, which includes counties Donegal, Mayo, Galway and Kerry.

Visitors with some working knowledge of English who plan to visit Ireland – Galway, in particular – need not fear speaking with the natives. Understanding the local dialect, however, is another matter entirely!

We’re a friendly bunch though, and will do our best to make you feel welcome. There are some slang phrases that may pop up in the conversation with a Galwegian. We have highlighted some of the most common ones and decoded them so you can fit in like a local.

Grade – ‘I’ve no grade ‘til payday’ = I have no money until I get paid.
Wide – ‘Ye wide about this evenin’?’ = Do you know what’s happening tonight?
Score/Shift – ‘Did you score last night?’ or ‘Did you get the shift last night?’ = Did you have (romantic) relations with someone last night?
Gomey – ‘You absolute gomey!’ = You are an idiot!
Musha! – ‘Musha, look at that!’ = (shock) Look at that!
Gammy – ‘Those shoes are gammy lookin’’ = Those shoes are sub-par.
Lush – ‘We go for a lush?’ = Let’s go for a drink.
Tome – ‘Those trainers are tome’ = I think your trainers are cool.
Dry – ‘Don’t be dry!’ = Don’t be boring.
Loveen – How are ya Loveen!’ = How are you, dear?
Grand –  ‘The weather is grand!’ = The weather is good/ok.
Banjaxed – This guitar is banjaxed!’ = This guitar is broken.
The Jacks – I’m going to the jacks’ = I am going to the bathroom.
Kip – ‘This place is an absolute kip’ = This place is dirty/not nice.
Scran – This is a lovely bit of scran’ = This is a lovely bit of food.
Savage – This place is savage!’ = This place is really great!
Bog roll – ‘There is no more bog roll!’ = There is no more toilet paper.
Deadly – That’s deadly!’ – That is amazing.
Gowl – ‘You absolute gowl’ – You are an idiot.
Lashing – ‘It’s absolutely lashin’ outside’ – It is raining outside.
Sham – ‘How are ya sham’ = How are you, friend?
Sound – ‘That’s sound’ = That’s fine/ok/cool.
State – ‘Look at the state of that!’ = Look at how bad that is…

…and last but by no means least, one you may already be familiar with…

Craic –What’s the craic = How are you/What is happening?


Our tour bus drivers will share many more phrases from Galway and beyond, giving you an immersive experience of the sights and sounds of our island. Depending on your choice of tour, there will also be some exposure to Gaelic, especially in the Aran Islands.

Don’t forget to check out our full range of tours today!

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