Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A minefield of Irish Traditions and sayings

I’m a Yorkshire girl and proud of it, but I’ve lived in Dublin for almost 6 years. I love it here, it’s my home now and I don’t envisage moving anytime soon. And although I’m fairly well acclimatised to various ‘Irishisms” I do still encounter things that just baffle me.
This morning was a prime example. A friend sent a link through from ‘eDiplomat’, a website showing cultural etiquette for various countries. She shared the list for Dublin, much to amusement of us all. One point baffled me though; “The small plate next to a dinner plate is for peelings removed from boiled potatoes.
It made me smile at the time but then it sparked a whole conversation between myself and 3 friends. One from the country and 2 with country relatives.
The country friend stated that “’spuds’ are not the lovely prewashed clean version that we normally eat here in Dublin but rather a very muddy, fresh out of the ground kind of thing which are boiled to within an inch of their  lives and must be peeled before eating unless you require a significant quantity of roughage in your diet”
My response to this was “Well why not just wash them before cooking them?”. A logical enough question no?!
After much going round the houses and me just not getting the point, I learned that the potatoes in question didn’t really have edible skins and needed to be peeled before eating. But cooking them in the skins significantly added to the flavour, and there was no real point in washing them as you weren’t going to eat the skins anyway.
Having never a)encountered a potato with a skin that wasn’t really edible and b)been at a dinner where there were “actual lumps of mud (or very possibly sh*te)on the spuds” this entire concept was alien to me! But, I know now, and should I ever have cause to eat dinner in the Irish country and I’m presented with a side plate, I’ll know what it’s for!

This led me to think of all the little things that really baffled me when I first moved over here, but are now a part of my life, and still cause confusion with my UK dwelling friends and family.

“How are you/how you doing/how’s things?”:
Used as a greeting. Meant as a rhetorical question. It’s perfectly acceptable to answer this with “How you doing” back, without responding to the question asked. Or alternatively say “Grand, how you getting on”. But don’t expect much more of a response other than “Grand”.  I still struggle with this sometimes and go into detail as to how I am and the person’s just carried on walking”

Your man/Your one:
This really took me aback the first time I heard it. “Your man said that we had to go this way”. Who said what now? He’s not ‘my’ man, he’s just a dude we asked for directions. ‘Your one’ is the female equivalent. Fundamentally, it means “That man” or “That woman” in any of the following scenarios a)you don’t know them at all and are speaking in a derogatory term about someone you’ve encountered e.g “Your one on the checkout in Dunnes this morning had a right face on her” or b)it’s someone you know, but don’t like, or who has cause to capture your attention “Your one proper gave out to me in the meeting this morning” (see next paragraph for ‘give out’)
I use these terms frequently now, but I have to be careful when saying it to my UK family and friends as I’m generally met with blank looks.

Auld one/Auld man:
Your parents basically. “My auld one makes a cracking roast dinner”

Give out:
I use this a lot and it’s one of my stock phrases. It refers to having a go at someone, e.g “Alright alright, I didn’t mean any offence, no need to give out to me”

It doesn’t matter whether the group of people you’re addressing contains any females, it’s fine to address the group as “Lads”.  Not too dissimilar to saying “Guys” to address a group of people I suppose. But it sounds more masculine so confused me the first few times it was used.

Giving it socks:
Right then, you could hazard any number of guesses as to what this means. But in essence, it’s “Giving it some welly” “Really going for it”.
e.g.“She was giving it socks on the dancefloor”

Glass of Heineken:
A glass just refers to a half. So you wouldn’t order a half of Guinness really, you’d order a glass.

I still fall foul of this occasionally. Press is a cupboard/closet. A ‘Hot Press’ is an airing cupboard. “The teatowels are in the hot press”

I can’t quite get my head round this one. Delph is crockery basically. This came out in a conversation with some old work colleagues about 2 years ago and one mentioned the “Delph press”. Having never encountered either of these words before, I just looked at her blankly.

Will I put you in the pot?:
Although this has never been said to me, I came across it a few months back and didn’t have a clue what was going on. This would be used to mean “Will I make enough dinner for you?” and is in no way as cannibalistic as it sounds.

Take her handy:
A variation of ‘take it easy’. Again, the first time this was used, in a text to me actually, I replied asking what the hell he’d just said, much to his amusement.

A rather derogatory term for someone who’s from the country. Which, for people living in Dublin, is pretty much anyone outside Dublin!

Is as simple as it sounds. Refers to bacon. But rather than a bacon sandwich it’d be a “rasher sandwich”

I thought this was quite self explanatory but when I used it in a sentence with a UK friend he didn’t have a clue what I meant! A sambo is a sandwich.

A spring onion! (or a salad onion as the more politically correct version is)

I’m sure there are many more of these, and I’ll come across many more as my time here progresses, but these are the main ones that sprung to mind. I’m also fairly sure I confuse some people with the stuff I come out with, some real Yorkshire sayings, that mean nothing to your everyday Irish person!
Hope you’ve enjoyed your Irish cultural lesson, and for Irish out there reading this, hopefully this may highlight some of the stuff you do that is alien to other nationalities!

Take her handy!