I live near an area in Dublin called Ringsend. A slightly unusual name obviously, but for someone reason I only thought today about how the name doesn’t really make any sense whatsoever.

How can a ring have an end? The whole point of rings is that they don’t have an end. So where does Ringsend come from then? Continue reading

A Bit of a Do

I’ll be getting ready for my office Christmas party soon.

And by getting ready I mean probably changing my clothes.

it reminded me of a now probably old-fashioned Irishism, which is to refer to any kind of social gathering on a larger scale and more  than simply going to the pub as a do.

Sorry, I can’t go out tonight, we’re having our work Christmas do.

We’re having a bit of a do next week, if you want to come.

I’ve been invited to the mass, but I won’t be able to make it, so I’m just going to the evening do. Were you at their engagement do? Continue reading

How do You be Doing?

When does English sound like jazz?

When you’re Irish.

When I was a younger man I thought nothing of talking about my habits and routines in such terms:

I do be going to the park regularly.

I do be often working on Saturdays. 

If I were to translate that into more standard English, it would be:

I go to the park regularly.

I often work on Saturdays.

These latter sentences are in the present simple tense, which we use to talk about routines, habits, and general truths. So why would I choose a more convoluted form instead of something more… simple? Well, you can’t change where you’re born. Such a structure (I do be +-ing), while not so common anymore, was a common part of Irish English (or Hiberno-English). Continue reading

Rain, Rain, Go Away

This was the view from my bus seat at about 7pm last night, somewhere in the midlands of Ireland. It’s not an uncommon sight in Ireland, especially here in the west. What’s always seemed strange to me is that we appear to be surprised when it rains here, even though it happens most of the year round (and I include myself in that we). Any morning when I wake up and see it’s raining I’m disappointed, even if it’s been raining for five or six days in a row. Maybe it’s that morning optimism that makes me hope it might be nice!

Regardless of whether we’re surprised or not, we do like to talk about the weather, but I suppose that’s pretty universal. It’s a useful topic for small talk with someone we don’t know: it’s never controversial and it’s easy to talk about. Continue reading

No Swearing

What the frak!?

He’s also Irish, which again, weirdly, a plus point, if you like swearing. He’s often on his show: Feckin’ dis and Feckin’ dat. Some Irish people say Feck off isn’t as bad as F*ck off, but I think that’s b*llsh*t.
Or bellsh*t.Alan Partridge

She fuppin’ would too, and so would I you fuppin backsterd!!

English is of course not without a healthy number of swearwords. Though I personally try to avoid using some of the worse ones, I do appreciate the power they have to emphasise a point when used appropriately.

Continue reading