Happy St. Patrick’s Day! As an Irish-American, I’d like to take a moment to share some of my favorite Irish memories (I hope you’ll share yours in the comments), as well as offer up some must-reads set in Ireland, help you figure out how to pronounce those difficult Irish names, and teach you a bit of slang. Before I do any of that, I’d like to remind you that it’s St. PADDY’s Day, not St. Patty’s Day! Also, FOUR-leaf clovers are for good luck, while THREE-leaf clovers represent the Catholic Trinity. Be forewarned that you will likely find me educating random social media users about these two important things tomorrow. Without further ado, here come the lists (if you make it to the end, you can listen to my favorite Flogging Molly song)!
- My Irish Gramma – Not only did she wake me up singing and dancing to Irish jigs, she enjoyed the one Flogging Molly song I played her and was a big fan of singing Amazing Grace and When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.
- Boston – My family is an Irish-Catholic family raised in-and-around Boston (except me, I grew up in Florida), so maintaining that sense of identity is, not surprisingly, pretty important. Because Boston and Irish go together like ham and cheese, I’m lucky that I’m able to stay rooted. Like a potato.
- Shortbread cookies – I’m not sure if the Girl Scouts still make them, but years ago they had some delicious ones. I’m not a cook, so because I rely on others to supply these delicious cookies, I am expecting someone to mail me a few.
- Pinching people – I know, this one sounds pretty mean, but one of my favorite things when I was a kid was pinching people who didn’t wear green.
- Bagpipes – Although not strictly Irish (and oftentimes Scottish), I associate them with Ireland. Chances are, if bagpipes are playing, I will cry. If they are playing Amazing Grace, I will be reduced to sobs. Unless it’s the Flogging Molly (bottom of post).
- Rainbows – Also not strictly Irish, I associate rainbows with good luck and the pot of gold at the end of the tunnel. Whenever I see a rainbow, something good happens, which means that when I see one, I assume my next decision will also be a good one. So far it hasn’t steered me wrong!
- Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
- Any book written by Maeve Binchy
- Her final book will be released next month
- A Drinking Life: A Memoir by Pete Hamill
- Irish Trilogy (Jewels of the Sun) by Nora Roberts
- P.S. I Love You by Cecilia Ahren
- Paddy’s Lament: Ireland 1846-1847: Prelude to Hatred by Thomas Gallagher
- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James
How to Pronounce Common Irish Names
- Aisling – Pronounced ASH-ling
- Aoife – Pronounced EE-fa
- Ciara – Pronounced Kee-uh-ra or Kee-air-a (notice the K sound, rather than the C)
- Daimhín – Pronounced DA-veen
- Eoghan – Pronounced O-in (same as Owen)
- Lughaidh – Pronounced LOU-ee
- Maeleachlainn – Pronounced mal-LACH-lan
- Niamh – Pronounced NEEV
- Seamus – Pronounced SHAY-muss
- Searc – Pronounced Shark
- Sléibhín – Pronounced – SHLAY-veen
- Síla – Shee-la (Sheila)
Common Slang Terms
- Bad Dose – To have a severe illness
- Kip – Either a place that’s a dump -or- a nap
- Knackered – Tired or exhausted
- Mot – A girlfriend
- Not the full shilling – Not entirely sane (think: not the brightest crayon in the box)
- Rugger Bugger – A posh, loud, rugby-lover
- Slag – Either a prostitute – or – a term used to make fun of someone in a ‘nicer’ way
- Throw shapes – To show off, oftentimes in an aggressive manner
- For terms of endearment, click here.