THE IRISH WAY with words is a complex one. We all know that our conversational tone has been hit with the Hiberno-English brush where the construction of sentences comes more from the Gaeilge tradition than an English grammar book. (“I’m after eating my dinner”; “Is that yourself there?”)
Or where whole phrases that otherwise make no sense at all, make perfect sense to an Irish person. (“Stop the lights!” – from Irish 1970s gameshow Quicksilver; “Sure, you know yourself”)
And then there are those words we have for everyday items that just don’t translate abroad at all. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they come originally from Irish language words. But in much the same way as we all used to collapse as kids at discovering that Americans called bum bags, ‘fanny packs’, there are some nouns that are truly singular to Hiberno-English.
Just try using them on your holiers this year: