Embracing the Enchantment of Irish Idioms: A Journey into the Heart of Expressive Language

The Irish culture is known for its rich heritage of storytelling and expressive language, and their idioms are no exception. Irish idioms in English not only captivate with their unique phrases but also provide a glimpse into the heart and soul of the Irish people. These idioms are infused with charm, wit, and a touch of folklore that make them truly special. In this article, we will embark on a delightful exploration of eight fascinating Irish idioms, along with their meanings, examples, and interesting quotes from celebrities. Join us on this journey into the enchanting world of Irish idioms and discover the magic of expressive language.

List of Irish Idioms:

  1. "Sure, begorrah!"
  2. "Wearing the green"
  3. "Throwing shapes"
  4. "Singing off the same hymn sheet"
  5. "A face like a slapped arse"
  6. "Tús maith, leath na hoibre"
  7. "Away with the fairies"
  8. "As happy as Larry"

Meaning & Examples:

"Sure, begorrah!":

Meaning: An expression of surprise, delight, or agreement.

Example: "Sure, begorrah! You made it to the top of the hill faster than I expected!"

"Wearing the green":

Meaning: To show support or loyalty to Ireland, often related to Irish patriotism.

Example: On St. Patrick's Day, everyone in the parade was wearing the green.

"Throwing shapes":

Meaning: To dance energetically, often in a wild or exaggerated manner.

Example: At the ceilidh, they were all throwing shapes on the dance floor.

"Singing off the same hymn sheet":

Meaning: To have the same opinions or ideas as others in a group.

Example: During the meeting, the team members were all singing off the same hymn sheet, supporting the new project.

"A face like a slapped arse":

Meaning: A sour or displeased expression on someone's face.

Example: After receiving the bad news, he had a face like a slapped arse all day.

"Tús maith, leath na hoibre":

Meaning: A good start is half the work (literally, a good beginning is half the work).

Example: She finished her part of the project quickly, knowing that a good start is half the work.

"Away with the fairies":

Meaning: To be lost in thought or daydreaming.

Example: During the lecture, I noticed that she was away with the fairies, not paying attention.

"As happy as Larry":

Meaning: To be extremely happy and content.

Example: After receiving the promotion, he was as happy as Larry.


  • Irish idioms often reflect the Irish sense of humor, storytelling, and their close connection to nature and folklore.
  • Some Irish idioms may have regional variations or slightly different meanings based on context.

Questions and Answers:

Q: Are these Irish idioms commonly used outside of Ireland?

A: Yes, many Irish idioms have become popular worldwide, especially in countries with a significant Irish diaspora or those celebrating Irish culture, like during St. Patrick's Day festivities.

Q: Do these idioms have historical or cultural significance in Ireland?

A: Absolutely! Irish idioms often draw from Ireland's cultural, historical, and natural landscapes, reflecting the Irish way of life, beliefs, and traditions. They provide a glimpse into the unique spirit of the Irish people.

Interesting Quotes:

"The Irish language, even more than the music, is the one thing that is absolutely and uniquely Irish." - Moya Brennan

"Being Irish is very much a part of who I am. I take it everywhere with me." - Colin Farrell


Irish idioms add a touch of Irish charm and wit to the English language, showcasing the essence of Irish culture and storytelling. These expressive phrases have the power to connect people and evoke smiles, laughter, and a sense of wonder. As we explore the world of Irish idioms, let's embrace the richness of language and the cultural heritage they represent. Whether you're singing off the same hymn sheet or away with the fairies, let the magic of Irish idioms add a touch of whimsy and delight to your conversations. Sláinte!

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