Instead of explaining how to start a compost heap, my mind segues to some more typical, if idiosyncratic Irish expressions. After the “tirty-tree” nothing much surprised me. Just as well the Irish don’t go for putting suffixes after the names of their offspring much like here in the US, e.g. Jim Mahoney, III…
My piano teacher called Mozart a gas man. I had no idea what she was talking about: funny, hilarious, of course. Here in the US ‘gassy’ has entirely different connotations. In other words, Mozart was a character. A character is not just any character but a unique, rare, one of a kind individual. It doesn’t imply he isn’t the full shilling. But politeness mostly prevails and a mentally challenged person is just “innocent, God love him!”
Your ‘gaff’ is simply your abode. If his place was a ‘kip’, stay away (a dump). No gurriers in my neighborhood please! Kipping, however, is normal and allowed (napping).
Snogging is prevalent and also used in the UK, but unheard of in the US. Don’t overdo or you’ll feel knackered or banjaxed.
A blow-in could be somebody who moved in from far away like us, or just from across the other side of the bridge, as was the case in our town. There the bridge was the border between Co. Tipperary and Co. Clare.
One of the old diehards when a baby is born: “Is it a boy or is it a child?”
A well-endowed, top-heavy woman “has all on it”.
A Brit will understand what a woolly jumper is or a trolley. Nixing is a bit of work on the side, and not necessarily known to the taxman.
To call a person or something previous when they mean premature leads us in the area of malapropisms. Pity I loaned my priceless book on that topic to a friend and never got it back. It’s out of print, unfortunately. My housekeeper kept all her referees in a box under the bed.
It’s easy to go mental with all these exotic expressions, isn’t it? My all time favorite is the ‘eejit’. Met a few in my life. In contrast to idiot, it’s a term of endearment. Alas, not everybody outside Ireland understands that and may take offence. So now for you. There you have it in a nutshell.
I am skipping true slang phrases here. There is a book with more of these expressions if this whetted your appetite: The Feckin’ Book of Everything Irish. (The effing word is acceptable as long the vowel is changed).
I could go on and on…Let me finish with two quotes:
“This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever.” (Sigmund Freud about the Irish). Don’t you just love the Irish?
And: “Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no lies.” Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774)
Next week I'll start the compost heap; promised!