My Love For Irish Culture and How I Incorporated It Into Ramble and Roar

Dundalk, Ireland. Picture taken by Jean Gilson.

In my upcoming novel, Ramble and Roar, I delve into Irish culture, everyday lingo, and grammatical placement in speech in order to bring my mobsters and my other Irish cast to life. It required a lot of research in order to immerse myself, and I loved every minute of it! Someday, I will tour Ireland and experience it all firsthand. But in the meantime, I made a friend who does in fact live in Dundalk, Ireland. Her name is Jean Gilson. She was born in Belfast (Northern Ireland) and later moved to Dundalk, a southern town in Ireland, with her husband. Dundalk is about an hour and half from Dublin, which is where many of my Irish mobsters emigrated from in Ramble and Roar.

Jean is an absolute doll. I wrote her on instagram to ask if she’d help me fact check my Irish bits in my novel. To my delighted surprise, she said, “yes.” It’s been a fun adventure ever since. Jean has read through several excerpts of my novel, offering advice and has given me lots of fun sayings and phrases, specific to the Dublin area and the 1920s.

Today, I’ll be sharing some of her tidbits with you!

The Craic- (pronounced ‘crack’) This is a vital word used in Ireland. It can mean “what’s the news” or “how’s the fun/ entertainment.”

A drugstore is called the Chemist.

Especially in earlier Irish culture, sentences tended to be carried on by using the word, ‘so’ at the end. For example, “Oh, you like her so.”

If you’re looking to add cream to your coffee, you’d actually say milk. Cream is reserved for special occasions like Christmas.

In words with “th” as in thank you, would in fact be said as “tank you.” 

“Deadly buzz” – a good time

“How ya” – a way to say hello

“Bleeding spanner” – a stupid person

“Go ask me bollix” – get lost

“C’mere till I tell ya” – I have news to share with you

“Not a bodder”– Doing good, a reply to how are you

“Pulling the devil by the tail” – having a bad day

“You scuttering hurebag” – again a dumb person

In grammar, Dubliners tend to use the “present continuous” (be doing) or habitual action “does be.”  It’s much more common in the countryside nowadays than in cities.

Examples:
I do be working every day.
It’s her I do be thinking of.
I done went to the Chemist.

Want to read more fun phrases and lingo? All right! My book, Ramble and Roar, will be coming out on May 22, 2018.

Thanks again to Jean for all her help.