Some Favorite Irish Phrases and Slang from Murder in an Irish Pub

by Carlene O’Connor

Originally published in Tea Time

I come from a long line of Irish storytellers. My great-grandmother emigrated from Ireland to America during the Troubles, and the stories have been flowing ever since. Of all the places I’ve wandered across the pond, I fell most in love with a walled town in County Limerick. That idyllic place inspired me to create the setting of my Irish Village Mystery Series, where Siobhán O’Sullivan investigates crimes, wrangles her five kooky siblings, and helps run her family’s local bistro in the small, close-knit town of Kilbane in County Cork, Ireland.

Ireland is full of colorful phrases and slang. Like all languages some phrases are particular to certain counties. Some are also used in the U.K. Here are a few of my favorites, which I first heard in Irish pubs and uttered by Irish friends, and now appear in The Irish Village Mystery Series.

In USA Today bestselling author Carlene O’Connor’s eighth Irish Village Mystery, the long-engaged garda of County Cork, Ireland, Siobhán O’Sullivan and Macdaras Flannery, are about to get married at last. But just as the rowdy O’Sullivan brood and all the regulars of the local bistro have gathered at the church, the nuptials come to an abrupt halt when the discovery of an unidentified skeleton puts the wedding on pause…

If only her mother could be here! The entire O’Sullivan brood—not to mention the regulars from Naomi’s Bistro—have gathered at St. Mary’s Church for the wedding of Siobhán and Macdara. It’s not every day you see two garda marrying each other. Only Siobhán’s brother James is missing. They can’t start without him.
But when James finally comes racing in, he’s covered in dirt and babbling he’s found a human skeleton in the old slurry pit at the farmhouse. What farmhouse? Macdara sheepishly admits he was saving it as a wedding surprise: he purchased an abandoned dairy farm. Duty calls, so the engaged garda decide to put the wedding on hold to investigate.
James leads them to a skeleton clothed in rags that resemble a tattered tuxedo. As an elderly neighbor approaches, she cries out that these must be the remains of her one true love who never showed up on their wedding day, fifty years ago. The garda have a cold case on their hands, which heats up the following day when a fresh corpse appears on top of the bridegroom’s bones. With a killer at large, they need to watch their backs—or the nearly wedded couple may be parted by death before they’ve even taken their vows. . .