Speak Up

10 things you should never say to an Irish woman

Posted by
Sarah Breen and Emer McLysaght
Published

It just doesn’t get funnier than a massive, sweeping, negative stereotype, does it?

Ever wondered what not to say to our friends from the Emerald Isle? Do not despair: Sarah Breen and Emer McLysaght have got you covered.

1) Is your top from Primark?

Firstly, how dare you. Secondly, sort of. Primark, as it’s known in the UK, is actually the international name for our beloved Penneys. The Irish store became known as Primark when it expanded into the UK in the early 1970s, but it’s still Penneys to us. YOU’RE WELCOME! We’d be lost without it too.

2) Say thirty three and a third

We geddit, we geddit, our Irish brogue sounds funny to you. However, it’s frequently voted sexiest accent in the world so we’re not actually complaining.

3) Can you set me up with Domhnall Gleeson/Cllian Murphy/Colin Farrell?

Listen, if we had access to Domhnall/Cillian/Colin do you think we’d be here? No, we certainly would not. We’d be otherwise occupied.

4) Do Riverdance!

As much fun as Riverdance (or just “Irish dancing” as it’s actually known) looks, we weren’t all born with Michael Flatley’s pneumatic hips and heaving chest. Although, after a couple of glasses of chardonnay …

5) I bet you like a drink! Ha!

HA! Yes, Irish people love to drink. It’s true. All Irish people. Even children. Babies with pints! It just doesn’t get funnier than a massive, sweeping, negative stereotype, does it?

6) My mate from uni’s girlfriend is Irish. Sinéad Whelan. Do you know her?

It’s a small island, we acknowledge this, but the Irish population is pushing 5 million these days. We’re very sophisticated and cosmopolitan! All that really differentiates Dublin and London is Pret A Manger, which has yet to make it across the pond. Now, can you describe her? She does sound a bit familiar …

7) Guinness is rank

Okay, hear us out. It’s true that your first ever mouthful of Guinness will go down like a lead balloon but the nation’s favourite tipple is absolutely a grower. In fact, there’s nothing like a pint of the black stuff in front of an open turf fire on a cold day. The pour must be done just right though, so your best bet is to wait until you get here to try it.

8) Are you from Northern Ireland or Southern Ireland?

There’s actually no such thing as Southern Ireland, hun. While the six counties of Northern Ireland are part of the UK, the other 26 are collectively known as the Republic of Ireland. There was quite a bit of hooha about the formation of the State around 1916. The film Michael Collins, starring Liam Neeson in his ridey heyday, is worth a watch and explains it all.

Check out the trailer below:

9) I’ll never be able to pronounce your name

You’re probably right about that. From Dearbhla (Dervla) to Caoilfhionn (Keelin), Niamh (Neav) to Grainne (Grawnya), traditional Irish names are wall-to-wall consonants and look highly intimidating. But just ask! We’d be only delighted to help you. And if you ever come face to face with our beloved Saoirse, just remember it rhymes with inertia.

10) Goodbye!

When someone ducks out of a party without telling anyone, Americans call it an “Irish goodbye.” But a real Irish goodbye couldn’t be more different, particularly if we’re on the phone. So while you might say simply “goodbye” like a normal person, we’ll say byebyebyebyebyebye byebyebyebye until you eventually hang up. We don’t know why we do it, but we refuse to stop now.

Sarah Breen and Emer McLysaght are the authors of Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling, which is published by Michael Joseph. 

For one day only on Monday 13 August, Laura Whitmore has taken over stylist.co.uk and transformed it into her very own Speak Up platform – a digital initiative which aims to shine a light on the day’s most important headlines, challenge the status quo, spark debate, encourage conversation and, above all else, champion women’s voices..

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Image: Getty