“Things I’m Glad I Learned”

March 16, 2017

This post comes from student blogger student blogger, Sandra Mercer. Sandra is from Westfield State University, Elementary Education Major studying in Galway, Ireland

I want to start a little series that I’d like to call “Things I Wish I’d Known & Things I’m Glad I Learned.” A lot of them will be Ireland and my host university the National University of Ireland- Galway specific, but there will be some that can relate to any student studying abroad. So, here goes nothing.

To start it out…Words & Phrases

Craic (pronounced “crack”)

Craic is a Gaelic word that isn’t completely translatable into English, but the closest you can get is fun. “What’s the craic?” is the equivalent to “What’s up?” or “How are you?” It’s used all the time here, in a multitude of ways, but it basically means things that you enjoy, good things, etc. Dancing to the street performers’ music on Shop Street? That’s the craic, or some good craic. You’ll start using it once you hear it all the time.


Cheers is another pretty popular word, just like craic is. Similarly to craic, it’s used in different ways. It’s used as a typical cheers when making a toast, but it’s also used to say thank you, enjoy your meal/time, goodbye, etc. You could say cheers in pretty much any situation and you’d probably be using it correctly. Slainte (typically pronounced SLAN-cheh, though it varies a little bit depending on who is saying it) – this word literally translate into “health,” but is more commonly known as cheers.

How’re ye?

This might seem simple, but when you hear it the first couple times by an Ireland native, you’ll have no idea what they’re saying to you. Like you may have guessed, this literally just means “How are you?” but it’s usually said pretty fast and slurred together, almost like it’s one word.


This one is a favorite of some of my fellow APIs, and one we like to use a lot. If you call someone “sound,” it means that they’re a good, well-rounded, fun person. Calling one another “sound lads” has become somewhat of an ongoing joke for us, hearing it constantly and consistently throughout our semester leading to us picking up on it without even realizing it. All my fellow APIs are sound lads 🙂


Everything is grand in Ireland, or so I’ve come to learn. Grand means exactly what you think it would mean: good, great, fantastic, etc. It just happens to get used to describe nearly everything. Have a fun night out? It was grand. Eat something delicious at a restaurant? It’s a grand meal. Meet someone in your class that you’ve come to like? They’re grand (or a sound lad, of course).

More of the “Things I Wish I’d Known & Things I’m Glad I Learned” series coming soon. Sláinte, friends!


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