Speak Norn Iron

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[ This section will help you with the conversational skill of talking to a Northern Irish person/s. ]

Use these templates as a basis of understanding. If you can master this, you should be able to hold a medium length discussion with a Northern Irish person

Remember, you can meet a Northern Irish person at any time while in Northern Ireland and you probably will.

When talking to a NI person, it's important to try and pay attention to what they are saying. This is a stumbling block most people get tripped by. Be aware that NI people will talk either really slowly or immeasurably fast.

You may encounter conversation at places such as the cinema, or parliament.

[ At The Cinema ]

"What about ye mucker. What's at? Your a tourist? Ha! We don't get many of your sort roun' here. What fillum are ye commin'ta see? Ack aye, sure a saw that lawst week and the guy turns out ta be a ghost. Not worf yer muny"

Reply with something non threatening like: "Yes. I've seen it before too. But I thought that little boy was such a good actor, I thought I might like to watch it again."

This will make the Northern Irish person feel at ease, and they might even leave you alone. If you can still feel them breathing down your neck, it's probably best to leave the Cinema for another day.

[ Parliament ]

As the government grounds are a tourist attraction, there will be many other tourists to converse with. The grounds of Stormont are a wonderful sight, but it's one of the few places in NI that you might not encounter some natives. Even though it is a political hotspot, most NI people like to steer clear of the buildings. As you can clearly see in the picture above.

That concludes the basic conversational skills required.
Remember: Be calm, listen and reply. Reply calmly if you can.

[ TIPS: Cut Out and Keep ]

This part will help you have an actual conversation with a Northern Irish person.

Talking to a Northern Irish person can be quite a traumatic experience if you are not properly prepared. We hope to help you take the anxiety and danger out of talking to a resident of Northern Ireland. Starting the conversation can be a difficult and tricky task, so in this section we hope to show you safe and proven ways of striking up a rapport with your new Northern Irish friend.

First Meeting

1] Smile - this is important in the early stages as it will make them feel calm

2] Don't make sudden movements -like quickly reaching for your mobile phone from your inside jacket pocket

3] Start the conversation with, "Bout ye?" - this is a universal greeting in NI and a good icebreaker

4] Allow your companion to respond - if you don't let them, it could lead to flared tempers

Let's move on to the base of communication: The Language [Lingo]

[ Conversation ]

Please refer to the Dictionary Page for meanings and pronunciation.

A good topic starter would go along the lines of:

"Out of all the countries in the world, I hear Northern Ireland has the most words for getting/being drunk."

You'll need to learn some of these if you are to use this topic. You could even go as far as asking your companion to list some. These are great words to remember;


There are many, many more. A great conversation topic with a NI person is Alchohol. This is one subject all Northern Irish people are familiar with. If you are in range of a Bar or Pub, it may further your experience to invite them for a drink. Be careful in your choice of words. Use something like:

"Oh, look, mucker, there is a bar over there. Would you like to go for a pint, mate?"

If you ask properly, they will reply "Yes".

It's a well known fact that alcohol plays a major part in their culture and everyday lives. To coin a phrase, "They drink like salmon".
Get on the right side of a Northern Irish person by this stage, and your well on your way to experience the conversation of a life time. One that you'll not forget in a hurry.

At this stage it's important to remind you of the dangers of some of the locals. Some folk look down right scary. You can tell that they would be a bad choice for conversation by these visual and audible signs:

1] Wide, moist eyes
2] Imposing mannerisms
3] Grunting
4] Food caught in beard
5] Strong, foul smelling stench
6] Twitching
7] Barely recognisable speech

The last one may apply to normal people too. This site wouldn't exist if they were all understandable.

[ The Bar ]

Now you've enticed a subject into the bar, you really do need to set up a situation that is both fun and safe.

- Don't mention "The Troubles" and tensions may arise and may not be fitting conversation in a Belfast bar
- Don't ask personal questions, like where they live etc
- Do offer as much drink as you can comfortably afford
- Do tell jokes, as Northern Irish humour is quite rife in NI
- Talk about the weather - it's their best subject.

Your encounter should run smoothly, if it should go badly we recommend these excuses if you find yourself in bother.

1] "I'm sorry [insert name of NI person], but I have to go to the cash machine to get more money for drink."
Get up and leave. Your companion will believe you and let you leave. Do not return.

2] "It's been "magic" to have had a drink with you but I have to go now. My ferry is leaving in 45mins."
Again, they will believe you as many people use the ferry to Scotland as means of escape.

3] "Would you like another drink?"
If the the reply is "yes", hand them a five pound note, to go to the bar. They will accept with disbelief and head for the bar. Leave promptly. They won't be to angry with you as they just made a fiver, and got a few free drinks.

These tips should ensure an enjoyable encounter with a local. Follow these guidelines and your trip to NI will be a lot more memorable.

That concludes the conversational skills required when talking to a Northern Irish person in a Public House situation.











Copyright Speak Norn Iron 2004

To use this site, a sense of humour is needed. If you feel you do not have a sense of humour, then you might be able to download one here. Results not guaranteed. All pictures are property of their respective owners, except all original pictures which are owned by me. All text is property of Speak Norn Iron and may NOT be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior written consent. Remember this site is just a laugh. It's meant to be fun. And please keep all old fashioned and bigoted remarks to yourself. Please do not e-mail me with "oh, I can't believe you left "craic" out of your dictionary, how could you?" Craic is not in the dictionary as you'll find it on any page relating to NI. I'm trying to be original here ya know! Stop reading this wee bit 'o' crap and go buy a T-Shirt. Phone the radio stations, phone the papers, tell everyone!