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7 Irish Phrases You’ll Hear on St. Patricks Day & Their Meaning

Photo credit: Fordham Notes

With Fordham marching every year in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade and many others celebrating in other ways, there are some phrases you may hear but are not sure what exactly they meant. Here are seven phrases you’ll hear on St. Patrick’s Day!

1. St. Paddy’s Day

Note that it’s spelt Paddy and not Patty. The nickname for Patrick is Paddy, Patty is short for Patricia.

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2. Sláinte

In Irish Gaelic, this word means health, but is more commonly used to mean cheers! (Also the name of Fordham’s own Irish dance team.)

3. Galway Girl

Everyone is loving Ed Sheeran’s new album, especially the song Galway Girl. This term was first coined in a song by Steve Earle and Sharon Shannon in 2000. The song was later covered by Mundy with Shannon which reached number one on the charts in Ireland. Using the definition from the song, it means a girl with black hair and blue eyes.

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4. Éirinn go Brách

Or the English version: Erin Go Bragh! You’ll see and hear this phrase often on St. Patrick’s. It means Ireland Forever!

5. Craic

Pronounced crack, this term does not refer to a drug, but rather comes to mean fun or enjoyment. The term was used to mean news, gossip and enjoyable conversation.

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6. Claddaugh 

A claddaugh ring is a ring traditionally worn by women and the manner in which it is worn signifies romantic availablity. Wearing the ring on your right hand with the heart out means you’re single, but with the heart facing in towards your hand means that you’re in a relationship. On the left hand, the heart worn out means the wearer is engaged and with the heart in the person is married. The elements of the ring’s design also has signifcance. The heart represents love, the hands mean friendship, and the crown symbolizes loyalty. 

7. Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day To You! This is how to say the phrase in Irish Gaelic, but this wish of a happy St. Patrick’s Day is only to one person. If you were to say it to a group, use the phrase: “Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh!”

I'm a modern girl living in the ancient world. A lover of ancient art and museums! 
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