A Beginner's Guide On How To Speak Kerry

A Beginner's Guide On How To Speak Kerry

Ah the Kingdom, a county full of rolling green fields, stunning beaches and scenic mountains. It is also home to an accent like no other. If you can understand the Kerry accent then well done! If not then get out your pen and paper and start taking notes on how to speak Kerry. First off you’ll need to get to know some phrases unique to the Kingdom:

1. Dheara/ Yerra

“Yerra I don’t know”, “Yerra it’ll be grand”, “Yerra we’ll see”. You can put “yerra” in front of practically every word or sentence just for the sake of saying “yerra”.

2. Crator/ Cratúir

We use this gem of an adjective to describe someone who we feel a mixture of love and sympathy for. “Crator” is such a versatile adjective. It can be used to describe anything from your neighbours puppy to John from down the road who is trying, but failing miserably to pull Aisling from Tralee on a night out.

3. Mighty

Another versatile adjective. Once whatever it is your are describing is great fun/ amazing then it is “mighty”.


4. Chrisht Lads

Disbelief/ anger/ frustration/ surprise.

5. Mor- E- Ya

A favourite among Kerry mothers. “I went into Homestore mor- e- ya to buy a few cushions, but really I just didn’t want to spend the day talking to Mary who was walking down the road towards me.”

6. Shup

“Shup will ye the weather is on.”- Kerry fathers to their children every night at 9:30.


7. Plastered/ Scuttered

Two much better ways of saying you got very drunk.

8. Dangleberries

We are not all farmers but Kerry is full of farms, so here is a little nugget of farming terminology. Dangleberries are essentially the excrement that sticks to a cows tail. Beautiful.

9. Sham

“How’re the shams?” is pretty much equal to “How’re the lads?”.


From the archives: a postcard sent from my mom to her hometown in 1985 addressed to ‘The Shams’


10. Whist/ Fwisht Awhile
A Kerry way of telling you to shut up.

11. Dilly Dally

Another favourite among the mothers- “Listen Anne I won’t dilly dally I’m just calling in to say hi”. The mother is still at Anne’s house two hours later with a cup of tea and some biscuits.


12. Come here to me and I’ll tell you something for nothing

Our very own way of telling each other that we have a juicy bit of gossip.

13. Your wan/ man

“Look at the state of your wan!”- a way of referring to a man or woman you do not know or referring to a person whose name you cannot remember.

Now that you’ve memorised the phrases, its time you learnt a thing or two on how we actually talk:

14. Answering a question with another question


This is a sure fire way to keep any conversation going and Kerry people are experts at it. “Chrisht the weather is desperate, isn’t it?” “Stop the lights its a disgrace, but come it is supposed to clear up a bit next week isn’t it?”

15. Throwing in a ‘h’ after any word with a ’s’

Star turns into “shtar”, Christ to “chrisht”, small to “shmall”. You get the drift.

16. Increase your speaking speed x10

Not only must your accent be on point. You must also master speaking extremely fast if you want to speak like a true Kerry native.

17. Listen to the Healy-Raes


The perfect advocates for the Kerry accent. Understand them and you can understand us all.


Check out Micheál's blog: WhatHeDoes

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Micheal Costello

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