15 Things Students From The North Just Don't Understand

As a Belfastard, coming to study in the South has been quite the odd experience. Living in Belfast and Dublin is similar in a fair few ways, yet there are always weird little sayings, doings and isms I hear every day but am no closer to understanding. Don't get me wrong, it's not that big of a difference, but the little things really can confuse us of the Northern disposition. For instance, I've never heard the word 'naggin' up North (unless it's said by a Dubliner friend), despite the fact that it's probably in the top 5 words used by students here. I've came to the conclusion there are some things most of you Southerners won't get about us and vice-versa. Here are just a few of them.

#1: What on earth are grinds?

This may sound really, really idiotic. You're welcome to make fun of me as much as you like, but when I first heard the word grinds I thought it was referring to skateboarding or some little-known sex act. Maths grinds - add a bed, subtract our clothes, divide your legs and pray you don't multiply? I just don't know.

#2: Why is it 'uni' up North and 'college' down here?

Ok, so there's Queens University Belfast, and then there's Trinity College Dublin. That's a start. But why? I mean, bar the difference of a 2 hour drive they basically teach the same subjects. So why can't we call it the same thing? Is there some weird linguo I'm missing again?


#3: Why do yous use kilometres on your signs?

I'm getting the bus home for the weekend, it's just pulling out of Drumcondra towards the airport and I see a sign saying 'Belfast -180'. WTF?!!!! Why are we so far away? I start worrying about the 4 hour journey or so it's now going to take to get home, before realising that the sign is actually kilometres. This happens every time. This gets especially weird when you're in Louth and it says Belfast is really far away, then you cross over into Newry and suddenly it's a lot closer.

#4: Why am I not getting yelled at for wearing a Celtic top?

This is pretty damn awesome for me. I'm not into the politics of the Old Firm, but I am a Celtic fan. In Belfast, if you walk into the wrong area with anything Celtic there's gonna be issues - in Dublin, I can wear Celtic trackies without this bother. Awesome.


#5: Issues with the Euro

The exchange rate always feckin' changes. Sometimes, if I draw out my rent money it costs me less in pounds than other times. We often find ourselves thinking, "hey, if I got it out last week I'd have saved a tenner". Tenner = 6 pack and kebab. You can see the problem.

#6: Why is drink so expensive?

Every time I go home, I must do a drinks run. I've even started doing it for friends to save them a fair bit of money. This has got to the point where I've also had to buy people fags and even groceries, because in fairness it saves them a pretty decent amount - I once saved a friend €15 on a 750ml of Black Bush (an institution in the North). For those of you who are lucky enough to have a Belfastard in your life, ask them to do this - you'll save aplenty.


#7: Are we really that difficult to understand?

Ayeriiightdeadonleeeeeek. Yeeeeoooo. Ok, we are.

#8: Why does CAO hate us?

We have to do an extra A level (which is about 6-8 extra hours in school a week) in most cases to go to college here. Put it this way, if you can get into courses with four Cs, but not with three As and Bs, something is going wrong.


#9: Our GAA players are nowhere near as famous as some of yours

Okay, with the exception of Tyrone and Armagh. But fans in Belfast mostly go for Antrim and Down (weirdly divided by the Lagan), who don't really do it at Sam Maguire or MacCarthy level. Sorry lads.

#10: Pulling and Shifting

Yous say shift, we say pull. But why? Maybe we will never know.


#11: Why are your buskers so dull?

I give you the fabled violumpet, as it's called by Belfastards. Maybe I'm not looking in the right places but I've never seen one of these lads in Dublin.

#12: Why is there no funny graffiti?

When you get past all the 'historic' murals and painted kerbstones, the North can deliver with brilliant gems like this.


#13: Why isn't there a police helicopter most nights?

Ah, the hums and has of modern day Belfast. Dozing off for a good night's rest to the soothing sound of propellor blades gliding over your home - bliss. For any birdwatchers, this big one is especially common during periods of political disagreement.

14: Why is your public art better?

Have a look at this.

Belfastards will immediately know this as the Balls on the Falls, or the Westicle. But we'd trade it any day for that massive prick of many inches poking out of O'Connell Street. We may have the balls, but we'd rather not be missing a prick.

#15: Why can't we see the cranes?

It's a common Belfastism that true Belfastards can see the H&W cranes from their street. I can, most people living there can to. If you can't, you're a culchie - sorry Dubs. If it's any consolation, despite the fact we make a big deal of it, our greatest pride from that shipyard is a big fecker that hit an iceberg and sank.

Aaron Meredith
Article written by
First year at Trinity, English & Philosophy student, closet football fan, experienced cocktail mixer and hair bleacher. Feeling like the only Belfastard in Dublin.

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