What the Focal!? Irish language surnames



WTF!? Irish words around the world

No matter how little Irish you have you may use these words, that originate in the Irish language!

Here’s the full list of words, with links:
Brogue – bróg
Puck – poc
Slew of – slua
Banshee – bean sí
Smithereen – smidiríní 
(Smithereen is from smiodar)
Galore – go leor
Shebeen – síbín
Hooligan – Houlihan
(Houlihan is from Ó hUallacháin)
Shamrock – seamróg
Tory – tóraí
(more info here)
Brat – brat
(more info here)

WTF!? YOLO as Gaeilge!

I text.

I speak Irish.

I do them both at the SAME TIME!

Here, in the latest What the Focal!? I tell you how YOU CAN TOO!

I cover txt speak as Gaeilge, and the story behind Irish speakers using the number 7 to mean ‘and’. (It’s called a ‘tironion et’ and I love it.)

Full list of TEXT SPEAK covered:
GRMA – go raibh maith agat (thank you)
GRMMA – go raibh míle maith agat (thanks a million)
(a)GOA – (ag) gáire os ard (LOL)
ABMTAG – ag briseadh mó thóin ag gáire (ROFL, literally “breaking by arse laughing”)
NASAA – níl ach saol amháin agat (YOLO)
CF – cén fáth (why)
NBB – ná bí buartha (don’t worry)
GML – gabh mo leithscéal (excuse me)
DS – deireadh seachtaine (weekend)
TBO – tá brón orm (I’m sorry)
OMD – Ó mo Dhia (OMG)
SGF – slán go fóill (CYA)

***Then these two crucial ones which I left out somehow!***
LDT – le do thoil (please)
CGL – ceart go leor (ok)

V – bhí (past tense of ‘bí’)
AN8 – anocht (tonight)
7n – seachtain (week)
CCAB2 – cén chaoi a bhfuil tú (how are you)
CCAB6 – cén chaoi a bhfuil sé (how is he)
J mar? – caidé mar atá tú? (how are you)
A # – a thaisce (my dear)
K – cé (who)
FAB – fadhb ar bith (no problem)
7 = & (this is called a ‘tironion et’)


Tá nuacht agam!

philadelphia book

Philadelphia, HERE I COME! 🌎
After the summer I’m heading off to spend next year teaching Gaeilge at Villanova University. I’ll be a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant.

The Brian Friel play above and the collage that I made below illustrates the sum total of my knowledge of what I am sure I will soon call ‘Philly’. 🤔


My sister gave me my first tip already when I told her the news. “OMG avoid West Philadelphia!” 🤣😂 (I actually will though.)

I’m excited for the challenge of being in a new place, and looking forward to seeing what the spoken word scene is like over there.

If you’ve any tips, tricks, or personal experiences to share, feel free to get in touch! Once I’m over there I will be all on my ownio so I will appreciate any help in settling into my new surroundings.

I’ll leave you with this song that my grandmother sang to me when I told her the news.

My Docs – spoken word

Here’s me onstage performing My Docs as part of a special show with RTÉ Arena. Thanks to Kevin on Twitter for taking the pciture!

I wrote this piece about my Doc Marten boots in 2015 – so it’s great to have a recording at last!

ALSO I’m hoping to make a video for this soon… just need to get some funds together. So if you know anyone in the Doc Martens company (or indeed if you ARE someone in the company!) get in touch!

WTF!? Irish used in English

In this What the Focal!? video I’m talking about Irish words that are used AS GAEILGE in the middle of a sentence that otherwise AS BÉARLA.

The words featured in the video are the based on responses I got on Twitter.

In my opinion this is different from the Irish words that are present in Hiberno English, because with Hiberno English the speaker might not even be aware that the word/ structure they are using has a basis in Irish. Whereas the words in the below video are used consciously.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m not a linguist! But if you are, and have a proper linguistic description of what I am trying to put into words then please get in touch!

p.s. I know the poem is not my best work – but it was a good device to list off the words!

Dhá alt dheasa

Taitníonn sé liom aon uair go mbíonn filíocht i mbéal an phobaill, ach go háirithe nuair is filíocht i nGaeilge atá i gceist!

Lá na Filíochta a bhí ann inné agus chroch RTÉ.ie alt dar teideal ‘5 Filí to Note’.

Is deas liom a bheith luaite i measc filí mór le rá!

rte filí

Agus tháinig mé ar an alt seo díreach an tseachtain seo caite. Bhí ionadh an domhain orm m’ainm a fheiceáil i measc mná iontacha eile.

Agus fógraíocht iontach do REIC freisin!

lovin dublin


WTF!?How are fadas pronounced?

Here’s my rough guide to the pronunciation of fadas:

I made sure to put a **DISCLAIMER** in the description!

This video is a rough guide to pronouncing fadas and illustrates only one way to pronounce each vowel. It’s important to note that many other pronunciations are correct and these vary depending on speaker, accent, and dialect. The sounds of the Ulster dialect in particular are not represented in this video. If you wish to consistently emulate the sound of a particular dialect, I recommend using the recordings found on www.teanglann.ie


Agallamh le hEva O’Connor

An scríbhneoir agus aisteoir Eva O’Connor faoi agallamh agamsa anseo, ón gclár Meon na mBan ar Raidió na Life.

Labhraíonn Eva faoin dráma úrnua Maz&Bricks, agus roinnt eile – an gá atá ann le cearta ginmhillte sa tír seo, fadhbanna itheacháin, agus mionsraith nua i bpáirt leis an mBBC atá ar na bacáin!

Déanfar an chéad léiriú den dráma anocht, agus leanfaidh sé i mBÁC go dtí an 15ú. Ansin beidh sé i Luimneach!

Tuilleadh eolais anseo.