Irish language

How to leave out slightly passive aggressive instructions to your untidy flatmate

FAMILIAR?: The stereotypical room of a student/young person since Rik Mayall, Ade Edmondson, NIgel Planer, Christopher Ryan and Alexei Sayle portrayed The Young Ones on television
Robert McMillen

GO mBEANNAÍ Dia daoibh and welcome to a very house-proud Bluffer’s Guide to Irish.

So let’s say you share an árásán - an apartment with another person and they don’t have the same standards of tidiness or cleanliness as your self, dear reader.

You might have your boss coming to see you and your spacious apartment or your wee maisonette needs to be chomh glan le fíoruisce - as clean (or clear) as spring water.

Tá do sheomra ina phraiseach cheart! - your room is a bomb site/pigsty etc. is what you can tell them with just the right amount of passive aggressiveness so they get the message.

Tá an áit cáidheach - the place is boggin’ you can add as you run your finger over the deannach - dust on the mantelpiece. 

Then you can do them out a list with a list of instructions as to what you expect to be done by the time you return.

This usually begins with nigh na soithigh - wash the dishes. 

Tá an doirteal lán - the sink might be full of a week’s dirty dishes from carry outs and home-made meals but the Bluffer finds it therapeutic doing the washing and his hands are as soft as a baby’s bottom.

Tóg d’fhóbhristí ón urlár - lift your knickers/trunks off the floor and anything else that is lying there and then glan an tábla - clear the table.

You might also tell/ask them to cóirigh an leapa - make the bed, cuir amach an bruscar - put out the rubbish

Now with the tidying up orders written in blood red ink and in bold, it’s time to tell your untidy house-mate to get stuck into the hard work.

The Bluffer is never keen on using madey-uppy words in Irish but he quite likes húveráil as in húveráil na hurláir - hoover the floors and the mop can now be called on.

Hot water and dífhabhtán - disinfectant will get those Guinness stains out prontissimo.

The place is now beginning to take shape.

Another gentle reminder could be cuir as na soilse - turn off the lights. 

Yep, it annoys the Bluffer too when the house looks more like Blackpool illuminations than his suburban semi-detached.  

And that should be it.

You might have some plants in the house – cacti, aloe vera, triffids – so your final instruction might be  cuir uisce sna plandaí - water the plants.

Hopefully, your flatmate will have been smitten with guilt and has followed your instructions to a T so that when you get home, you enter into a Marie Kondo dream home.

Things have been put away in their proper places, the plates and cutlery are gleaming, you can see your reflection in the floors and the room smells like a 1980s gay birthday party thanks to coinnle cumhra - scented candles.

No doubt, this is the time of year for tidying up, putting the Christmas tree up and getting the house presentable for the big Christmas family dinner. 

Obviously, you don’t want your mother in law looking down her nose at your less than perfect standards of hygiene. That would never do!


árásán (aaraasaan) - an apartment 

chomh glan le fíoruisce (kho glan le feerishka) - as clean (or clear) as spring water

Tá do sheomra ina phraiseach cheart! (taa daw homera ina frashakh cyart) - your room is a bomb site

nigh na soithigh (nee ne soyhee) - wash the dishes 

Tá an doirteal lán (taa un dortchil laan) - the sink is full

Tá an áit cáidheach (taa un ytch kiyakh) - the place is boggin’ deannach (jannakh) - dust 

Tóg d’fhóbhristí ón urlár (toge dovrishtee own urlaar) - lift your knickers/trunks off the floor 

glan an tábla (glan un taabla) - clear the table

cóirigh an leapa (coree un lappa) - make the bed

Cuir amach an bruscar (ker amakh un brusker) - put out the rubbish

húveráil na hurláir (hooveraal na hurlaar) - hoover the floors

dífhabhtán (jee-aowtaan) - disinfectant

cuir as na solais (ker iss na solish) - turn off the lights

cuir uisce sna plandaí  (ker ishka sna plandee) - water the plants

coinnle cumhra (conle coora) - scented candles

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