Editor’s note: This interview has been edited and reformatted for clarity and brevity.
They’re everywhere — in our bars, in our frat houses, in our drinking song. We at the Clog interviewed several Irish students who have come to Berkeley for the summer to work, hang out and “have the craic.” Because they run this town during the summer, Berkeley students need a guide to help us fit in with their culture. Here’s an interview with the Irish, giving us the lowdown on their slang, their ways and thoughts on how to party in Berkeley from the ones who do it best.
Clog: Why did you guys come to Berkeley?
Jim Fitz: We’ve come on a work visa. We have to work. For three months, but like thousands of Irish students come over every summer, just like for the craic. To come over and drink. We work at Ben and Jerry’s.
Steven, Kevin, Declan (Jim’s friends): We were going to go to San Diego but apparently it’s hard to get work up there. And we wanted to go to the west coast, so we could travel from there. See the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas.
Liam Flag: Yeah, we’re working in Strawberry Canyon as camp counselors.
CLOG: Oh cool! We talked to some of the guys working at Ben and Jerry’s.
Liam: Oh yeah thankfully we’re not working there! We would get free ice cream, but we are doing more meaningful stuff (laughs) — shaping young kids’ minds. One of the main jobs is to keep putting sunscreen on kids and making sure they don’t get sunburnt. Need to put sunscreen on them like four or five times a day.
CLOG: Did they choose that because you guys are Irish and you’re professional sunscreen users?
Liam: Yeah! That’s probably a reason. But they just picked us cause we’re lovely lads. And they can pay us, fuck on, and get away with it.
CLOG: How does the partying culture here compare to the partying culture in Ireland?
Jim: Well it’s been fairly compatible because there are so many Irish people over here.
Liam: We only had a week here before all the Irish came and there wasn’t much going on. Now all the Irish have come over and it’s a takeover.
Niall Gallagher: Americans don’t drink as much. In college we’ll drink maybe twice or three times a week, but we go until we can’t drink anymore. ‘Til you don’t have any more money.
CLOG: So Niall, you’re 20. You come to America, and all of a sudden you’re an underage drinker. How is that?
Niall: It’s grand. We get in everywhere.
CLOG: How does the beer here compare to the beer in Ireland?
Jim: Ah terrible! American beer, it’s kind of flat. Very flat. Like in Ireland, if there was a pint there, the top is an inch or two-thirds of an inch of full froth. Whereas here, it’s just flat. It’s not nice. It’s like they don’t know how to pull a pint.
Kevin, Rebecca, Jessica, Liam, Niall: But we like the taste of Four Lokos!
Jim: Rocket fuel!
Kevin, Rebecca, Jessica, Liam, Niall: It should be illegal.
CLOG: Have you had American beer?
Liam: No, I’ve been drinking like PBR and shit. Same kind of shit (at home). I normally just drink the cheapest stuff you can get.
CLOG: So cheap beer in Ireland is as bad as cheap beer here?
Liam: Pretty much.
CLOG: Can you enlighten us with some Irish slang?
Jim: Yeah! Craic (pronounced “crack”) is like “fun.” Like it’s kind of more than fun. It’s just kind of fuckin’ like having the craic!
CLOG: How would you use it in a sentence?
Kevin, Rebecca, Jessica, Liam, Niall: “Last night was some craic!”
CLOG: What does bollix mean?
Liam: Just asshole or shit or something. Like I’ll be good friends with him (points) but at the same time he’s a fuckin’ bollix, ya know. Or a wanker.
CLOG: So it’s cool to say the “c” word in Ireland?
Kevin, Rebecca, Jessica: Yeah!
Kevin: It’s not cool, it just rolls off the tongue. It’s like friendly banter — “Oh, you cunt!”
Rebecca: We’d be all like, “You were acting like a pure cunt last night!”
Kevin: If you’re having good craic the night before, let’s say you’re having really good craic, and you’re a mess and you’re very drunk, people would say that you were “acting the cunt” last night.
Rebecca: Before I came out here, on the way over, my daddy was like to me: “Do not use the cunt word. Just do not say the cunt word. They will take offense to that.”
CLOG: What are some other words?
Kevin: “A rack!” It means like “a lot.” So there are like a rack of people in the house.
Kevin: Also, if you’re going for a few pints in the Southern part of Ireland, you’re going to “blow the froth off a few cold ones.”
Liam: Girls are called “beors” as well!
CLOG: Is that offensive?
Everyone: No, no.
Kevin: A beor … like she’s a nice beor, she’s a good looking girl.
Rebecca: If you’re “sound” then you’re dead on. Like you’re a nice person.
Kevin: You’re grand!
CLOG: Any other slang terms we should know?
Kevin, Rebecca, Jessica, Liam, Niall: “Hell for leather” means “going for it all.” “Shifting” is “making out.” And “Tippin’ into them” is sex.
CLOG: What has surprised you most so far about Berkeley?
Niall: People are very nice compared to Ireland. Way nicer. Like in the bank they’re way nicer. More friendly.
Liam: We’d be on the BART, trying to figure out where to go and all of a sudden someone is telling us how to get there, where to go, what to do and everything. They’re just ridiculously sound. In Ireland, you’d be lucky to get a smile out of someone, but in America they’re all just so nice.
Thank you so much to the young Irishmen and women who sat down with us to chat. We at the Clog hope you all have a great time here in Berkeley.
Contact Natalie Silver at [email protected].