If anyone likes to give gifts to loved ones on St. Patrick’s Day (17th March) I have the perfect suggestion for you today – a book called The Little Book of Irishisms: Know the Irish through our Words by Aimee Alexander, with illustrations by her daughter Aimée Concannon. This lovely little book is now available in paperback – from Amazon, or by ordering from your favourite bookshop – and the kindle version (a tad more complicated because of the illustrations) should be available very soon.
Like me, you might know Aimee Alexander – and her alter ego, Denise Deegan – better for her lovely novels. Denise’s Through The Barricades – historical fiction at its very best, and a wonderful family saga as well – was one of my Books of the Year in 2017, and if it’s one you haven’t read I’d recommend it really highly (available for kindle – free via Kindle Unlimited – and in paperback). And, as chance would have it, that was my first glimpse of her daughter too – that’s Aimée on the book’s cover…
You’ll find reviews here on Being Anne too of a couple of other books from Aimee Alexander – The Accidental Life of Greg Millar from 2016, and her more recently released Season of Second Chances (I loved it – it’s planned as the first in a new series, and I’m really looking forward to spending more time with the characters from Killrowan). There’s a review of a “short” too, published under the name of Denise Deegan, The Prince and the Pea, a lovely retelling of the fairy tale from the prince’s perspective.
But enough – let’s take a closer look at The Little Book of Irishisms…
If an Irish person said to you, “Gimmie that yoke,” would you think they were talking about an egg? If so, 99% of the time, you’d be wrong. How about banjaxed, bockety or craic? Any idea what they mean?
The Little Book of Irishisms is for anyone who wants to understand the Irish, not just our words but how we are as people, relaxed about some things, picky about others. It’s also for those who’d like to sound Irish, even just for Paddy’s Day.
You’ll learn tricks to Irishify your banter – and how to avoid those clangers that people think we say but never do, like the classic, “Top of the morning to you.”
If you’re coming to Ireland and want to fit right in, this book’s for you. If you can’t make it, here’s a way of visiting in spirit. “Go on, go on, go on. You will, you will, you will,” to quote the infamous Irish comedy, Father Ted.
I’ve only had time for a really quick skim through, but this book is absolutely lovely – essentially a book of lists, but infused with so much humour and affection, and enhanced beautifully by the line drawings. It’s a book for anyone who wants to understand Irish people, taking you from the point of saying hello and asking how they are (and being able to interpret the answer), through all those words and Irishisms that have us non-Irish scratching our heads at times, those words and expressions you should avoid at all costs, the insults, the obsessions, and the many words for “drunk” and “mother”. There’s a really useful guide to pronouncing names too, and it’s all rounded off with a story drawing everything you might have learned together – and a great glossary to help you find the bits you’d like to look at again. I thought it was quite wonderful, perfect to give as a gift – and an incredibly useful resource for any author thinking of writing an Irish character and keen not to put their foot in it.
If you’d like to download a taster, you’ll find it HERE…
About the author
Aimee Alexander is the pen name of the award-winning, #1 Amazon best-selling, Irish author Denise Deegan. She writes contemporary family dramas about ordinary people who become extraordinary in crisis. Her novels have been published by Penguin Random House, Hachette and Lake Union Publishing.
Aimee lives in Dublin with her family where she regularly dreams of sunshine, a life without cooking and her novels being made into movies. She has a Masters in Public Relations and has been a lecturer, nurse, china restorer, pharmaceutical sales rep, public relations executive and entrepreneur.
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Aimée Concannon is the Leonardo da Vinci of her generation. Artist, poet, raconteur, wit and bon vivant, she can turn her hand to anything and usually does. (Note: this bio was written by her mother.)