Tag Archives: Northern Ireland

Quiz: Do You Know These Ulster English Words?


Hint: We’ve Been Posting Them Recently

If you follow BritWordaDay on social media, chances are you’ve seen these Ulster English posts. It was part of our March Madness social media campaign. Also, to honour of our Irish friends of Northern Ireland, from which this dialect hails.

So, I was curious how much our followers were actually seeing these posts. Also, I thought a quiz might be a good way to assess our teaching progress as well as the absorption of our supporters. In other words, is BritWordaDay adding value? Are you learning this British dialect?

Do You Know These Ulster English Words?

Below is our quiz on this particular dialect. I’ve used common British words to give you hints as to the meaning of these Ulster English words. Best of British to you, mates!


When something is ready for the knackered yard, one would say it is banjaxed, as well.


Blokes, if you’re chatting up a bird, then you are also chatting up a blade.


A general term for a more mature bird, but don’t call your gran a carlin, ok?


Caught in an argy-bargy or a row? Then you might be feeling carnaptious.


Drawky would often describe Old Blighty which would require a brolly.


When you’re feeling parky or it is quite Baltic, then you’ll be foundered, too, I’d expect.


Something wee bairns often do, keenin’ for their mummies to wipe those bums of poo.


The opposite of a boiler would be a munya bird, a top totty.


Take a holiday to the seaside where you buy a poke for 99p, perhaps for a bit more.


Whisht would be the same as simply saying oi! or belt up!

Where to Find the Answers

BritWordaDay has Facebook albums, many of British words. If you’re curious as to the answers, for our quiz,  view our Facebook albums and see if you can find which album contains these Ulster English words. Email us at britwordaday@gmail.com with your answers.

If you answer all 10 of these quiz questions correctly, we will send you a special prize for the winners!

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What Everyone Should Know About the Ulster Fry Up


What is a Fry Up?

Many of you may not have heard the term “fry up” and so I thought this was the most logical place to start. It’s what Britons call breakfast and, yes, everything is fried.

Whether in England, Wales, Scotland or Ireland things like bacon, eggs, and sausages will be found on a fry up breakfast plate. Despite these similarities, there are distinguishing differences, as well. If you find yourself in the Ulster province or even in Belfast, you may wish to order this particular Irish breakfast. I certainly would.

Why Have Such a Hearty Breakfast?

Back in the day, rural Irish workers ate this filling breakfast to sustain them until dinner. Only a light lunch would be taken during the day given the substantial morning meal.

Nowadays, a fry up is often consumed on weekends or holidays. People are much more health conscious today and a regular morning fry up would certainly add to one’s waistline, not to mention clogging those arteries. Besides, during the work week, who has the time?

Nonetheless, a supposed benefit of a fry up is to combat a hangover. Let’s face it. Drinking is a favorite pastime in Ireland and an integral part of their culture. However, if you’re in the loo razzing your guts out, I think one would pass on such a heavy breakfast. Nevertheless, when you can stomach some food, most eateries of Northern Ireland will serve an Ulster fry up for lunch and dinner, too.

Though an Ulster Fry-up is very similar to full Irish breakfast, it would be helpful to know the differences should you find yourself in Northern Ireland. Personally, as a foodie, I would want to try both of these Irish fry ups. Below are the food items found on the plate of an Ulster fry up.

  • Bacon – typically back bacon from pork belly and pork loin (similar to English bacon)
  • Sausage – small pork sausages known as “chipolatas”
  • Black Pudding – cured blood sausage (like a salami), sliced, and then fried until crispy outside
  • Eggs – fried only (traditionally)
  • Potato Farl – griddle bread, rolled out into a flat circle, cut into quarters, and baked
  • Soda Farl – soda bread, which also in quartered and baked, then slathered with butter and jam.

Farl is an older term for “quarter”

Ulster Fry Up Cooking Order

The bacon is fried first to render the fat in the pan. The sausages, black pudding, eggs, potato and soda farls are fried in the bacon grease. If needed, a few knobs of Irish butter can be added to finish up the cooking. However, most cooks would just fry more bacon.

After the bacon is cooked, fry the sausages to render more fat for continued frying. Prick them first so they won’t burst during cooking. Fry up the black pudding next then the potato farl and soda bread. It’s best to cook the eggs last so they don’t get cold and rubbery.

Keeping Your Fry Up Warm

Since one cannot fry everything in the pan at once, it’s helpful to keep the cooked food warm. Preheat your oven to a low temperature and place an oven-proof plate inside. As you fry up each food item, transfer them to the warm plate after they are cooked.

Remove the warmed plate, from the oven, piled high with all that gloriously fried food and serve it with a strong Irish breakfast tea.

Sometimes added to the fry up are white pudding, tomatoes, mushrooms and fried bread but these items not traditional.

Your Ulster Fry Up

Any of you Anglophiles ever had an Ulster fry up? What about you foodie types? Plan to give it go and make this Northern Irish breakfast for yourself? Login and post your comments or pictures below.

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Have You Heard About Ulster English?


It’s a UK Dialect of Northern Ireland

Ulster is a province in Northern Ireland and made up of people groups which include Ulster Scots, Mid Ulster, and South Ulster speakers. The counties of Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry, and Tyrone are part of the United Kingdom, while Cavan, Donegal, Monaghan are part of the Republic of Ireland. The Ulster English dialect from this region of Ireland has been developing for centuries.

This Northern Ireland language began during the early seventeenth-century colonization of English settlers. However, Ulster English has not only been influenced by British English and Hiberno-English (language spoken in the Republic of Ireland) but also the Scots language and Irish Gaelic.

How I Learned About This Dialect

I never even knew about this language until I started writing my book for BritWordaDay. I began researching dialects of Northern Ireland and discovered Ulster English is the predominate language spoken there. The two major divisions of Ulster English is Mid Ulster and Ulster Scots.

My high school best friend, Jeff, often referred to his mother’s statements as her “speaking Irish” because they had an interrogative tone to them. Come to find out, Ulster English speakers have a noticeable tendency to raise the pitch towards the end of declarative sentences. Perhaps Jeff’s mum has Ulster in her blood.

Distinguishing Words of Ulster English

Irish speakers, as a whole, do not use the words “yes” and “no” very often but instead, repeat the verb in a question as a response. For example:

Question: Are you going to work soon?
Answer: I am (instead of saying “yes”)

Sometimes Ulster speakers use the verb “have” followed by “with me” or “on me” in this way:

Have you money for the train on you?

Ulster English mirrors Irish with the word “you” in its singular and plural form. Instead of “you guys” the Ulster English speakers would say “yous” like certain parts of Pennsylvania. Two other forms of “you guys” would be “yis” or “yousuns” which, again, the Pennsylvania natives would say “you-uns” to a group. It’s funny how particular Ulster English words or close variations have endured centuries after the colonization of America.

Examples and Usage of Ulster English

As a British word specialist, I will not only teach you these Ulster English words but how to properly use them in context. Here are some examples of these Northern Ireland words and their usage.

Using Ulster English

Blade – girl

Look at thon blade. (Look at that girl.)

Bout ye? – How are you?

Bout ye, fella? (How are you, man?)

Craitur/Craytur – creature

Aye, the poor craitur. (Yes, the poor creature.)

Foundered – to be cold

Are ye foundered? (Are you cold?)

Hallion – a good-for-nothing

Shut your gob, ye hallion! (Shut your mouth, you good-for-nothing!)

Munya – great, lovely, attractive

The grub is quite munya. (The food is quite lovely.)

Poke – ice cream

Yous want some poke? (You guys want some ice cream?)

Whisht – to be quiet (a command)

Whisht, ye aul eejit! (Be quiet, you old idiot!)

Ways to Learn More Ulster English

During the month of March, BritWordaDay is running a March Madness campaign for Anglophiles “mad” about British words. The focus is Ulster English, including all things Irish. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to learn more of this amazing Northern Ireland dialect.

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Flags of the United Kingdom

From last week’s blog post, you saw how the United Kingdom represents several nations and each has a national flag for their respective countries.

Flag of England


The “red cross” as an emblem of England can be traced back to the Middle Ages. It is widely believed Richard I, the Lionheart, adopted both this flag and patron saint (St. George) of Genoa, Italy at some point during his crusade. This emblem, the red cross of St. George, was worn by English soldiers from the early years of the reign of Edward I (1270s). The flag of St. George remained the ensign of England for other purposes until the Acts of Union 1707 (Union with Scotland).

Current Use

Churches belonging to the Church of England may fly the St. George’s Cross but only with the arms of the diocese in the left-hand upper corner of the flag. The flag of St. George is also the rank flag of an Admiral in the Royal Navy, and civilian craft are forbidden to fly it. Though the flag has no official status within the UK, it has been used ever increasingly, particularly at national sporting events, since the 1990s.

Flag of Wales


This flag incorporates the Red Dragon of Cadwaladr, King of Gwynedd, along with the Tudor colors of green and white to represent the Welsh dynasty of 1485. During the reign of Henry VIII, the Laws in Wales Acts was passed in 1536 and 1543 which then created a single state and legal jurisdiction, effectively annexing Wales to England. Due to this official acquisition by England, Wales is not represented on the Union Flag, other than the cross of St. George (patron saint of England). It was officially recognized as the Welsh national flag, after successful lobbying of Gorsedd of Bards and others, by Queen Elizabeth II in 1959.

Current Use

Today the flag can be seen flying from the Senedd in Cardiff, and from the Wales Office in Whitehall, London each day.

Flag of Scotland


The Saltire or the Saint Andrew’s Cross represents the cross of the patron saint of Scotland on a blue field. According to legend, Saint Andrew was crucified on an X-shaped cross at Patras (Patrae) in Greece. It first appears in the Kingdom of Scotland in 1180 during the reign of William I. It was again depicted on seals used during the late 13th century, including on one used by the Guardians of Scotland, dated 1286. In June 1285, the Parliament of Scotland decreed that Scottish soldiers serving in France would wear a white Saint Andrew’s Cross, both in front and behind, for identification.

After the proclamation by King James, made on April 12, 1606, the Saltire became one of the key components in the creation of the Union Flag.

Current Use

The Saltire is the official flag for all individuals and corporate bodies to fly in order to demonstrate both their loyalty and Scottish nationality.

Flag of Northern Ireland

Over the centuries, there have been several flags representative of Northern Ireland, mainly in an unofficial capacity. The most common are Ulster Banner and the Saint Patrick’s Saltire.



  • Ulster Banner – The Ulster Banner was the official flag used to represent the Government of Northern Ireland from 1953 to 1973. When the Parliament of Northern Ireland was dissolved by the British government under the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973, the flag ceased to have official standing. However, several sports and media organizations use the flag to represent teams and athletes from Northern Ireland for various sporting events.


  • Saint Patrick Saltire – Also known as the Cross of Saint Patrick, after the patron saint of Ireland. The association with Saint Patrick dates from the 1780s, when the Order of Saint Patrick, a British chivalric order, was established in 1783 by George III. Still used by some Unionists, the Church of Ireland, some family clans, and various Irish organizations in which these symbols are incorporated. One such assimilation is in the badge of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Nevertheless, most Irish nationalists reject its use to represent Ireland as a “British invention”.


Union Flag – Though these other flags are used in unofficial capacities, the Union Flag is the only true flag of Northern Ireland.

Union Flag


Since 1801, via the Acts of Union 1800, the Union Flag is the national flag of the United Kingdom which officially represents England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. The flag also has an official or semi-official status in some other Commonwealth realms. It is, by law, an official flag in Canada and known there as the Royal Union Flag. Additionally, it is used as an official flag in some smaller British overseas territories. The Union Flag also appears in the canton (upper left-hand quarter) of the flags of several nations and territories that are former British possessions or colonies.

Other Flags

Royal Standard


The first and fourth quadrants represent the ancient Kingdom of England with three gold lions on a red field. The second quadrant represents the ancient Kingdom of Scotland and contains a red lion rampant on a gold field, and the third quadrant represents the ancient Kingdom of Ireland which contains a version of the gold harp from the coat of arms of Ireland on a blue field.

Used by Elizabeth II in her capacity as Sovereign of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The flag is flown when the Queen is in residence in one of the royal palaces and on her car during official journeys. It may be flown on any building, official or private, during a visit by the Queen, if the owner or proprietor so requests.

Too Many Flags?

Did you ever find the various flags of the UK confusing? Did you know any of the origins of these the flags? Log in to discuss your thoughts.


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