Why My Head Is Banjaxed



Ross Martin

Office worker Ross Martin is an Englishman living and working in Ireland.


So he is.

Ross writes:

One thing that has always struck me about Irish people is their incessant need to continually fill the air with mindless chitter-chatter.

Now this would be fine if I could understand what everyone was saying but a lot of the time some of the sayings and phrases have me scratching my head. So ‘comere till I tell ya’ my take on some of the best ones I have picked up

As I’m writing this article ‘It is after getting very cold in the office’. Why put ‘after’ in front of a sentence? It makes no sense to me.

Well apparently (after some long winded research and advice) this has something to do with the formation of a peculiar vestige of Gaelic Irish and English so I suppose I better keep quiet about that one…Blame the British!

Saying ‘Now’ after every little thing you do. What the hell is that about? Makes himself a cup of tea, sits down at desk and drinks said cup of tea….’Now’. In the office I hear about 50 of these a day.!

Just drink your tea in silence will ya for ‘Jaysus’ sake (a constant reminder of the great one is also an inevitable anecdotal expression you hear on a daily basis)

Terms of endearment for people you may or may not know are plentiful and getting to grips with some of these is a bit of a challenge. Without prior research this is what I came up with:

‘Yer Wan’ – The girl over there or the girl I am talking about.

‘Yer Man’ – The man over there or any male I have ever had any contact with.

‘Oul Wan’ – Your mother or any old woman I’m talking about.

‘Oulfella’ – Your Father or any old man I’m talking about

These are all fairly easy to remember but the one that always gets me is ‘You see yer wan there now, she has notions’. Now god only knows what that means but my rough translation would be: Irish people should always remain humble and never think or behave above their station.

Half way through writing the article and an urgent query comes in, I ask Stephanie to have a look for me and she says she’ll do it ‘Now in a second’.

So now I am sitting here perplexed as to when she will do it. Will it be now or will it be in a second? ‘Jaysus’ only knows. I’ll just sit here and hope for the best, ‘You know that kinda way?’

Anyway, I had a good old laugh to myself writing this ‘So I did’ but the research and all the ‘Messages’ in between has left me ‘banjaxed’ which is ‘Gas craic’ for all involved.

I’ve been told I speak with an Irish twang when I go back to London to visit family and they think I will lose my cockney accent but ‘I will in me hole’ as I must remember my roots.

If you enjoyed reading the article can I get a ‘Yeah yeah yeah yeah (sucks in breath)’ from any of you? ‘Good man/woman yourself’ for reading. I’m off to watch the Snapper for further inspiration.

Thanks Amy

164 thoughts on “Why My Head Is Banjaxed

  1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

    “One thing that has always struck me about Irish people is their incessant need to continually fill the air with mindless chitter-chatter.”

    This. You lads cannot bear a silence.

    “Come here to me” was the first ‘Irishism’ I encountered that completely confused me.

    1. Niamh

      I lived in England a few years and on return realised for the first time just how much incessant goddamn chatter goes on around here. Especially in th’office.

      Being that Irish people are also quite unwilling to discuss meaty/difficult/grownup things with people they don’t know well, most of this chatter is so inane it sometimes makes me want to weep. I’d prefer a deafening silence to endless – ENDLESS – peregrinations about the weather, the traffic, and…well, that’s it. The GAA, every now and then, perhaps.

      Other times, I find it funny and endearing. But to be honest, most of the time it is textbook neurotic.

      I had a German boyfriend once, and his favourite Irishism was ‘a shower of b*stards’. It’s actually poetic when you think about it.

      1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní


        There are many a great turn of phrase and use them myself so I do! The liberal use of c**t took me quite some time to get used to though.

    1. nellyb

      Repeated use of first name in formal settings when uncomfortable: ‘Look it, Sean’ or ‘Look it, Miriam’
      It’s politicians’ favorite on RTE, conveying:
      – fake extension of generosity towards interviewer in disclosing ‘real’ root cause of something, attempt to win trust
      – gentle display of being irritated by question
      – subtle display of being ‘in the know’, hence invitation to end the discussion, since everyone know what it is about, but nobody can say it straight on because it’s ‘sensitive’
      – [a few more, I am sure]
      Irish colloquials are an art form. BS John Moynes could create a comic book on these. The size of War & Peace.

  2. tbone

    Did I enjoy reading this article?? This was an article? Sound like utter racist drivel to me! Well Ross you know what to do if you don’t like something! FRO!!!!!!!

    1. The Real Jane

      Well it certainly says it’s an article a few times. Does that qualify it as an article? This fella now seems to have a fierce struggle with understanding people. I imagine he’s gas when he gets going about the hot press.

          1. Anomanomanom

            Of course travellers are, if they are born in Ireland then its IRISH. Iv never met anyone whose race is traveller.

    2. Amy

      Lighten up Pal. It is as merely a take on the sayings in every day Ireland and it doesn’t mention him not liking them . I fail to see any racist remarks.

    3. Andrew

      Another creeping Irish trait. looking for offense at every opportunity. Nothing racists about this light-hearted piece. Get a grip!

      1. ahjayzis

        Any fupping excuse to bring up historic injustices neither party were actually alive to witness or carry responsibility for so they can pleasure themselves to vicarious victimhood.

        The guy’s probably working class, his ancestors probably didn’t fare all that well with the English aristocracy either. But noooooo…

      1. tbone

        Rascim : the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races…..

        “One thing that has always struck me about Irish people is their incessant need to continually fill the air with mindless chitter-chatter.” I’m probably more annoyed I read this, boring non-entertaining, unfunny piece!

  3. ahjayzis

    Fun read!

    I have all sorts of misunderstandings with my Eastender housemates regarding the nature of hot presses the like which always end in me retorting YAWWW NOT MY MUVVVAAAAAHHHH!

    On the flip side, I really hate the Londoner greeting “You okay?”, for about a year I thought I must look fierce shook, now, as everyone was asking me was I okay. Yes I’m okay.

    1. Kieran NYC

      “I really hate the Londoner greeting “You okay?””

      That really threw me too. Why… wouldn’t I be? Is there something I don’t know?!

    2. :-Joe

      Hahaha…….. splutter, that’s a scary reminder of the past…

      ( Sound of glass shattering within a hundred metre radius of character on set and the TV in front of me)

      Yer, wot is it?… You oh.. kay.. BIIIIIAAAAAHHNNNNKKKHHAAAAAAAAAAA !!!!!!!!!!

      Why some Irish people wanted to watch that so often.. I’ll just never understand?


  4. Dave

    I’m always amazed when English people don’t understand other dialects of their own language. It’s makes them seem very insular.

    1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

      Yeah, it’s funny how people wholive in one country don’t understand the evolution of language in a completely different country. What a bunch of idiots!

      1. newsjustin

        It’s not that Ross doesn’t understand it, it’s that he seems (faux) amazed that such a thing might happen.

        1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

          What is wrong with being amazed by the world? Have you lived overseas before? I’m on my 5th country and counting (oo look at me). You can read as many blogs/articles whatever before you go, nothing will completely prepare you being there until you are there. This is no more than what every immigrant does, which is “hey, isn’t that interesting/weird, what’s that about, I find it confusing but I’ll work it out, it’s not you guys, it’s me”. I see my own experience in this, nothing faux about it.

          1. newsjustin

            It’s faux for the purposes of a “funny” article was my point.

            I meant that he was amazed that it could possibly exist (another take on the English language). There’s nothing wrong with being excited and delighted by differences though.

            I’ve lived in 3 different countries. I’ve yet to be amazed that they speak differently.

          2. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

            Though if I am, can I be the Victorian wonder that is Bazalgettes sewer works? Those are epic.

          3. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

            I’m not, no. GUESS AGAIN CALLER

            Disappointed I can’t be Victorian sewer works though.

        2. ahjayzis

          He’s not amazed, he’s written a humorous description of the phenomenon. You’d not bat an eyelid if he wasn’t English.

          1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

            Good point.

            Is news, noted fighter of anti-Church bigotry in fact bigoted against the English?! Join us at 12 for more on this developing story.

          2. Neilo

            @Don – Antipodean? Kiwi!

            @ahjayzis – agree wholeheartedly. Laughing hoop off at EastEnders bit above.

    1. Niamh

      I’m never surrendering ‘I’m after doing x, y, z, etc.’ It describes your position with perfect preciseness. i mean ‘I’ve done x, y, z’ – but, what? In the distant past? Near past? Consider the difference between ‘I feel in that lake’ and ‘I’m after falling in that lake’. The second is so much more dynamic.

  5. Eamonn Clancy

    It’s called Hiberno English. Derives from the tongue your ancestors forced on us, we made use of it, won a few nobel prices here and there for literature. Ring any bells?

      1. mildred st. meadowlark

        “Cold-blooded murder of the English tongue”

        Name that quote ladies and gentlemen!

  6. rotide

    Alright geeze? Gordon bennet. you’ve only gone and nailed it. knocked me off my plates, couldnt adam it brahv


  7. Catherine McEntee

    Hi Ross, I’ve never understood the ramblings of cockney rhyming slang jibber jabber or the expressions “Me old mucker” , ” Cor blimey” and “Old blighty”.

    May have been a mistake to post your picture me old tulip.

    1. Ross

      Hey Catherine,

      This was an article I wrote for my work newsletter for a laugh and sent in to here by my Mrs without me knowing.

      Feel free to pop to Dublin 2 as you now know my face and I can give you some Cockney rhyming slang lessons me old mucka!

      1. forfeckssake

        The language is called Irish. Please just call it Irish. Not Gaelic, Gaelic Irish, Irish Gaelic or anything else.

        1. moould

          you are wrong. the correct term is Irish Gaelic so as to distinguish it from Scots Gaelic and Manx Gaelic and of course the simple adjective Irish

      2. Catherine McEntee

        @ Ross

        Lol, I will – only if you have Chas & Dave playing ‘Down To Margate’ and a cup o’ rosy lee waiting on me :-)

        The comment about your picture came from a good place….

      3. Anne

        “This was an article I wrote for my work newsletter for a laugh and sent in to here by my Mrs without me knowing. ”

        That’s a bit fupped up.. innit.

    2. ahjayzis

      Tricolour plastered about them. Check.

      Vague threat to random English guy. Check.

      Scumbag on deck. Watch out Ross, she’ll sling her can of Dutch at ya.

        1. Catherine McEntee

          @ Kieran

          Neither did you, holed up in your bedroom way over in the arseho!e of nowhere in the Weshhhht pretending you’re in the big apple – you haven’t the balls to emigrate.

          Being ajaysis’ b*tch is about the height of your accomplishments.

  8. ironcorona

    This would be great as a stand up comedy routine.

    Followed by 10 minutes on the differences between men and women (you know what I’m talking about guys, right?)

    Real fresh stuff.

  9. Mourinho

    Ah sure look
    Ah grand
    Ah now
    Ah now isn’t that grand
    Ah go away
    Ah maybe
    Ah would ye ever go and f…

  10. Kolmo

    ‘Wan’ for female comes from the French, don’t you know, as does the ‘Pan’ in Sliced Pan (Pain), be de hokey.

    Gasún – from garçon

    ‘Now’ thing, maybe it’s short for “Now, here we are, in this particular situation in which we find ourselves in”

    1. Kieran NYC

      Hurr durr let’s make them say a slang word they don’t know and we’re so clever and funny.

    2. :-Joe

      Hahaha…. I’ve done that one too..

      To an English friend going into a shop…
      – “Grab me a geebag while you’re in there… Just say a large one at the counter and don’t worry they’ll know what you mean.”

      I also had to say “don’t worry it’s a sandwich”.

      10 mins later.. “You faak’n leprechaun’s c**t..”

      A large geebag sandwich please…

      Ahhh.. classic gag…


  11. Niamh

    Seamus Heaney’s Hiberno-English Beowulf begins with ‘Now’ – the original Old English word is hwaet’, and this was traditionally, in English, translated as ‘what ho’, or something similar (like ‘listen up’, or ‘hark’, or something like that). So it’s a bit like ‘tally ho’.

    I don’t think I could like without exclaiming ‘NOW’ before I begin anything. It involves everyone in the room in your dull task/sandwich/opinion.

  12. DubLoony

    People speak differently in different countries.
    We do chatter on though.

    Have London cousins who add a yeah? to the end of every question & expect you to nod in agreement. My neck hurts after about 10 mins with them.

    1. Kolmo

      That ‘yeah’ thing is a melt, a colleague who had spent some time in London and acquired a cockney affectation did it all the time, it like seemed obnoxiously aggressive, and he had to be told.

    1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

      If he dreams big, he could get a International Buzzfeed listicle!!

    2. Mikeyfex

      Not meant as a dig at Ross, he’s not to know we’ve heard it all before. And sorry to Ross about those who got offended, that’s their problem.

  13. Casey

    Fukkenn offen homeum then. Problem solved.
    Although you come.across as the type.that would whinge anywhere.
    Hopefully one day they will make it an Olympic event and there will be a value to your sprouting

    1. Ross

      Think you’ve missed the point. No whinging here, I’m embracing the irishisms!

      Still working on my German though, fücken offen…..

  14. Nigel

    So it turns out some of us can be fairly prickly and sensitive and mean-spirited when we think we’re being slagged. Oh dear.

  15. Spaghetti Hoop

    Dialects and colloquialisms tend to add to the charm of a place and its people. Maybe ’tis time loike to either accept it or LAVE IT.

  16. whut

    there’s a little bit of an air of guffawing at the silly paddies about it. i dont think he means it like that at all, but we’ve had it for so long that it grates on us a bit. so dont be offended by the backlash you’re getting, Ross, we’ve just been having brits come over laughing at us for a looooooong time now.

    1. Ross

      I take no offence and I’m not laughing at your expense. Was merely a light hearted look at the phrases I’m trying to get my head around in the office!

      The article wasn’t even written to be published. It’s my piece for an internal newsletter in work, little did I know it would be sent here so.

      1. Catherine McEntee

        @ Ross

        Look up Nob Nation on Youtube, might clarify some things for you

        Monaghan man is my favourite

    2. Scundered

      The Irish love having a go at the English (look at any sports event here) and then get totally freaked out should they do the same in return. That’s all that is going on here, harmless banter, Ross is obviously not responsible for whatever offensive stereotypes that were cast in the past, therefore to try and play that card in this thread is fuppin ridiculous.

  17. Junkface

    That was funny actually, imagining hearing “Now” 50 times a day in a large office before having the tea.

  18. some old queen

    Ha. Poor Ross hasn’t even ventured up north yet.

    Every thing is WEE. For absolutely no reason. Describes nothing.

    Would you like a wee cup of tea? ‘No I’d like a normal sized one tnx’. *Confused look*.

    See that wee lad over there? Said ‘wee’ lad is 6’4 and about 18 stone.


  19. Liam Deliverance

    Ross, you never know, you might get a book out of it.

    Also, your missus sent it in without telling you?, she must be Irish?!

    1. Casey

      Tell you what. Do another whinges fest, on your wife this time, and send it in without telling her.

      Oh, how the two of you will look back on this and laugh….

  20. Jake38

    “One thing that has always struck me about Irish people is their incessant need to continually fill the air with mindless chitter-chatter…”

    Good god, has he ever heard the english, ending every sentance with “,,,,’awrightthen…”

      1. Anne


        You can play etcha sketch in life, but when your moaniness is here in black and white every friday, you can’t be throwing those sort of accusations around willy nilly.

        1. Frilly Keane

          Well now Anne

          You were more than welcome to sub in for me

          In fact you tuned your arse to the offer

          So FRO

          1. Catherine McEntee

            @ Frilly

            She couldn’t have done it as she’d have to come up with her own material – no relentless copy and pasting. Also, any critisism would have brought on one of her brattish tantrums and she’d be fking everyone from a height ;-}

          2. Anne

            In fact you tuned your arse to the offer

            I musta missed something.. I’ve not had a chance to get on here as of late.. I’ve been on a foreign mission. Can’t discuss.
            I woulda tuned me arse if I’da known about it.

            I’ve a bit of catching up to do.. I do get some good lols from the abuse you get.. Sorry, can’t be helped.

          3. Catherine McEntee

            @ Frilly

            That’s it, she only comes on here to pull an argument out of someone, as she did with you and me yesterday, then slinks off when we call her out on it – miserable way of going on.

          4. Anne

            I forget me quotations for the bit you said..

            I’ve loads to say.. Catherine is an aul moany do-gooder. I talk about tax credits for mothers on maternity leave on one of your posts (that it’s presumed they’re getting full pay) and she hasn’t a bull’s notion of what I’m talking about (either did you by the looks of it) . She wants to tell me about the joys of babies, of looking into their eyes and seeing the innocence and some other sorta nonsense. Go sell crazy some place else like. CTRL C, CTRL v for revenue and citizen’s information is to help ye out, ye twits. Do I get a thanks for it?

            Links or you just pulled it out of your arse like. Facts are good.

          5. Frilly Keane

            Ah would ya give over Anne

            Empty Shirt
            No Trousers
            That’s you

            Gotta go now
            Some savage waves are looking for me

            Btw, if any wave watchers are about
            The best swell we’ve seen here on the East Coast since ’09’s (mini) Hurricane Bill

          6. Catherine McEntee

            @ Anne

            On that particular thread you rambled on bitterly about women you’d worked with having baby after baby, being paid maternity leave and then leaving while poor old you had no paid leave for being a singleton.

            I love children in general, not just my own, you wouldn’t understand that as it doesn’t involve ‘me, myself and I’ mentality – you’d actually have to give simething of yourself other than bile.

          7. Anne

            Go back and read it again. Tax dear. Mostly about tax. I didn’t agree with how tax for mothers on maternity leave was being worked out by revenue. I already explained what they were doing, but you can’t understand it, can you?

            To spell that out for you, that would be me being supportive of mothers. Learn to just read the words in front of you. Not what you imagine. And I’m not single. Trot along now.. It’s great you sprouted a few out. How’d ya do it at all? Well done you.

          8. Catherine McEntee

            @ Anne

            You copy and pasted a few bits about tax- whoopedee doodah – go you!!!!

            What you’d like to be forgotten is the nasty attitude you began with on that thread – no matter how much you copy and pasted after your little selfish rant, you couldn’t backtrack and erase the dark angle you’d originally commenced on.

          9. Anne

            okie doke Catherine…


            I’ll leave that there for you.. mind the dark angles!!!! !!!

            Try and get your wee head around it. You might be able to pass on useless information to some women sometime, instead of the ‘ I had babies, they’re wonderful, I love all babies, you wouldn’t understand’ nonsense

            See when people understand if they’ve been taxed too much, they can get it back. They don’t come looking for you to give it back to you like. Ja get it?

            By the way, clawback clauses have been added to some women’s employment contracts, so you don’t see situations where women have a few babies then leave a company.. it’s considered fair practice. Not dark angles. That means, they usually have to put in a certain amount of time with the company.

            There’s nuance involved in most situations. It’s not all black and white. You can be supportive of most women availing of maternity leave, but critical of some scenarios – i.e. the ones who have back to back pregnancies, then leave a company.

            Just read the words in front of you. Try and take it in!!!

          10. Catherine McEntee

            @ Anne

            I was well aware of the tax implications – it wasn’t news to me, most people with families are familiar with it all.

            I’m away to meet one of my beautiful daughters for lunch now, catch you later.

            Enjoy your day darling, toodles x

          11. Anne

            most people with families are familiar with it all.

            It’s nothing to do with having a family… it’s maternity leave benefit. Taxable since July 2013.

            And on what basis would you say most people with families are familiar with ‘it’? You’re starting to sound a bit condescending about having spouted a few out again..

            ‘It’ being the tax implications for women getting maternity leave benefit, made taxable since 2013, and on the presumption from the revenue commissioners that women receive full pay, therefore they are deducting their tax credit from their maternity benefit and affecting their standard cut off point?

            You’re full of sh*te Catherine. Any pregnant women I’ve talked to isn’t aware of it. Most people haven’t a bull’s notion about tax.

            Mind those dark angles!!

          12. Catherine McEntee

            @ Anne

            ‘Having a family’ as in having had children.

            Find someone else to entertain you now darling xxxxxxxxx

  21. Mike Baldwin

    I’ve worked with London clients for years and the one that gets me is ‘What it is yeah?’…….proceed with explaining the issue’ *affect Danny Dyer tone when saying it,….

  22. :-Joe

    Bunch – A – bleedin shy – hawks, de hole bleedin lor-ov-ye….. So ye arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…………… rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…………………….. .rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr………… rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…………. rrrrggghh!

    You’re all part of a group made up of untrustworthy and opportunistic people who are carefully looking around and waiting for the right moment to strike with their tongues which will possibly cause problems for others and most likely yourselves, all of you.
    Yes It’s true that you are…. rrrr…. rrr…. etc.

    Cockney -esque version:
    Faaakk’in geezer’s an’ tw@ts, the whole bleedin lot of ye, ye?
    Ye, that’s what you are, you lot ov’a der….

    Lov-ely-jubi-lee…. Rodney you pillock !


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