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The meaning of ‘shumpers’ and more in Aisling’s Irish glossary

Do you know what a 'Brown Thomas bag' is? Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen introduce some of the Irish phrases used in their bestselling book Oh My God, What A Complete Aisling

What a Complete Aisling glossary

Who wouldn’t almost have a heart attack at the thought of leaving the immersion on when I won’t be home ’til tomorrow?


Aisling’s best friend Majella is her polar opposite and the very definition of a hames. When Majella goes Out (or Out Out, the distinction is important; Out is a couple of sensible pints of Coors Light, Out Out is dancing ‘til 2am and falling asleep in a kebab) she will lose her phone as often as she loses her dignity. Aisling has never lost a phone in her life, although she still has it insured “just in case”.

Rose of Tralee

An Irish institution, the Rose of Tralee is the country’s nationally televised and hugely hyped Lovely Girls competition, which sees women travel from all over the world to compete in what organisers are very keen to emphasis is not a beauty pageant. You have to be under 27 to enter, and Aisling felt a pang of sadness on her 27th birthday that she would never grace the stage of the giant tent in Tralee as the Ballygobbard Rose to perform her party piece; a dramatic recitation of Irish poem Pangúr Bán. She’s been practising her wistful looks in the mirror since she was 11.


Action star Jason Statham once described Ireland’s national sport of hurling as “hockey mixed with murder” in an interview, and Aisling’s boyfriend John was so proud he shared it on Facebook - he usually only posts dutiful “happy birthday” messages. John’s a centre forward for the Knocknamanagh Rangers hurling team, meaning he plays an extremely fast and rough game of skill using a small rock-hard ball called a sliotar and a stick made of ash called a hurl. The female equivalent is called camogie, and it’s just as murderous.


Dublin has more watering holes than you can shake a hurl at, but if it’s a classic night of boogying you’re after, McGowan’s on the city’s northside is the place to be. Aisling is a McGowan’s regular. You’ll find her hoofing down the West Coast Coolers and the vodka and Diet Cokes (DIET Cokes) and minding the handbags. Songs that will get her on the floor include Single Ladies, Mr Brightside and C’est La Vie.

West Coast Cooler

A mix of white wine, sparkling water and fruit, West Coast Cooler is a classy beverage. Think Baby Cham. Plus, it only contains 2 WW points. Aisling likes hers with a class of ice; Majella likes hers with vodka. 

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