Irish Slang – Shanks Mare

old Irish man laughingSo you speak English. Why not travel to the land of saints and scholars where English has been lyrically embellished since the dark ages; a week or two in Ireland and I won’t even need a translation dictionary!

A few weeks of hearing your language dancing gracefully and coherantly across the Irish tongue might be more challenging than you think! Ireland may be a predominately english-speaking nation, but the thing that tickled my ears the most when I first moved here and that tends to confuse our stateside guests is some of the slang. So, below is the 40th (!!) in a series I’m publishing on some common Irish slang that used to confuse us when we first arrived.

Shanks Mare – Your legs.

I just heard this one yesterday. I was at a business meeting and this fella asks where I parked. I told him I lived in town and he says, “The shanks mare, eh?”. Seeing my confused look he patted his legs – he was asking me if I had walked to the meeting i.e.: taken the shanks mare.

You learn something new every day, I’ll tell ya!