The Irish have a word for a good time. “What’s the craic?” I’ll resist the obvious jokes. I asked this question to several people I ran into during my unofficial pub crawl and it seems that the word is difficult to translate. Used in a sentence it goes something like “What was the craic last night?” or “Let’s go have some craic” and “That’s the craic, is it?
It’s easy enough to find the etymology of the word. It can be traced back directly to an olde English word:
craic : used in Ireland for fun/enjoyment, often when mixed with alcohol and/or music. The word is actually English in origin; it entered into Irish from the English “crack” via Ulster Scots. The Gaelicised spelling craic was then reborrowed into English.
Ok, so that’s is the literal meaning of the word, but what is the actual meaning as used by your average Irish man, or Irish woman, in the pub today. Of course I wanted to fit in, so I asked around to find the real meaning of the word.
“It means to go out, have a pint or four with your friends”
“…you know…fun…music and drinkin…”
“It’s indefinable…it is just something you have to experince”
and my favorite…
“If you have to ask, you’ll never know. Let me buy you a pint”
A couple of pints later, I think I got it. The Irish are love having a good time so much, they have their own unique word for it. The craic is something you just have to let happen to you.