Understanding The Irish No

I’m a New Yorker who married an Irish man & we now live in the west of Ireland. There are a lot of huge changes that I’ve gotten used to after moving from NYC to rural Ireland. But, one change that still baffles me is the complex meaning of the word no. For those of us who weren’t born in Ireland, understanding the Irish no can be quite tricky.


A little background on Irish culture as I see it. Irish people are polite, kind & generous. They don’t like to impose or create a fuss, even if they are uncomfortable or actually want what you are offering them. So, they answer no to pretty much every question you ask them – even if they really mean yes! This is understood by all Irish people & they know how to respond.


Say you had a BBQ and the smoke was blowing into your guests face making his eyes water. You