‘You Moulting Desert Ram’: 12 Early Irish Insults


Detail form the Book of Kells

This colourful collection of Irish insults dates from the Early Medieval era and is primarily based on the period’s satirical poetry and prose. The insults are sourced from the electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language  which in this instance relies heavily on Róisín McLaughlin’s ‘Early Irish Satire‘.

1 ‘you moulting desert ram‘ (a reithi folta fasaigh ar fiadh)

2. ‘you ugly, case-carrying, cold-handed bag carrier!’ (a thíagánaig étig aitig úarlámaig!)

3. ‘you grandson of a ploughman [who is] filthy like a badger’ (uí airim brocṡalaig)

4. ‘you flea-ridden woodcock‘ (a chrebair chuilig)

5. ‘you son of a stammering, surly, puffed-up foreign woman‘ (mac ro boí oc gaillsig goit grúcbuirr)

6. ‘you sallow … bog-barren one‘ (a apaide acaite anachluim)

7. ‘you greedy voracious ox‘ (a chonadmairt chícaraig)

8. ‘you comb of a castrated cockerel, smoky-coloured, bent and crooked‘ (a ulcha gaillín detbudánaig cúarlúpánaig)

9. ‘you pitch on the rim of a goblet‘ (a bí ar burd ardáin)

10. you ‘boiled cow’s udder‘ (uth bo bruithi)

11. you are ‘dark and crooked, harsh and wrinkled, harsh and pot-bellied‘ (doburlúpánaig bodurgrúcánaig bodurmétlánaig)

12. you ‘horn of an infertile cow‘ (adarc bó rodraige)



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9 Responses to ‘You Moulting Desert Ram’: 12 Early Irish Insults

  1. Ric Kolseth September 15, 2015 at 7:52 pm #

    Your mother smells of elderberries….

    • Brigitte September 15, 2015 at 10:37 pm #

      Ric, you beat me to it!

    • G Val September 19, 2015 at 2:41 pm #

      Actually, your mother was a hamster!
      ‘Twas your father smelt of elderberries!

  2. A Teare March 27, 2016 at 3:11 pm #

    The comments section title is misleading. I was actually hopeing for responses to ‘you moulting desert ram’.

    I don’t have any comeback for that.

    • Larry Kistler April 20, 2017 at 2:45 pm #

      At least it’s only once a year but you, you stinking scroat of a hairy monster are stuck with the monthly rut!

  3. Elaine Salvino April 28, 2016 at 4:25 pm #


    • Elaine Salvino April 28, 2016 at 4:28 pm #

      Correction IS/WAS.

  4. Roz April 20, 2017 at 8:12 am #

    And then there’s the long list in Nell Flaherty’s Drake 😄


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