I remember the first day I said quare in college. I knew people in the west of Ireland had a different way of doing things, but I felt secure that I could not be that dissimilar to these westerners. Yet I got the strangest of looks from everyone around me as soon as I opened my gob and in my dirtiest, flattest Carlow accent I said it, ‘Quare savage’. No one had a clue what I was saying. Poor innocent Carlow girl that I was, I thought it was the type of slang that was known all over the country. or that people could at least guess what it meant. But everyone was completely unfamiliar with it. Some gaped with their mouths open, others presumed they misunderstood me, while a couple of people said that it was not even a word. My poor little first year self, how red I turned and how pathetic my little explanations seemed.
So what the hell does it mean!?!
To get technical about it, where I come from, Carlow, (or Carla as it sounds like when we speak) quare is an adverb. Like really or very. All those websites that tell you it means great and then use it incorrectly in a sentence, yea, they are wrong, in case you didn’t cop that already. I am not lying, quare quare is used where I come from. I don’t know how or why, but this is what it means. That’s just how we use it. It’s a little bit of our own culture on this lovely island unique to us scallion eaters (yes that is what you call Carlovians).It isn’t really used anywhere else in the same way (Probably should have warned past Aoife about this before she mortified herself). But surely we can’t be the only ones! There must be are more among us that can understand my pain when it comes to this word, not just those of you that grew up or have lived in Carlow!
I know a lot of you are reading this and saying ‘Oh yea sure, of course I know that word, it’s how you describe people who are slightly odd.’ Or ‘it’s how culchies say queer’. Obviously there are those other meanings to it as well. I am well aware that in a lot of other places the word is used in those contexts. But this is such a negative way of understanding it. In a world where we want more equality and more understanding for everyone should we all be using words differently? Using quare as an alternative to really seems much nicer and positive. Words always change meanings, I am sure slang words are no exception to that, so why not use quare in a nice way people? Whether you are from Carlow Carla or Carna, Quare is a quare good word! Lets use it the Carlow way from now on.