When Irish eyes aren’t smiling

As soon as they’ve got it straight in their heads which bit of Ireland is a republic and which isn’t, it would appear that there’s one more conversational gaffe for visiting anglers to avoid:

“One thing I quickly learned was to not call my guide a ‘ghillie,’ which Americans use to mean fishing guide but which literally means ‘servant’ in Ireland. As another old-time guide told me over an evening pint, “You can call me ‘Hey, you,” or you can call me ‘sport,’ or you can call me a guide, but don’t you nay call me (expletive deleted) ‘ghillie'”.

An implicit threat of an ear-bending that would surely be rather tough luck on anyone who, like me, simply interprets “ghillie” as “person who’s forgotten more about fishing than I’ll ever know and in whose presence I will therefore do rather more listening than talking.”

Presumably, anyone working for the Government in Ireland is known as a ‘civil sport’.


How to clean your fly reel


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