This is from 'Mothers and Sons' by Colm Toibin.

I met a whole load of fellows, they were after being in the pub.

I've never seen this kind before. I googled and looked up different dictionaries and found one in Merriam-Webster that seems to explain this.

I am trying to make a normal(?) sentence out of this.

I met a whole load of fellows, they had just been in the pub.

Is this right?

  • Please cite the dictionary by name.
    – TimR
    Dec 17, 2017 at 15:57
  • 1
    had just been is an idiomatic way to render that meaning.
    – TimR
    Dec 17, 2017 at 16:03
  • Yes, it's very much a peculiarly Irish construction. Your paraphrase is correct, though I've found that this construction can even be used in place of simple past tense, ie. 'they were in the pub'. Not being a native colloquial Irish speaker though, I could be wrong.
    – Igid
    Dec 17, 2017 at 17:54

1 Answer 1


As a native English speaker from the US, I've never seen anything like, "I met a whole load of fellows, they were after being in the pub." As others have said, it looks like that's an expression in Irish English.

I would say

"I met a whole load of fellows who had just been in the pub."

Your version is okay in terms of meaning, but you're comma splicing. (See https://owl.english.purdue.edu/engagement/2/1/34/)

  • It's not a written statement. It's a conversation. He is telling his mother that he met them. Sorry I didn't mention this. Thank you for posting an answer. Now, I can wrap this up.
    – whitecap
    Dec 18, 2017 at 0:56

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