Open main menu




  This entry lacks etymological information. If you are familiar with the origin of this term, please add it to the page per etymology instructions, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.

Alternative formsEdit


high nelly (plural high nellies)

  1. (Ireland, formerly derogatory, now nostalgic) An old-fashioned utility bicycle, especially one with a step-through frame and high handlebars providing an erect riding posture
    • 1989: Hugh Fitzgerald Ryan Reprisal: a novel, Wolfhound Press: →ISBN; p.208:
      there's an old bike out the back of the barracks. You're welcome to it. It's a bit of a high-nelly, and it needs new tyres, but it will get you around.
    • 1989 (Fall) Aidan Higgins. "Two from Ronda Gorge" in Four Quarters [issn 0015-9107] Vol.3 [2nd series] No.2 p.53:
      Now Julia Mahon. with two buckets of pigswill slung over the handlebars of her High Nelly, is off again to talk to her mother in St Michael's cemetery.
    • 2014 April 1: "Philo’s old high nelly to be lovingly restored"
      A HIGH Nellie bike once used by Irish rock icon Phil Lynott is being lovingly restored by a group of Carlovians, who are hoping to auction it to raise funds for a local cancer support group. Philomena Lynott found her much-loved 1930s bicycle rusting away in the garden shed and decided to put it to better use.
    • 2014 July 6: Tom Prendeville, "High Nelly bicycles making a comeback on the roads again" Sunday Independent
      Before the age of the motorcar, practically everyone in Ireland owned a High Nelly.