Travel, Teach, Live in Europe and Middle East
Ireland is an island nation that lies in Western Europe, and is composed of two divisions of land – the Republic of Ireland, which takes up roughly five-sixths of the island, and Northern Ireland, which is a part of the United Kingdom. If you are planning to travel to Ireland, you’re in for a real treat, as Ireland has much to offer beyond great whiskey and tales of leprechauns and gold. The official language of Ireland is Irish, although most of the population speaks English. Irish, which is also called Irish Gaelic, is spoken mainly in Gaeltacht regions of the island, particularly in western Ireland. Understanding Irish culture and etiquette will help you to behave in Ireland so that you can act like a proper guest should.
Culture of Ireland
Ireland is a country that is rich in history and culture. Most Irish folks are members of the Roman Catholic Church, although the church’s role in the country has diminished somewhat in modern times. The Irish are known for their good sense of humor and their wit. Irish tend to be witty and eloquent speakers and they often rely on ironic or self-defeating humor. Slagging is a term for a common Irish custom of insulting one another without taking anything that is said personally, a practice which is somewhat like the western “roast” that is popular in American culture. Irish people love to socialize and entertain, and they are among the biggest party crowd in the world.
When visiting Ireland, be sure to follow these standard Irish rules of etiquette so that you are a well-behaved guest of this vastly beautiful island nation:
• A basic Irish greeting involves a handshake and a salutation. Eye contact should be maintained while greeting someone. Adults and older children should shake hands. An Irish greeting is friendly and warm and many times lead to conversations.
• Be punctual when meeting an Irish person for lunch, dinner, or any type of meeting. Punctuality is a quality that is revered among the Irish, as it shows your respect and regard for the other person.
• Avoid bragging or being too loud around the Irish, as they appreciate modesty and frown on those who toot their own “horns”. Never act superior.
• As a people, the Irish seem to view being polite above being truthful, which often leads the Irish to tell a half-truth rather than insult someone.
• Pay close attention when you are listening to an Irish speaker, since they often imply much beyond what is verbally being said.
• The Irish avoid confrontation and conflict whenever possible, and they use their wit and humor, as well as a show of good manners, to steer clear of trouble when at all possible.
Keep the above tips in mind when visiting Ireland and you should mesh with the locals just fine! Irish folks will go ‘above and beyond’ to get along with you and you should afford them the same courtesy.