Irish cultural customs hard to understand by non-Irish


You know that feeling when you meet someone from a different background, spend some time with them, and start noticing some very unique mannerisms about them? These things might surprise you quite a bit. When you go to a new country, you multiply that feeling by at least a thousand times. If that new country is Ireland, you’d probably be very surprised by their customs of thanking bus drivers or saluting magpies. But these are the most basic examples you can think of.  The deeper you delve into Irish culture and way of life, the more fascinating it gets.  Understanding the cultural significance of a particular customer can really put things into a new perspective for you as an outsider.

1.Irish humor

You’ve most probably heard of ‘the craic’ and wondered what that means. Simply put, it means to have fun. For the Irish, however, it has cultural meaning. Like most nations, the Irish have their unique type of humor that they take great pride in. There’s also a thing called “slagging” which basically means good-natured banter. This is a fairly common practice between people who are close, so it’s never something to get offended by.

2.Pub culture

Heading to a bar or a pub after work is not something unique to Irish culture, that’s for sure. However, the Irish pub is not just a place to go get inebriated. You can go to a fancy dress party in a pub, you can go listen to live traditional music or see a dancing performance. In other words, you can have some of the most authentic cultural experiences in an Irish pub. Let’s not forget about Guinness, which is definitely an Irish cultural trademark. So don’t be too surprised if your Irish friend asks you to go on a night out in a pub almost every evening.

3.Irish music and dance

Irish traditional music and dancing are kept alive and greatly celebrated by Irish people. If you go to Ireland, you’ll most definitely witness a traditional music session in a pub. A lot of pubs host trad sessions regularly. As for traditional dance, Dublin is the best place to go see a performance. There are pubs that host Irish dance parties or shows all year round. Why are Irish people so fond of dancing and why are there so many events dedicated to it, both for locals and for tourists? The roots of Irish dancing can be traced back to Celtic times, but its worldwide popularity can be traced to the dancing show Riverdance. Thanks to that show, people all around the world can now picture in their mind the complex rhythmic dance moves, and the unique Irish dance shoes and costumes when they hear the term Irish dance.

4.Irish death traditions & customs

Irish people have some interesting customs relating to death that might bewilder non-Irish people. First of all,  when a person dies, it is customary to put a death notice in the paper or broadcast it on the local radio station to notify mourners where to attend the wake or funeral. The Irish wake is also quite unusual in the sense that it is not solemn as we might expect. At the wake, friends and family usually gather and share memories and funny stories about the deceased.

5.Sports

Few nations are as passionate about sports as the Irish. Sports are a significant part of Irish culture and it has been so for many years. The most popular traditional sports are Hurling, Football and Camogie. In 1884 the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) was established in order to preserve and promote Irish sport. In Ireland, it is very common to watch sporting events regularly and root avidly for your favorite teams. If you’re attending a game in Ireland, be prepared for quite an intense cultural experience.