Irish Culture

Do's and Don'ts

Primary Author
Chara Scroope,

Do’s

  • Try to be receptive to humour as the Irish appreciate good banter, and joking is a great way of establishing rapport.
  • Engage in conversation topics about the arts in Ireland (e.g. literature and music), sport, one's place of origin and family.
  • Be aware of pub etiquette. Try to observe others when in doubt about how you should behave.
  • If someone ‘slags’ you (teases or jokingly insults), try to reply with good humour and show you are not disconcerted by it. Humour is a common communicative tool in Ireland and slagging is usually not ill-intended.
  • The topic of Northern Ireland and the role of the UK in Irish politics is not necessarily taboo. However, do approach this conversation topic with a high degree of sensitivity and willingness to listen to your counterpart.

 

Don’ts

  • Do not refer to those from the Republic of Ireland as ‘British’. Similarly, do not refer to Ireland as the United Kingdom and vice versa. These are two distinct countries with differing cultures.
  • Avoid making assumptions about whether people from Northern Ireland identify as either ‘British’ or ‘Irish’. National identity can be a very sensitive subject for some, and Northern Irish identity is both culturally and legally complex. Thus, when referring to someone, it is best to refer to them as Northern Irish or as being from Northern Ireland.
  • Avoid stereotyping your Irish counterpart. Referring to stereotypes or clichés will not be well received, particularly stereotypes relating to alcohol and drunkenness.
  • Try not to dominate a conversation, be aggressive or overly . This can be interpreted as being pretentious and impolite.

Get a downloadable PDF that you can share, print and read.

Guaranteed secure stripe badge

A unified, searchable interface answering your questions on the world's cultures and religions

Sign up for free