Irish Culture


Primary Author
Chara Scroope,

Basic Etiquette

  • People will often say ‘please' and ‘thank you.' For example, when getting off a bus, most people will thank the driver.
  • Irish will usually queue in a line and wait their turn to be served.
  • In a social setting, it is polite to shake hands with people when you first see them and again when you are leaving.
  • When driving in rural areas, it is proper etiquette to acknowledge other drivers. This is by either raising a hand or a finger from the steering wheel.
  • When ending a conversation on the phone, the Irish will usually say ‘bye’ multiple times before they hang up. It is considered impolite to end the call abruptly by saying ‘bye’ once and hanging up immediately. 
  • It is rude not to take off your hat when entering a home, church or pub.
  • The Irish are relatively flexible with their time, so it is generally acceptable to arrive 15 minutes after the designated time. That being said, avoid being late if it puts your Irish counterpart in a compromising position.

Pub Etiquette

  • Visiting pubs is a popular social activity for people of all ages. It’s a common meeting place for friends and family.
  • Many people go to the pub to gather for a conversation. Sometimes this happens by running into a friend or acquaintance. 
  • People are allowed to go to pubs before they reach the legal drinking age (18 years old). Thus, it is common to find children in pubs, especially in rural areas where there are music sessions.
  • If going to the pub in the evening, people will dress a bit more formally. For example, men will wear dress shoes instead of sneakers. 
  • When in the company of friends at a pub, a system known as ‘rounds’ is used. Each person is expected to offer to buy a round of drinks for everyone in their group and take turns.
  • Often, people will remember if you miss your round. It can result in an unfavourable judgement of your character. Those who fail in offering to buy a round might be seen as rude or .


  • ‘Calling by’ (visiting) is common. Typically, if one wants to visit someone, they will ask in advance. 
  • Visiting people is most common during holidays, especially in the time between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
  • If invited to an Irish home, try to be punctual. If you will be late, let your host know. 
  • If you are visiting for a meal, offer to help the host clean up after the meal.


  • The main meal is dinner, which is in the evening.
  • When possible, a family will sit down together to share their dinner.
  • Table manners are quite informal and relaxed. However, there are a couple of etiquette customs to follow.
  • Avoid putting your elbows on the dinner table.
  • Loud noises while eating, such as slurping, are generally not acceptable at the dining table.
  • It is considered polite to finish all the food on your plate.
  • To say cheers, most Irish will say ‘sláinte’ (pronounced ‘slan-cha’).

Gift Giving

  • When invited to a friend's or relative's home, it is common to bring a small gift (e.g. flowers, wine or chocolates) as a token of appreciation.
  • Gifts are typically exchanged on birthdays and Christmas.
  • The thought of a gift is considered more important than its material worth.
  • Gifts are usually opened when received.

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