Being a guest in Ireland

Written by Marleen September 2012. Posted in Being a guest, Int. Skills

Being a guest in Ireland

When you are a guest of an Irish person, there are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind.

If you ask a random person what is the first that comes to mind when you think about Ireland, they will probably say, Guinness, pubs and leprechauns. Actually, most people do not have a clue about the real Ireland. They think Ireland is an extension of the UK even though it is not even part of it. People who are more familiar with the real Ireland will of course tell you that Ireland has beautiful pubs and lovely stout, but most of all they will tell you that the Irish are some of the friendliest and most hospitable people in Europe.

When you are a guest of an Irish person, there are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind. Ireland has a hostile past with England and the Irish are proud of their country with its own culture. So do not talk too much about England and do not call the Irish ‘English’. And definitely do not make the mistake to confuse them with the Scottish. Also you should avoid discussions regarding the relationship between Ireland and Northern Ireland as these two countries have not had a nice relationship for the last centuries.

If you’re meeting Irish people for a business purpose or for an informal reason, a very simple rule is applicable regarding the greeting: shake everyone’s hand, even that of children, as they are often also included in events. The same is expected when saying goodbye. For business partners it is not usual to bring a gift. but when you visit someone’s home it will be very much appreciated.

As soon as you visit Ireland you will experience that the Irish are very open-minded and that humour is part of their daily lives. Don’t consider a direct comment as rude but try to take it with humour. Before you depart to Ireland, dive into your imagination and think up some interesting and fascinating stories. The Irish are real story tellers and listeners. It is a good way to socialise and they will definitely appreciate it if you use your imagination and tell stories as well.

When you visit Ireland there is a very decent chance that you will also visit a pub. No knowledge of any special etiquette is necessary; just have fun and keep in mind that when you visit the pub with a group, every time it’s another person’s turn to get drinks. During conversations you will notice that the Irish are often very courteous and attentive listeners but they do tend to interrupt you quite easily. It’s also important to know that refusing a drink in Ireland might be considered as rude.

Overall, Irish are easygoing and hospitable people. If you have the same attitude and you keep the word fun in mind at all times, you will experience that a pleasant relationship with Irish is easy and very enjoyable.