In a past post, I discussed the importance of sociolinguistics – how culture ties into language – and to continue that conversation, I’d like to share culture guides for various countries around the world to help you make your travels and language learning that much more enjoyable.
I’ve partnered with Kuperard to create this series and I’m really excited to share a few cultural tidbits about different countries. Here are 9 interesting facts about Irish culture.
1 // Fluent Irish speakers sometimes wear a badge
It says fainne and it is a little gold badge that is worn on the lapel. It indicates that the wearer is a fluent Irish speaker or, at the very least, a willing speaker of the language.
2 // The arts in Ireland are impressive
The Irish have a strong history of scholars, writers, poets, and playwrights. They also have their own impressive mythology which makes for a fascinating read. I recommend this book as an introduction to Irish mythology.
3 // Traditional music
As a musician, I, of course, had to include this one. Traditional music can often be heard in pubs throughout Ireland, and some are even open to those looking to sit in (but not all). Music is a big part of Irish culture – so much so that the Irish harp is even a national symbol.
4 // When you’re at the pub, buy a round for those you’re chatting with if they include you in a round.
If you’re bought a pint by someone at a pub, stick around to buy the next round. It isn’t required, per se, but it is polite and will be appreciated by those you’re chatting with.
5 // The use of vulgar language
The use of vulgar language isn’t common amongst the Irish, but they are clever in word use to get around this (replacing vowels to soften words).
6 // The Troubles
It’s a subject better steered clear from in conversations in many cases.
7 // Getting to Know One Another
First names are standard for introductions regardless of class or age differences with the exception of prests or nuns who are always “Father this or Sister that”, respectively.
8 // Greeting
Shaking hands is the norm, but hugging is okay amongst friends (but not super common). Personal space is quite respected amongst Irish.
9 // Mind Your Manners
Please, thank you and good old-fashioned manners go a long way in making a good impression.
This guide was assembled with the support of Culture Smart! Ireland. The Culture Smart books by Kuperard publishers are a part of a series of nearly 100 titles. You can purchase the books on Amazon and learn more about the company here.
What about you? What are some fun cultural facts you’ve learnt about the places and languages that you’re studying? Leave me a note in the comments below!