When you are travelling to a new country you often want to experience the local culture and meet the people who make the country what it is. In this case, here are a few things to note when visiting Ireland and how you could strike up an interesting conversation and learn a few bits about our culture and how we have fun, or as we like to call it "The Craic"!
Irish people are known globally for one thing in particular and that is drinking. It's unfortunate to say but it is a fact we have embraced and made our own through the years. We love a pint or two, more like 10 actually, and having a laugh. Our reputation as a drunken nation is more on the cheerful, funny and good humoured side rather then the rough, rowdy and thuggish nature of some of our neighbours.
While visiting, you are bound to do a bit of sight seeing but here is a fun fact you probably didn't know. If you ask for directions from a local to go to your destination more often then now they will use a Pub as a reference point so you know you are on the right track. In fact some of my closest friends will literally have no clue where a place is until I reference the closest Pub and then magically they know exactly where I am talking about and can direct me straight there from the spot they are standing in. And I am no different. Next time you are here, give it a try and see what happens.
Another top tip, look up the GAA prior to your visit. This is our national sport and it is made up of 2 games, Hurling and Football (not soccer). There is fierce rivalry in Ireland when it comes to this topic in general and will often spark a passionate conversation from a local. A few bits to note here are as follows:
- - Footballs Top Teams are Dublin, Mayo and Kerry
- - Everyone hates Dublin "The Dubs" and wants to beat them every year
- - Hurlings Top Teams are Kilkenny, Tipperary, Clare and Cork
- - Everyone hates Kilkenny "The Kats" and wants to beat them every year
- - Hurling is a much faster and more violent game then football, and football is not soft by any means
- - You tube it and you will see
Now you are probably thinking where do I go to get a true reflection of what Ireland is like, what "the craic" is like and where to find the real locals. More often then not you are going to be recommended to head to the tourist spots by your hotel, like Templebar in Dublin or Eyre Square in Galway, but here is what you really need to do.
It's simple, when you arrive drop your bags, get out on a walk and stop in to a Pub on a corner or down a lane or something. Ask the barman for an Irish Coffee and some advice on where is best to go. The local barman is the best person to ask in any location around Ireland and wont steer you wrong. Chances are he has had a couple of pints on his lunch break and could well join you for one when he gets off if invited, its common enough!
Spoiler alert, Leprechauns don't exist!! I hate to break it to you but it is a fact. If you do happen to stumble across a small red haired Irish man that you cant really understand properly despite him speaking English, it would be a wise move to keep walking and not shout "There's a Leprechaun" and run towards him for a picture. He is more likely to punch you then get in a selfie, especially in Limerick!! We do love to have fun at our own expense but to be fair this particular reference can be taken a little too far at times.