Jul. 23rd, 2008

jofish22: (Default)
My friend Caitlin is currently travelling around Ireland. Because of this, I felt I should give her some advice on how to behave, and I thought that other readers might find this useful.

Ireland is becoming an increasingly common location for Americans to visit on holidays. Ireland is a land seeped in culture, and as such it's important to be aware of social norms as so not to offend. The following advice should improve the experience of any American visiting Ireland.

1. It is seen as very rude not to greet people you meet in the street before noon with "Top o' the morning to you!" It's also polite to tip your hat to people at the same time, or, if not wearing one, to gently pat your forehead as a substitute.

2. It is also very rude to leave a social gathering, such as being in a pub, without explaining why you're going. It is also appropriate to invite others to leave for the same reason at the same time. Of course, it's also important to use the right terms. The following are all acceptable reasons:
- Going for a nap, or "wank"
- Going out for a snack, or "a shag"
- Going for some fresh air, or "a snog"
So for example, you might say "Well, I'm going to pop around the corner for a shag. Back in five minutes. Anyone want to join me?"

3. The term "leprechaun" has come to mean "a real, true Irishman". As in "So you were born and bred in Dublin? You're a real leprechaun, eh?"

4. Ireland's nickname, "The Emerald Isle", is because of the large number of emeralds that are found in mountains and in streams across the land. It's perfectly acceptable and shows respect for Ireland's heritage to stop by any body of water and "look for emeralds", even briefly.

5. Ireland's growing economy became known as "The Celtic Tiger". To show your enthusiasm for Ireland's economy, you should respond "Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!" whenever anyone says that phrase.

6. Dubliners like to think of their city as being small and intimate, despite its size. They will appreciate you pointing out its village-like nature, and the way that, unlike other capital cities, it has a rustic charm without being contaminated by a sense of being international and cosmopolitan.

7. If travelling around the country, you will encounter several different local stouts, including Beamish in Galway and Murphy's in Cork. Needless to say, these are imitations of the Dublin-based Guinness, and the highest compliment you can give, upon tasting one of these beers, is to exclaim that it "Tastes just like Guinness!"

8. When being served a pint of Guinness (or any of the aforementioned local stouts), it will often be covered with a white cap of foam. That foam is taking the place of beer that you've paid for! To show that you're no ignorant tourist, just blow said foam off onto the bar counter, and then ask the bartender to top up your pint. They'll be happy to do so now that you've shown you know what's what.

9. The "Irish Car Bomb", a shot of Jamesons in a pint of Guinness, is the national drink of Ireland, and should be ordered frequently to show your appreciation for your host country.

10. It's always good form to use local phrases to show that you've being paying attention to people around you. For example, you might say that something is "Good like Bono!", who is a national hero, or, if surprised, exclaim "Fuck the pope!"

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