Guys, just before we get into this can I just say PADDY’S. Paddy’s, Paddy’s, Paddy’s. Never Pat’s. Never Patty’s. Thanks.
- “Do you know…?”
Ireland has a population of 4.5 million people. I may be mistaken but I believe this to be roughly the same size as one of those gigantic, terrifying American high schools. While my country is admittedly a shanty town in comparison to those North American monster-tropolises even so, we don’t ALL know each other in Ireland. The odds of me knowing that random Irish guy called Mike that you met four years ago are pretty slim. The odds decrease even more when you can’t remember his last name, where he came from or any discernible features apart from his Irishness. Also to be honest even if I DID know Mike, it’s likely I’ll lie and say I don’t, just because that’s the kind of shitty thing Irish people get a kick out of. Or it’s even more likely I’ll lie and say I do know Mike and make up some outrageous back story about him because that’s another shitty thing Irish people enjoy. Basically we enjoy lying.
- “OMG – Did you know about the Famine?”
Any non-Irish person speaking about Irish history to an Irish person is subject to our greatest scorn. Unless you have a PhD in Irish history or you personally time travelled and fought against the British in the War of Independence (in which case, good for you!) we don’t want to hear your take on it.
- All Other Dairy and Meat Produce
I may be biased but I firmly believe that Irish cheese, bread, butter, milk, chocolate, eggs and meat are the best in the world. Although we may adjust and force ourselves to make concessions in our new countries, we secretly hate most food that’s not Irish (exceptions are made for “fancy” foods like sushi, burritos and chicken wings – these things are actually best consumed outside of Ireland as we haven’t quite got the hang of them yet.) Irish immigrants have been known to go to obscene lengths and expenses to procure their favourite foods. If you’re looking for a hilarious new pastime, go into any Irish bar in the world and throw a pack of Galtee sausages in the door and watch madness ensue.
- Guinness Anywhere Outside of Ireland
Every time I order one I think maybe, maybe this one, maybe today will be the day. And then I taste it and my heart sinks back into that special pit of sadness reserved for Guinness related disappointments.
- Too Much Enthusiasm
Irish people are complex creatures. Despite being known to reveal highly personal details to strangers on the bus we also dislike people getting too emotional or being too eager about anything. It may hark back to our bleak history but we feel incredibly uncomfortable with overt displays of enthusiasm. We tend to be a pessimistic bunch and often try to deflect anything that can be perceived as vulnerability or egoism. Our tendency to downplay emotions and aspirations may be some ingrained coping mechanism built around fear of failure or, since traditionally Irish people were never taught about the “American Dream,” it may derive from not wanting to insult our family and peers by acting superior (being perceived to have “notions” about yourself is highly undesirable.) Whatever the cause other nationalities’ comfort with divulging their ambitions and passions strikes us as very odd.
- “I’m Irish Too!”
One thing Irish people love; it’s when people compliment our country. We appreciate when people want to join our lovely club by claiming Irish ancestry and this is perfectly acceptable if the person has pretty much any further information to back up their statement. If you tell an Irish person that you are also Irish, then the Irish person will inevitably ask you where your family are from. This isn’t any kind of test; where you’re is born is a huge part of Irish identity and we genuinely want to engage with people about their heritage. However, randomly bleating “I’m Irish too!” and having absolutely nothing with which to follow this statement will usually be met with poorly-concealed irritation.
- LOL – Top of the Morning!
We don’t say this. Don’t say this to us. It’s not funny. It’s not original. It’s nothing except embarrassing. It’s the equivalent of asking a French person if he wears a garlic garland around his neck. It’s basically four words that can be translated to: “Hi, I think repeating zenophobic banalities is hilarious because I’m really ignorant and boring and I have nothing of value to say! LOL!” See also: anything to do with lucky charms, leprechauns and potatoes.
- American TV
- Adjusting our Speech
This one is hard because it’s an absolute necessity when moving to a new country. As all immigrants know there’s a fine line between maintaining your cultural traditions and assimilating into a new country. Irish people can often feel isolated, frustrated and marginalised when they move to a new country because of how we talk and thus, to make life easier, it becomes necessary to change certain aspects of our speech. At work I had to learn to slow down and remove any phrases or words that I felt will be confusing or distracting to my colleagues. This is because I have chosen to live in a new country and not only did I feel I should make an effort to fit in but it meant I didn’t have to stop and explain myself every five minutes. It is common among Irish people to tone down our accents although it doesn’t mean we like it; it’s simply a sacrifice to be understood.
- Anyone mistaking us for Being British or Part of the UK.
I know this one is hard for anyone outside of Ireland to understand but here goes: The Republic of Ireland is an independent country that is in no way affiliated with the United Kingdom or Great Britain. Although many people in Northern Ireland define themselves as Irish, Northern Ireland is a separate country that IS part of the United Kingdom. The island of Ireland was ruled by the U.K. for hundreds of years and fought bitterly for independence. The topic is a sensitive one for Irish people who can often react strongly when Ireland is mistakenly considered a part of the United Kingdom. For shits and giggles take a look at this U.S. journalist who completely cannot understand Ireland’s position as an autonomous nation.
- Anyone trying to do an Irish Accent
Chances are your American/Canadian friends will give this a go after a couple of beers and chances are it will be terrible. Context really applies here and most Irish people don’t mind good-natured banter around their accent. However this shit can get real annoying, real fast when people continue to imitate our accents far longer than appropriate. So, to the person who’s gearing up to test out their Irish accent this Paddy’s Day, heed this advice: unless you’re close enough with your Irish friends to know they’re cool with it OR you’re the one person in the entire world who can pull it off (although I’ve never met you and I highly doubt you exist,) please keep your best diddly-i voice to yourself.
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