1. You know all the words to the Home and Away opening theme.

Whether you watched the show or not is irrelevant, because when push comes to shove you can recite this catchy number word for word. Before your mate leaves for Oz, all the gang will be belting this one out at the top of their lungs down at the local boozer. CLOSER EACH DAY, HOME AND AWAY!

2. You’ll do almost anything “for the craic.”

Let’s begin this with a translation: “Craic” is our way of saying “fun!” You’re teetering towards staying off the beer for the night. Tomorrow’s a busy day at work and you have the sense to know the only consequence of a night of drinking is an almighty hangover the next day.

Shame your pals know you have the willpower of a fat kid giving up chocolate for lent. “Sure, go on, for the craic!” they say. Ten pints, two sloppy kebabs, and a night of debauchery later, you lie staring at your alarm clock wondering how you got home but knowing deep down that the craic must have been mighty.

3. You know the importance of tea.

Tea holds a distinct place at the heart of Irish culture. Don’t be confused with the recent surge of coffeeshops opening their doors — Ireland is a tea-drinking nation. Generations past and present have marvelled at the power of the beverage, finding it impossible to reject the offering of a cup. Citizens take ample pride in their tea-making abilities and have been known to judge others based solely on this skill. Some folks will pour their heart and soul out over a warm cup of tea, so pop the kettle on and let the banter flow.

4. You love to complain but never act on it.

Our general outlook on life is non-confrontational. We hate to be seen as the odd one out, or worse, be known as a moaner. So the steak you ordered medium rare came out well done. Why put the server through all the hassle of bringing it back to the kitchen and having the chef cook another one, when you can look at this as a perfect opportunity to see if your teeth are still in good-working order?

That Mohawk you wanted at the barber? Buzz cuts are in fashion and you were spending too much money on hair gel anyway. While approaching the cashier you briefly contemplate asking for the manager, but as the hairdresser asks if everything is okay, you force a smile and muster, “Ah yeah, it’s grand!”

5. You know the pain of The Wooden Spoon.

Children on television were disciplined by being sent to their room for the evening and eventually got a heartwarming speech on what they did wrong in the first place to warrant a punishment. How adorable! In Ireland the penalty for getting in trouble was receiving a few smacks of The Wooden Spoon somewhere on the leg/arse/“whatever they hit will do” area.

“Do you want me to get The Wooden Spoon?” was not a threat you took lightly and knew to toe the line there and then. It’s been 20 years since your last smack, yet you still avoid using the utensil while cooking for fear of some painful memories resurfacing.

6. Several of your childhood heroes were puppets.

Before the advent of satellite television, the youth of the land had two stations to choose from, with twin aliens, sock monsters, and talking turkeys ruling the roost (pardon the pun). From the ages of 6-10, you were the coolest kid in school for the day if Dustin the Turkey gave you a birthday shoutout. There was something about a foul-mouthed turkey with a north-Dublin accent that resonated with young viewers as he went on to release several albums (admit it — you bought at least one!) and in 2008 represented the country in the Eurovision Song Contest.

7. You show incredible loyalty to certain brands.

You eat King or Tayto crisps, drink Barry’s or Lyons tea. God forbid you should like two competing brands. You react with scorn when a friend informs you of their allegiance to the other one.

8. You watch the Father Ted Christmas special every year.

No Christmas is complete without watching Ted and Dougal get lost in Ireland’s largest lingerie section. It doesn’t matter that you’ve seen it a gazillion times, throwing out a quote from this at the pub is a sure way to get a few laughs. Watching it again won’t hurt, and the chuckles you score could be the closest you ever come to feeling like a standup comedian.

9. Socks and underwear are token gifts from your parents.

An Irish mother’s way of saying she loves you.

10. You can’t dance.

International opinion of Ireland would be that we have all been on tour with Riverdance. Oh, if only they knew! Realistically, the entire population could easily be extras on Jersey Shore. The average Irish person’s arsenal of dance moves is limited to fist pumping and flailing their hands in random directions to the point they feel others are staring. Movement from the torso down is kept to a bare minimum. The last thing you want to happen in a nightclub is be forced out on the dance floor, so just hold that pint close to your chest and laugh at everyone else making an effort.

Photo: Arileu