1. Do you guys celebrate St. Patty’s Day in Ireland?
Oh, Lord, where to start? First off, we do celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, albeit a little different to the big cities of the world. Secondly, this isn’t a holiday celebrating one of Marge Simpson’s hideous sisters, so if you are going to shorten the man’s name, at least do it right by spelling it correctly as “Paddy.” New York may have commercial floats and well-drilled police bands, but Ballinamore has Tom, the 76-year-old farmer who has driven the same three-wheeled tractor down High Street at 3 mph for the past 40 years.
Also, feck off with the pinching!
2. So, what’s the deal with Protestants and Catholics now?
Both died out after the Online Atheist Uprising of 2012. At least I can only imagine so, as atheists seem to be the only people in Irish society under 40 who actually give a toss about preaching their beliefs incessantly. It’s been so long since religion has been an issue that I can’t even remember if it’s Rangers or Celtic I’m supposed to hate.
3. OMG, do you know [insert famous Irish celebrity here]?
Chances are, I know them just as well as you know Brad Pitt, Iggy Azalea, or whatever celebrity comes from your country. Ireland’s population isn’t located entirely within a 10-minute radius.
4. So do you guys still hate the English?
Generations of Irish have found a second home in England and have been welcomed with open arms. Yes, we have had our differences in the past and no one forgets the sacrifices those that fought for our country made to grant us independence and eventual peace. International opinion of our current relationship is akin to that of U2’s career; not many seem to mention the good stuff after the 1980s. The truth is, we have as much in common as an iPhone and low battery life; we get along just fine!
Except when it comes to sport…
5. Do you know how to Irish dance?
If by Irish dance you mean fist pump to Avicii while managing not to spill my pint, then yes! A Lord of the Dance, 99% of the population are not. You’ve watched one too many terrible American-made movies where Michael Flatley seems to have taught us The River Dance, instead of covering the basics of English grammar! However, if you are lucky enough to bump into someone who genuinely does know Irish dancing, then you are in for a treat. These dancers have spent years honing their craft and can put on an incredibly energetic show. In contrast, most of us will just down enough pints to give us some liquid courage on the dance floor!
6. Oh yeah, I’m actually [insert miniscule fraction here] Irish.
A favourite of mine to hear. Once you go into anything beyond ¼, you’re straight into “not-give-a-shite” territory.
7. I hear it rains all the time.
Well, it does rain a lot, maybe not all the time, but pretty damn close! The weather is a major topic of conversation in Irish society. Pessimism is the dominant tone of all weather-related discussion with rain being the unheralded champion of all that is wrong with your day. Do you know what you can do with year-round rain? Fuck all!
8. You guys love to drink, right?
Cheers for another stereotype you cheeseburger-eating, gun-slinging American, pizza-making greaseball Italiano, etc.
9. We started at Temple Bar, drove right across to the Cliffs of Moher and then did the ring of Kerry.
I bank on hearing this phrase from any North American tourist who has visited beforehand. It probably wasn’t as close as the movie P.S. I Love You or Leap Year made it out to be, but, fantastic, you’ve driven on some horrid back-arse roads at some point and paid for an overpriced pint in the process. Yep, you were definitely in Ireland!
10. I love your accent.
It doesn’t seem to matter what corner of the country you come from, foreign folks love to hear us talk. You’ve now got a license to say whatever you want, and somehow sound attractive saying it! You may want to tone down the depth of your “tick midlinds vice” slightly and expand your vocabulary beyond “Jaysus” and “ah yea” for a few moments, as you attempt to converse with someone on a topic outside your comfort zone of Gaelic Games and Father Ted.
11. I’ve never been, but I’ve always wanted to go.
For such a small Island, we garner an incredible amount of goodwill from other nationalities. Most visitors to our shores leave with fond memories, an appreciation of our unique culture, and a never-ending desire to return to a land where the craic is had. However, I find one of the biggest compliments paid to Ireland comes from those who have yet to visit. Around the world, Ireland is regarded as a destination one has to visit at least once in their lifetime. So, what are you waiting for? Book the trip of a lifetime to the Emerald Isle, just don’t forget to pack a rain coat!