How to Behave in Ireland!

For the most part Irish people are relaxed and laid back and welcome all visitors warmly. But it’s useful when visiting a foreign country to have some idea of how things are normally done – it helps to avoid misunderstandings and to smooth social interaction.

People on Dublin Street by Jody Art

Meeting & Greeting: Talking to People

Chatting with Joyce and Wilde

Chatting with Joyce and Wilde

Keep it casual is the best advice when meeting people in Ireland. Irish people are naturally gregarious and talkative and will happily chat with total strangers, falling easily into conversation while waiting for a bus, standing in line in a store or traveling on a train.

The preferred topic of conversation in such situations is often the weather – there is always plenty to discuss when it comes to Ireland’s weather!

Unless you are prepared to be disagreed with and to engage in lively debate, it’s probably best to avoid politics. This is especially true if you are American and want to talk US politics – Irish people not only have strong views about domestic politics but are generally well informed and up for a good argument about US politics too.

Avoid being overly critical of anything in the local area. People are very proud of their place and don’t like to hear it criticised by ‘outsiders’ – even if they will happily moan about the very same things among themselves! The upside is that most people are pleased to be asked for recommendations about things to do and see in the locality, giving good advice about places to eat or to find entertainment, and will often go out of their way to ensure you get the best from your visit to their home town.

People will frequently say “hello” or “nice day” or just nod and smile a greeting when passing a stranger on the street, though obviously not so much in more crowded places! This should not be seen as an attempt to start a conversation – just smile back, return the greeting and carry on.

Handshake or Kiss?

Handshake by theperplexingparadox

When first meeting someone or on encountering an acquaintance, people may shake hands or not even do that on informal occasions – a friendly greeting is often enough.

Relatives and close friends often kiss each other on one or both cheeks, continental style, a habit that is becoming more widespread in recent years, but this would not be the norm when greeting strangers.

The Finger Twitch

When driving on narrow country roads, where cars are few and speeds are low, drivers meeting an oncoming vehicle will acknowledge the other motorist by raising a hand or a finger from the steering wheel in salutation. It doesn’t necessarily mean they know the driver of the other car, they’ll greet everyone this way and a response in kind is expected.

In the Pub: Observing Custom

Relaxing in Murphy’s in Dingle by TMWeddle

The pub in Ireland is more than somewhere you go to drink, it’s a meeting place and there will generally be regular customers present who know each other well, even if this isn’t immediately evident to someone walking in for the first time.

This is particularly the case in rural pubs, less so in very large pubs in towns and cities. However people in pubs are there for the social occasion and are so are happy to talk to visitors and to include them in conversation.

How to Order & Pay

Most pubs do not have table service. You go to the bar, order and pay for your drinks and can then chose to remain at the bar to drink them or take them to a table. In larger pubs, especially in cities and at busy times, and in pubs where food is served, table service may be available, but you can still choose to go to the bar and order yourself.

There is no tab system in Irish bars. You are expected to pay for your drinks as and when they are ordered. The exception is in a hotel where you are resident, where you can add them to your room bill.

Where to sit?

As a general rule of thumb if you sit (or stand) at the counter other customers are likely to strike up a conversation with you, if you take your drinks to a quiet table in the corner they will leave you alone.

Standing Your Round

Round of pints, by Francesco Crippa

Round of pints, by Francesco Crippa

When in the company of a group of people in a pub, a system of ’rounds’ is traditionally used, whereby each person in turn will buy, or offer to buy, a drink for all others in the company.

It is not the done thing to just buy yourself a drink without making the offer to buy one for everyone else – those who fail to do so risk being looked upon as mean and unsociable. Possibly the most damning thing an Irish person can say about someone is that they ‘never stand their round’.

While it is quite acceptable to turn down the offer of a drink when someone else is buying a round – just say ‘I’m alright, thanks’ – you don’t get to skip your turn just because you are not thirsty!

The best advice for dealing with the rounds system is to get in with your offer to buy as early as you possibly can – come in with your offer (“Can I get you a drink?”) just before the fastest drinker in the party has emptied their glass. Otherwise you can end up drinking a lot more than you intended to while waiting for your turn to come – and you daren’t leave before it does unless you want to earn an instant reputation for meanness!

Tipping in Ireland: When & How Much

Tipping by a.drian

Tipping is not as universal a practice in Ireland as it is elsewhere. Most restaurants apply a service charge which theoretically replaces the tip, but if service has been good an additional tip of about 10-15% is about right.

Some more casual restaurants have a plate or bowl at the cash desk where you can leave a tip to be distributed among all the staff. Unlike the situation in the USA, wait staff do not depend on tips for their income, though they certainly appreciate acknowledgment of a job well done.

Taxi drivers, hairdressers, spa staff and others are generally tipped about 10%. Hotel porters and room service staff will usually expect something round €2-€5 depending on the extent of the service provided.

Drivers/guides on tour buses are usually tipped at the end of a trip, sometimes with a communal tip collected from all of those on the tour. The amount is up to the individual, and will depend on the length of the tour and the quality of the service.

Owners of B&Bs do not expect to be tipped, nor do they expect gifts.

Tipping in Pubs

Tipping staff in pubs is a special case. While staff who bring drinks to a table may be given a small tip, those serving from behind the counter don’t expect tips and if you leave money on the counter will probably assume you have forgotten to pick up your change and return it to you.

If you do want to give a tip to bar staff, the polite way is to hand over a sum of money approximately equal to the price of a pint of beer while saying something like “Have one for yourself later” – theoretically you are not giving a tip, you are buying a drink at some future time, which is far more acceptable.

Smoking in Public Places

Smoking outside the pub by Gryts

Since March 2004 it has been illegal to smoke in any enclosed public space, which includes bars, restaurants, shops, offices, public transport, cinemas – pretty much all indoor places except your home or a designated smoking bedroom in a hotel.

The ban on smoking brought with it a massive increase in sales of awnings and patio heaters as pubs made arrangements for their smoking customers to enjoy an outdoor cigarette in some level of comfort – many pubs, hotels and restaurants how have designated areas for this purpose.

Don’t be tempted to try to beat the smoking ban by lighting up indoors and pleading ignorance, it will not be tolerated by those around you and there are hefty fines for transgressors.

Religious Customs

At a Wedding, by David Boyle

At a Wedding, by David Boyle

Irish people are not as observant of religious practice today as they were in the past and regular attendance at church services have been falling for quite a few years. Many people now attend primarily for ‘hatches, matches and dispatches’, rarely entering a church at other times.

However you will still commonly see people make the sign of the cross when passing a church or a graveyard, and hear people say things like “God bless” for “Goodbye”, or “God speed” for “bon voyage”. A few will sprinkle holy water on departing cars, or even people, to keep them safe on their journey!

Following the hearse, by infomatique

Following the hearse, by infomatique

Funerals in Ireland are very public occasions and you may come across one in your travels. It is traditional for people to walk behind the hearse as it goes to the church or graveyard and there can be hundreds, occasionally even thousands, of people walking in procession in this way when a funeral is taking place.

It is expected that anyone walking or driving on the street at the time will stop and remain stationary while the funeral procession passes, shops may turn out their lights or temporarily close their doors and bystanders will bless themselves or say a quiet prayer.

Dress Code in Churches

No special dress code is required for entering churches, such as applies in some parts of continental Europe, but you are expected to be quiet and respectful and particularly so if a service is taking place during your visit.

Cursing & Swearing

Many visitors are a little shocked to hear how often Irish people say “Jesus” or “God” in everyday conversation, not in a prayerful way but as an expression of surprise, frustration or annoyance. However it sounds this isn’t intended in a blasphemous way, it’s just a sort of verbal tick that has become habitual for many.

The use of “the F word” is also very common in public, it’s even, strange though it may seem, often used in a friendly way. Just ignore it, for the most part it isn’t meant to shock or to be interpreted as an aggressive thing, it’s just a very unfortunate national habit.

A Final Plea…

Please, I am begging you, do not greet people with “Top of the morning” or say goodbye to them with “May the road rise to meet you”!

Nobody Irish outside of a bad movie has ever said any of these things, or used any of dozens of other so-called ‘Irish sayings’ in normal conversation, and they make our teeth curl.

Thank you.

Published: November 29, 2008 | Updated: March 31, 2017 | Image Credits

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  • PapaJohn says:

    My wife and I are traveling to Ireland next month. We’re not “newbies”, as this will be our 8th trip to Ireland, including visits for our 25th, 30th, 35th and 40th wedding anniversaries. And yes, you guessed it, this we are celebrating our 45th anniversary. While we are “regulars”, we are traveling this time with a sister and her husband who have never been to Ireland and who have a multitude of questions (including about tipping). Rather than try to answer from my memory, I found your article and will be sending it on to them. I found your article to be wonderful for beginners and also for returning visitors. Reading through the comments was great … added more insights and flavor to the article.

  • Mark says:

    Don’t know if this site is still being monitored, but I have to say it has been extremely interesting and informative. Really enjoyed all the comments / replies. I have done very little international traveling but a trip to Ireland is on my dream list. About to turn 60 and to celebrate, my wife and I plan a trip to Ireland in spring 2018. I very much need (not “want”…NEED) to visit a rural Iris pub and enjoy an Irish whiskey while looking over some of the beautiful countryside. Aside from a desire to visit a Cork distillery (Paddy Irish is my daily whiskey), we more enjoy the rural environment and people. Though I am from Texas, and have even “cowboyed” some in my younger days, I promise I am not into the stereotypical bragging we Texans are unfortunately known for. Any suggestions for a rural experience would be appreciated…especially a pub that has regular traditional music….can’t get enough and would be in heaven to hear it live…must be due to my bluegrass playing roots.
    Again, very much enjoyed this site!

    • Áine O'B says:

      I don’t know if you have takwn your trip yet but here’s a bit of help. I would suggest going to the west of Ireland. I would suggest Kerry, Cork or Galway and it’s environs for the traditional Irish experience you are looking for. I myself love Kerry and there are so many things to do and see. Hiring a car and driving the Ring of Kerry is a must and even us Irish do it. The scenery is spectacular! Kerry hosts a lot of American visitors and the hospitality industry is well catered for American wishes. Killarney and it’s environs are stunning and a good jump off point for touring around. My family and I hired a house in Cromane which is a TINY place outside Killorglin which is a small town. It would be less tourist like than Dingle etc so more authentic. As for your rural pub and trad sessions, there are a LOT of pubs in Ireland, a LOT! So finding one should be no issue, even very rural ones. Issue is there is NO public transport to many of the pubs off the beaten track so if you choose to go either drive and not drink, have a designated driver or pay for a taxi (which could work out expensive and you may have to pre book one). As for the trad sessions, these can happen very spontaneously! In and around Kerry as I suggested you will be able to find a trad session easily, I suggest asking around where there is likely to be one. They do happen frequently but aren’t really billed like you would be used to. Asking around locally is your best bet or where you are staying. People are very happy to help. As I said they can happen in a pub at the drop of a hat, though that is happening less as time progresses. I think your best time to visit would be from June. The weather is better, there are festivals on and there’s a great atmosphere then. The downside to that is its our high season, so prices and demand are high. I hth and enjoy your trip!

  • martin says:

    Good article…please people do not even try to talk with an irish accent.. the natives will know immediately. .. and don’t tell everyone…my mother was a Murphy from cork… we don’t give a shite. .. just enjoy the lovely west of ireland.keep away from dublin and limerick…. don’t talk religion.. .we don’t give a shite what you believe. ..oh and one more thing… dont boast about what you have in texas.. we dont care.. don’t be stingy..slan.

  • Naomi Allison says:

    Thank you for this. My 14 year old wants to visit Ireland upon her graduation. This helps to know what is OK or not socially. I love the fingertip as where we live in the US, that is also customary. As far as pubs, is water generally an acceptable drink for non alcoholic beverage? Is it generally safe for women to travel the countryside by themselves?

    • Katherine says:

      Yes, it’s fine to drink water or a soft drink. Mind you, the bar owner will hate you if you go into a pub and spend an evening drinking tap water. There are many tales of groups of tourists coming into bars and either all looking for tap water or sharing a pint over many hours. It doesn’t endear them to anyone, so if you want to remain popular buy bottled water.

      Traveling as a woman alone is not a problem, with the usual provisos that apply anywhere like not hitching lifts or going alone late at night into dodgy areas.

  • RoseCottage says:

    Hi Katherine I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed your post you really summed us up to a T especially “The preferred topic of conversation in such situations is often the weather – there is always plenty to discuss when it comes to Ireland’s weather!” I might add when you take a taxi and combine a conversation on the weather it’s a whole other level 🙂 Great insight for others travelling to Ireland to get a feel for our uniqueness.

  • Marie says:

    A very accurate portrayal of Irish customs, coming from a Mayo woman.
    I hope our traditions live on because we really are blessed to belong to such a special nation. Erin go brach!

  • bluecrayon says:

    This was amazing information, thank you so much for putting this together! I’m going to be taking my three young children with me to Dublin (Ballsbridge) for a month and I don’t know what the customs are like for being out and about with them, especially in pubs and restaurants or meeting other parents at parks. I’ve also read that after a certain time at night (6:30p-ish) that most places won’t accept kids? Also, that older folks tend to approach you to talk about your kids and give you advice? Are any of these true and is there anything else I should expect? Where we live in the US, adults don’t typically approach me about my kids unless if we know them, but I welcome the opportunity to use this as an ice breaker to meet people while we’re there 🙂 Thanks in advance!

    • Katherine Nolan says:

      I wouldn’t say people generally approach you about your kids in a bad way, if they do just ignore them, there are rude people everywhere, sadly. It is likely that people will speak to your kids though – in shops or on transport etc, in a friendly way. They may offer advice in a similar way, like say an older person saying something like ‘Oh mine used to do that do and I would…’ but it’s meant as banter. I honestly would not worry about this at all.

      Children are not allowed in pubs after a certain time. It used to be 8pm but was changed to 9pm and 10pm during the Summmer, primarily because it was a bit of a pain for visitors.

      In playgrounds parents generally chat together while their children play. There are playgrounds in a lot of parks, and if you are in Ballsbridge you’ll love Herbert Park, it has a great playground, lots of open grassy space and a pond with ducks etc. It’s a great place for kids.

  • Nikki says:

    When I say Ireland or Dublin or something like that I have a hint of irish accent in my voice for some reason, I really try not to do it, because I don’t want to offend a full Irish person, but I can’t help it, will I have a problem with that? again I don’t want to offend an Irish person, in fact I love Ireland and I think it’s a gorgeous country. And also I’m part Irish, I don’t know what region though, is it okay to say that I’m part Irish? I plan on going to Ireland when I’m older and I don’t want to be rude or mean, that would be beyond embarrassing, especially since I love the culture or Ireland so dearly. (:

    • Wendy says:


      Unless your accent is very prominent when you say “Dublin” it probably won’t even be noticed by most people… but if you sound like the Lucky Charms cartoon guy then you must be prepared for some teasing (or eye rolling) by those you talk to in Ireland. Americans love to tell the Irish how they are Irish themselves and, honestly, the Irish do not consider Irish Americans to be “Irish” at all.

      If you want to tell people you have “Irish heritage” you will be much more accepted – don’t tell Irish people you are Irish when you are clearly not from Ireland (unless you have a passport that proves otherwise!) Even better if you can actually find Irish relatives in Ireland, then you will be treated like family!



  • J says:

    Cursing and Swearing
    “…..The use of “the F word” ….. it’s just a very unfortunate national habit.”
    Thoses of us from Jersey will fit right in, my 5 year old niece uses F8ck as an accent word and we don’t think twice haha

  • samantha says:

    Irish people like to almost have a debate about who’s paying for the bill saying things like ”don’t be silly i’m getting it this time” so when an irish person says I’ll get the bill it’s polite to argue it and say are you sure I can pay for half even though they will not budge we still like to be recognized for our kind gesture.

  • Larry says:

    I liked the article, it all seemed to ring true for me when I’ve travelled through Ireland. Only one point confused me though. When in a pub with people I knew, buying rounds was the go. But when in pubs amongst strangers and being brought into conversations with patrons who appeared to know each other, I didn’t notice rounds being shared. I certainly watched for them, but I didn’t initiate a round for fear of looking like a boastful big shot Yank. I’m now wondering if people were just bring polite in not buying rounds, not wanting me to feel obliged? Maybe I did something wrong in not offering to buy a round?

    • Dochara says:

      No, you did nothing wrong!!

      Two things are at play here. First, the round system doesn’t really apply when you just meet up with some other group in a pub – you’d each keep to your own rounds.

      Secondly, the recession is changing customs. People are on tight budgets, drinks are getting more expensive. A lot of people are now just mutually agreeing to each buy their own beer so as not to put pressure on someone who may not be able to afford to buy a round.

    • Dochara says:

      I’d just add to that. It’s always been acceptable, if you are short of cash or planning to leave early or for any other reason to just say, the first time you are offered a drink in a round “No thanks, I’ll just stay on my own tonight” or words to that effect.

      Nobody minds this at all.

      The issue arises with people who take but never give! I read once on the blog of an ex-pat recently moved to Ireland about how people in pubs were SO very generous and just kept buying you drinks without any expectation of getting one in return.

      He’d just gotten it SOOO wrong I felt kinda sorry for him.

    • Larry says:

      Thanks Dochara,

      That all makes sense. I noticed in particular the group I met in Kilkenny a few weeks back. They all new each other, but I didn’t notice any round system. In my answer to a question one of the patrons asked, that at home I drank whiskey instead of beer (I drink beer in Ireland) some time later a shot of whiskey appeared in front of me just as last drinks were being served. I thought the bartender/owner was responsible, but after thanking him twice, he finally pointed out one of the patrons that I should be thanking. Later, I was again not sure what to do…..return the drink or not. But I tried to think of what it would mean in the US and hoped it meant the same in Ireland. Here it would have been a welcoming gesture to stand on its own. I assumed it meant the same in Kilkenny and to try to return the favor might diminish the gesture if not also be somewhat insulting. Besides, the fella buying it was not anxious to take credit…..which made me think in his own way, he did it on behalf of Kilkenny. I hope I read this correctly as well.

    • Dochara says:

      You read that perfectly correctly. I think you can safely assume from this gesture that you were well liked and made a good impression because buying a drink quietly for someone in that way is quite the compliment. In such a case, particularly when it was bought at last call, no reciprocation would have been expected.

  • Rebecca Falcon says:

    I very much enjoyed this article and have been wanting to visit Ireland since I was a child! Reading this has gotten me more excited about going and am actually planning to take a trip there with my husband for 2-4 weeks. 

    I was wondering, when we do go should we go on a tour or is it best to go together and travel alone. We both grew up in bad neighborhoods in the U.S and so my husband does still feel that it would be dangerous to travel alone, fearing that we could be robbed or anything. I do understand that there is danger where ever you go but for his peace of mind, I just wanted to ask this question. Me being me, I would travel anywhere without ever considering the possibility of danger!    🙂  

    • Erinach says:

      Hi Rebecca. As a female I would have no hesitation about travelling around Ireland on my own. I have never felt in any danger especially in the countryside. A dark alley in the city is another matter altogether.
      Obviously, common sense is called for and it’s best not to leave anything lying around for an opportunistic thief. Being in a group would not prevent petty theft.
      I really hope that your husband will be able to relax enough to enjoy his trip.

    • Lynn says:

      I also wouldn’t think twice about going anywhere in Ireland on my own (I’m a 32 year old female). There may be a few areas in Dublin that might be considered “bad neighbourhoods” but probably nothing close to what you are thinking of.
      I am very surprised that someone might think that Ireland is “dangerous”. I would consider it one of the least threatening and dangerous of countries in Europe. Certainly much less dangerous than the US.
      I also think that Ireland is a country best explored individually. I don’t think that a group tour can really give you a true feeling for the place.

  • J.P. says:

    As an Irishman I would just like to remark on the accuracy of this article. Fair play!

  • Thraxan says:

    As an owner of a B&B I find this statement quite annoying “Owners of B&Bs do not expect to be tipped, nor do they expect gifts.”

    It is incredibly nice when someone leaves a tip or parts with something small. It shows us that we are doing a great job. After all we are inviting people into our own homes.

    • Steve says:

      Respectfully Thraxan, You are not inviting people to your home, you are offering a service, and people are paying to stay in your home. You are not doing this out of the kindness of your heart, it is a business transaction that you are benefiting from.
      While it may be nice when people leave something extra, it should not be expected.

  • franc 91 says:

    Go n-éiri an bothar leat does NOT mean – may the road rise up to meet you, éirigh le means to succeed –  so this phrase means ‘Fare you well on your way/road’. It’s one of the most mistranslated phrases in Irish and it’s not something you would usually say. It would be more usual to say  – Slàn abhaile – go home safely.

  • Laura says:

    Thank you so much for this advice 🙂 I’m going to Dublin next summer (the trip is my 18th birthday present from my parents so I’m going alone) and I’ve been dying to find something like this so I won’t make a total idiot out of myself there 😀

  • J. Conley says:

    Thanks for the wealth of knowledge on your site. My wife and I are planning a trip in 2015 for our 10th anniversary. We plan on staying out west. I’m a lover of natural beauty and traditional music. My boss is Irish and we have a sister plant in Ireland so I have gleaned some information from him but these are a definite help. Thanks so much!

  • John says:

    I’m Irish and work in a hotel so I read a lot of tourist guides to know what information guests are getting about being in Ireland. I always find it amazing that Dos and Don’ts mention that many restaurants automatically include a service charge when I personally find this is not the case – very few actually do unless the party is over 6 or 8 people. Nor do I know anyone who tips hairdressers or barbers (maybe a present at Christmas if you’re a regular but not otherwise). Taxi drivers I sometimes round up admittedly but as much to not have coins as for the service. I don’t know anyone Irish who tips at least 10% unless the service is exceptionally good. In restaurants I may leave a few coins on the table but I wouldn’t say 10% and I’m definitely not in the minority! Why do guides say we tip? Otherwise – great advice! 

    • Katherine says:

      You are right, tipping practices vary a lot among Irish people. That said, I am a tipper, possibly because when I was younger I worked a good bit in restaurants and bars. I always shoot for 10% in restaurants – assuming the service warrants it. I also tip the pizza guy, the hairdresser, the bin men (at Christmas), taxi drivers (again about 10%) and other similar people. I thought I was pretty normal. Maybe I’m not.

    • Rob says:

      Tip 10% in a restaurant or eat at home.  Mother of divine lantern!

  • chloe says:

    this is sorta all true i’m an american living in Ireland right now,  i say Jesus a lot as an expression and Irish people take it as im saying something horrible and say “like no need to swear at me ” so idk about that one. you can also expect everyone to say “like” an “girl” and “your one” , “your man” . and be like wtf are/who they referring too? and also expect if you live anywhere but Dublin that the theater you go to will have pre-popped popcorn and no fun stuff what- so -ever in the concession stand .i haven’t really found Irish people overly friendly since I’ve been here and the people striking up a “convo” to you doesn’t exist unless they-re old and or crazy /drunk . other wise i find that people here rarely go out of there comfort zones, unless they’re intoxicate . 

    • Grace says:

      Hey Chloe,

      That’s unfortunate that you haven’t experienced that. Maybe you should get out of Dublin and visit the rest of Ireland, especially the West, 😉
      Don’t be afraid to start the convo and you can be anywhere while on a walk, you might meet people, especially the old who would be willing to tell you their whole life stories. It’s the one thing I missed when I’m travelling how friendly people are back home. How it’s polite, or the norm to greet people whom you meet out walking, or if you are sitting beside someone on the bus to have a full blown conversation with them. 🙂 I love it! 

      “sorry,sorry,sorry” is often mentioned when someone bumps into someone else. 🙂

  • E.P.D. Gaffney says:

    This is brilliant and enjoyable and true.  I do want to alert us all to one little fact that is often not known:  People think Irish people say things like ‘Top of the morning’ and suchlike, because Irish people *did*.  That and all the other sayings are simply outdated.  They were brought to North America with emigrants, where they survived slightly longer, but as late as the 1950s, ‘Top of the morning’ was only fading, not gone, from Ireland.  Annoying though it may be, there is a precendent.
    I’m a linguistic historian, and I suppose you might say Irish English is my favourite, and my speciality.  A quick look at any page of the 1910 publication ‘English as We Speak It in Ireland’ will prove fascinating, and may make you just a bit less upset the next time a tourist says any of it.  But honestly, it does get to be a bit much sometimes.

  • Colleen Sullivan says:

    Loved reading your advice.  We traveled to Ireland last September with another couple.  Very much wished we had left them back home as he did the “Top of The Morning” routine upon entering every establishment.  It was cringe worthy!   We asked him to stop but no luck.
    Loved, loved visiting your beautiful country and will be returning.  

  • Nimue says:

    I’m doing a project on Ireland for Library Skills, and I’m having trouble with what not to do and what to do when visiting and eating at someone else’s home. I have the no slurping or lip smacking and not to make a mess when eating. While as when your visiting someone’s house and overnight accomodations are provided, to bring a gift. Please help. Thanks 🙂

    • Marie says:

      Do bring along a small gift like a bottle of wine or some flowers or chocolates. Shows appreciation and Irish people like that. An old saying here is “don’t go with one arm as long as the other” in other words one arm should be holding a gift. Amazing the number of people who don’t do this. Really just Very basic manners.

  • Kelly says:

    Thanks for the honest tips! I’ll be in Ireland this summer, and I expect to visit a pub or two… I’m having a tough time with the idea that a tip is against custom to the bartender… really?? As a former bartender, I feel I must. I don’t want to be rude!

    • Lou says:

      This is literally the only thing about this whole post that irks me. Bartenders are not on fantastic wages here and tips are GREATLY appreciated!! I can’t stress this enough! If you see your bartender breaking a sweat in a busy bar, trying their best to reduce wait times for our customers a tip screams “I appreciate you running around like a lunatic just so I don’t have to stand her for half of my night waiting on a drink, so thanks” We serve Irish/tourists/non-nationals and Irish people tip way more than any other group. The rest of this article is spot on!!!

  • gailimh says:

    I can not stop laughing this is so accurate im irish from galway btw

  • Alanna says:

    This site is marvellous! Your advice has helped to answer a lot of my pre-travel questions. I’m glad to see that in many ways Ireland seems reasonably similar to Australia, so if I casusally swear (also an unfortunate verbal tick in this country!) I probably won’t step on any toes.

    And for the record, don’t ever say ‘throw another shrimp on the barbie’ to an Aussie. We don’t even call them shrimp!  

  • John john says:

    we will be visiting Ireland this comming April. What do you think the weather will be like?

    • Laura says:

      Right now in the West where i live it was snowing lightly but it has been really warm and sunny for ireland the past like 4-5 days so hope you enjoy your stay

  • Henzy Richman says:

    Wahoooo, I will be visiting Ireland Next Summer then….thanks for you site.

  • Janet Corley says:

    My husband and I spent 10 days in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  Your tips helped us greatly and the people we met were all so very very kind and helpful.  I love the Irish!!!

  • Feeling Used says:

    Just had an American visitor (a cousins child I’d never met before). She expected to be fed and supplied alcohol all weekend and then asked if I could put up dinner for her friends who were calling to pick her up (I told her no as I was watching an important GAA match at the time they were calling).  I found her to be cheeky and ungrateful.  Her parting shot was will you ring your sister and tell her ‘we’ll swing by there and ask her has she any food’ she’d had a full Irish breakfast 2 hours earlier.  I thought her rude and mean.  So please don’t take your Irish relatives for granted.  We are experiencing a recession and lots of us aren’t flush enough to finance our US distant relatives trips

  • Ellen says:

    I can’t tell you how much we appreciate all of the information on your site!  Although there are many Americans who are truly terrible when they travel abroad, I think most of us just want to blend in and be respectful.  Your information will help us do that.  Thanks so much, and God bless you!  (some of us still use that phrase, too)  😉

  • Ken Thomas says:

    I’ll be visiting Ireland on my 20th wedding anniversary, and I thought it would be fun to visit an Irish pub and buy “a round for the house” to celebrate the occasion. Is that acceptable, and if so, how is it done?

    • gaillimh says:

      hi id recommened going to a busyish pub so atleast there will be some young and old ppl there make a bit of an entrance so ppl know youre coming in for the craic and then announce youre buying a round i did that once in galway city and being pretty drunk at the time not thinking straight i ended up with a 450 euro bill thats a weeks wages gone in space of half an hour lol but so what we had the craic id recommened going to galway city and going to richardsons pub in eyre square theyve live traditional music and plenty of craic

  • Michael Kinyua (Kenyan) says:

    I appreciate the great information that you have provided…. am looking forward to visiting your country in four months time..congratulation for the good work..

  • margaret says:

    This is the very best article I have ever read about life in Ireland it’s accurate and non-judgemental of all our customs and foibles!

  • Lyn says:

    I have to say I love your “final plea” :o) As an Irish woman living abroad I can’t tell you how many times I have told people not to say “top of the morning” to any true Irish person. Hopefully your site will gently inform people about the real Ireland.

    • Kat says:

      i definitely have to agree with you on that one! It gets very irritating sometimes, but at the same time i laugh it off. oh, some times people are ignorant to the world, but thats why there are great sites like this to inform people! 🙂 😉

  • Michael McCabe says:

    We have 27 people going on a private tour bus for 7 nights. What would we be expected to tip the driver/guide? Our travel agent gave us a very expensive suggested tip.

  • Cindy says:

    I love your site. We just returned home (to Minnesota) a few days ago from a trip to Ireland, and we miss it so much already. I’m proud to say we followed your etiquette suggestions pretty well (except that we tipped all our waiters in pubs and restaurants–couldn’t help it). I ate brown bread every day, and now am on a quest for the perfect recipe! I have bookmarked your site and will visit it often. Cheers.

  • Brie says:

    This site is wonderful!! I’m traveling to Ireland for my honeymoon this October, and we have been looking for something just like this. Thanks very much!!

    • Sara says:


      My fiance and I are planning on honeymooning in Ireland October 2013. Do you have any recommendations/advice for travel during that time of the year?


    • Caroline says:

      Hi Sara, 
      Go to the west of Ireland- Galway and Mayo. When you fly in to Dublin city you can either take the train or drive there in about three hours. Enjoy your honeymoon 🙂

    • Mick says:

      Galway brilliant vibrant young city/town unforgettable nights out and perfect to stay while visiting the Cliffs of Mohar, the Burren and the Alillwee caves.
      Cork next best city…. just a big town where people and the Crack (fun not drugs….) are mighty!  Everybody knows everybody here…… bit like Cheers!  Also home of Blarney Castle where after you “Kiss the Blarney Stone” you will be able to have “the gift of the gab!” (and now you will be fluently be able to talk to the Irish!!!!)
      Killarney……. a must for Americans and beautiful for everyone!  Traditional Irish for tourists.
      Dublin…. well as with all countries the rest of the country hates the Capital but you have to love it for being the home of GUINNESS!
      Loads of other areas to marvel at but depends on what you like and how much time you have……..
      Another MUST is Going up North they are all lunitics and brilliant crack……… you will have a fantastic time here Belfast, Derry and Travelling around Antrim and visiting the “Giants Causeway”

  • alicia shortill says:

    I appreciate the information on this site. Can you please help me? I will be attending the Baptism of my first grandchild. Is it acceptable to wear dress pants and a jacket(such as I would wear to a wedding, Christening in the US)? I am the grandmother. Thank you.

  • Namot says:

    Good describion of our customs. I’m impressed.

    • Michael Campbell says:

      forgot to point out that the Irish rarely return Phone calls and are generally late for appointments.

    • Kristen says:

      I like this a lot. I hope to visit Ireland sometime. It seems very interesting!

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