Dos and Don’ts

Pub Life: The pub is the center of Irish social life. But don’t assume this means the Irish are a nation of excessive drinkers. Plenty of people in the neighborhood pub are just having a soft drink, or a lime and soda—a mixture of sweetened lime juice and sparkling water. But most are having a pint—a large glass of flat, fizz-free ale. Either way, they’re there to chat with friends and catch up on the local news. In small towns, the pub will also be a shop or even a post office.

Conversation: Irish society is considered friendly and chatty. So you can talk to people you don’t know and they won’t likely mind, but they might not talk to you first.

Personal Space: The Republic of Ireland is generally a tactile nation; people often touch each other’s arms while chatting, and there’s lots of hugging.

Dining Solo: It’s OK to dine alone, though women in Ireland are rarely seen dining solo in the evening in a restaurant. You may feel on display if you eat dinner alone, so if that bothers you, bring a book or magazine.

Phrase Book

Black Stuff: Guinness; the de facto national drink

Craic: Good fun, lively. Pronounced crack

Da: Father

Dear: Expensive

Dodgy: Suspect, dangerous

Dosser: A lazy person

Fag: Cigarette (essentially outlawed in most public places)

Fruit Machines: Slot machines, ubiquitous in pubs

Gaff: House

Jammy: Lucky

Jar: A pint of ale

Kip: Sleep

Kit: Clothes

Nappy: Diaper

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