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Home » Country Etiquette » Ireland

Irish Etiquette Tips

Ireland is a very friendly place to visit, with fairly relaxed etiquette. However, there are a few topics to steer clear of when socializing and there some specific table manners that are considered polite, so read up on some Irish etiquette below!


1. Dress Attire

  1. DO dress modestly, if you wish to blend in. Bright colors aren't typically worn in Ireland. Subdued colors, tweed, and wool are more common.
  2. DO wear a suit for business meetings. Women wear skirts and dresses more often than pants.

2. Table Manners

  1. DO use the small plate next to your dinner plate for the peelings of boiled potatoes.
  2. DO eat everything served to you if eating at someone's home.
  3. DON'T refuse a drink unless you absolutely must. It could be considered rude.

3. Tipping

  1. DO tip at least 10% at a restaurant. A tip will usually be included in the bill for bigger groups.
  2. DO tip hotel porters 1 Euro a bag.
  3. DO round up to the next Euro when paying a taxi driver.

4. Gift Giving and Accepting Gifts

  1. DON'T give expensive or flashy gifts.
  2. DON'T give lilies, which are for religious occasions. Avoid giving red and white flowers, which symbolize death.
  3. DO politely refuse a gift when it's first offered. When giving a gift to someone, expect them to do the same.

5. Greetings

  1. DO shake hands with everyone present upon meeting, and maintain eye contact. Shake hands again upon leaving.

6. Visitors Etiquette

  1. DO bring a little something for your hosts, such as flowers, chocolate, cheese, or wine.

7. Business Meeting

  1. DO try to have a third party to initiate business.
  2. DO be on time, but don't expect your Irish colleagues to be punctual.
  3. DO exchange business cards.
  4. DO practice your golf skills beforehand! Business is often conducted on the golf course.
  5. DO be patient. Long-term planning and agenda-following are rare.

8. Socializing and Conversation

  1. DO be friendly. When walking around small towns and villages, it's common to say "hello" to everyone you pass by.
  2. DON'T confuse Ireland with England. The Irish are proud of their cultural differences with England, so steer clear of making any comments that could be seen as offensive.
  3. DON'T discuss religion. It's a very sensitive subject to many Irish.

9. Pub Etiquette

  1. DO ask for a glass of something if you want a half-pint, though pints are more the norm.
  2. DO understand that asking for a "drop" of something (i.e. whiskey) means that you're actually asking for a glass of it, not simply a drop!
  3. DO buy drinks for people. If someone has done you a favor, ask the bartender to send over a drink. They don't have to tell who it's from. It's also common to buy drinks for musicians playing in a pub.
  4. DO learn the Irish system of buying ‘rounds’. It’s considered rude to leave the pub before buying everyone in your ‘round’ a drink.

 

Although Ireland is a very laid-back place to visit, you'll blend in much better if you know a bit about their etiquette. So leave the loud clothes at home, pack some tweed clothing, and be prepared to have a pint or two. Have a wonderful trip to Ireland.

 
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