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Irish Customs- Out and About

On this page I'll be dicussing the Irish customs of buying a round in the pub, the customs around tipping, of having the 'craic', and of how to appreciate any performance.

The Custom Of Buying A Round

Buying a round is one of the more memorable Irish customs you are going to witness here. When you visit better be prepared for how the ritual works.

Generally speaking, there is an expectation that the people in the group will take it in turns to do the buying. So, when someone buys you a drink, don’t rely on it being something that is given out of the generosity of their heart.

Of course, every situation is different, and there are always exceptions to the rule. Irish people are by and large, very generous and hospitable, and they might mean to invite you.

But when you are out in a group, take it that the rule of thumb is, more often than not, to buy rounds.

Buying a round in an Irish pub.

Buying a round in an Irish Pub in Galway.

Tipping In Ireland

On the other hand, tipping in cafe's and bars is not a done thing in Ireland. In a bar, it would actually be perceived as an odd thing to do. If you are having food, you can leave a tip, but it doesn't have to be a strict percentage of your bill. Irish people usually just round up their bill a little. In restaurants when you are out for diner, tipping is much more common, and you would be expected to tip in the region of ten percent of your bill.

Irish Customs- Having The Craic

Having the craic (fun) is an everyday event in Ireland.

You will often hear the phrase ‘having the craic’. Pronounce it like the word crack. But no, it’s got nothing to do with drugs. Although it is quite addictive.

Craic is the Irish word for fun and it’s a big thing here. Irish people love having the craic. Good craic can be created simply by joking, slagging, some good stories and by letting go and enjoying good company. Having the craic is valued very highly here, enjoyment is seen as a necessary part of life. So, go on, have the craic!

Having the craic can be incredibly low-tech. One afternoon in town I met these girls that were falling over themselves laughing in the street after their shopping trip.

One of them had tripped and fallen, then her friend threw herself on the ground in solidarity.

There is great tolerance here for behaviour which other places would be deemed eccentric and unacceptable.

They thought it was hilarious, the best craic ever, and the shopping crowd didn't mind.

Read More About Irish Customs

Find out some secrets to starting a conversation with an Irish person.

Read about the next stage in making conversation where your conversation partner will look to bond with you.

Find out peculiar facts on how Irish people interact.

Find out about the concepts of privacy and personal space in Ireland.

Find out about Irish people and their family values.

Find out some first impressions about the Irish that will strike you early on.

Irish Customs- Partying

The Irish sure know how to party and it doesn't take much to make a party happen. Having a party is one of te way in which Irish people are ‘having the craic’ (‘crack’).

Parties can be very low tech with only basic supplies. Everything you planned might go wrong but it doesn't matter. People have a great sense of the ludicrous, and it will simply make for more light-hearted laughter and entertainment.

Here is a real life example: At our wedding, the musicians did not show up having mixed up the date, and then, still in shock about that, we forgot our rings in the car and had to go back for them.

Oh no! A bride’s worst nightmare! What a disaster! Well, I did feel like that at first. But honestly, within a few minutes, none of that mattered. Everyone had a good laugh about the mishaps. Then we had a brilliant day, floating on a cloud of happiness carried by our friends and families light-heartedness.

A great atmosphere is created by something different altogether than perfectly planned and executed party pieces. There is a great sense of warmth here between people. They are interested in and curious about other people and will chat to anyone no matter what age or what social class.

A chat can become a pub session, a pub session often continues as a party back at someone’s house.
Parties can be spontaneous in the Irish culture and can literally erupt at any given moment anywhere. Be prepared.

Appreciating A Performance

Irish people are a great audience

Appreciating a street performer on Shop Street in Galway.

Artists from around the globe love performing in Ireland. Why?

Irish people are the best audience anywhere. They certainly make up the best audiences I have seen anywhere. They are very forgiving, and they genuinely appreciate whatever it is they are watching or listening to.

The applause at the end will be thorough, and standing ovations are not a rarity. The atmosphere at any big event, be it a rock concert, a soccer match, or the welcoming of a public figure such as President Obama, will be vibrant and memorable.

At sporting events, they will cheer no matter how their team is performing. They will be gracious when they lose or draw. But if an Irish athlete does well at a sporting event, it captures the hearts of the whole country, and the athlete will be celebrated.

Just think of Sonia O’Sullivan who has been the hero of the Nation for many years. 

And of late Katie Taylor has joined her in the same league.

The ladies above on my photo are a good example. They had stopped their stroll down Galways' Shop Street pausing to watch a street performer. People really 'get into' a performance here, and freely show their appreciation.

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