Cultural Characteristics in Ireland Part 1

Celtic myths, river dance and James Joyce – Irish culture is eclectic. The Irish people celebrate their biggest national holiday on St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th. Irish pubs around the world are mostly hopelessly overcrowded on this day. The way the celebrations take place with traditional music and a grand parade reveals a lot about Irish culture. But not everything.

During a semester abroad or study in Ireland, international students gradually discover the many facets of Irish culture. For cultural preparation it is helpful to deal with some of the cultural characteristics of Ireland in advance.

Origins of Irish Culture

The island of Ireland is now divided into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of Great Britain. Both parts each have their own laws, governments, currencies and religions. The island’s four provinces, Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster, date back to the time of the English occupation from around AD 1100 and are currently divided into 32 counties. Today’s cultural peculiarities in Ireland are based on the history of the country and the influence of other peoples.

Since the first settled people of the Neolithic Age around 4500 BC. BC built their lives on the island, other cultures invaded the villages again and again. Above all, the Vikings took advantage of the convenient location for shipping early on and built the Dublin settlement, among other things. Later the Anglo-Normans followed, who purposefully pushed back the Irish people. In addition to taking land, they even banned the Irish language and customs.

From the 16th century onwards, the settlement of Anglican and Presbyterian settlers led to religious wars against Irish Catholics. The Irish people came to the Christian faith through St. Patrick in the fifth century. With the Act of Union 1801, Ireland is united with Great Britain. However, during the great famine between 1845 and 1851, the British Crown left the country to its own devices, forcing millions of Irish to emigrate, mostly to the United States. This experience had a lasting impact on the country. In the course of the recent economic crisis, many young Irish emigrated to Great Britain or Australia in order to secure their livelihoods.

Relations with Great Britain were difficult for a long time. The Republic of Ireland has existed since 1948 and has been a member of the EU since 1973. To learn more about the country of Ireland and continent of Europe, please follow justinshoes. The border with Northern Ireland is open. Religiously motivated unrest between the two countries repeatedly led to bloody street battles between 1972 and 1993. Many Irish processed the so-called Blood Sunday of January 30, 1972 with the help of music, for example U2 in their song “Sunday Bloody Sunday”.

The importance of religion in Irish society has declined. Many Irish are still religious today and are predominantly members of the Roman Catholic Church. Most of the time, however, they only go to the house of God on special occasions.

Traditions, holidays and symbols

Ireland probably owes its reputation as a “green island” to the rainy weather, which produces a diverse flora. The country is therefore often associated with the color green. For St. Patrick’s Day, some Irish cities and the Liffey also light up in green.

The Irish maintain their Celtic heritage to this day. Gaelic is one of the official languages in the Republic of Ireland, along with English, a compulsory subject in schools and can be found on all place-name signs. One of the largest Celtic festivals is now celebrated in many other parts of the world in a modified form: Halloween originally goes back to Oíche Shamhna.

The sociable Irish pass on myths and legends of the Celts in the form of poems or songs. The country hosts numerous historical and cultural festivals to bring residents and visitors together. Irish artists are honored or new ones discovered here. Traditional Irish music can be found on the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in mid-August. Literature fans meet for the Festival in Listowel at the beginning of June. Even the Bloomsday attracts readers of James Joyce’s Ulysses every year. The Kilkenny Arts Festival brings together international and local artists from all fields.

Musical highlights are the Cork Jazz Festival at the end of October and the Wexford Opera Festival, one of the three largest opera festivals in the world. Given the pronounced love of music, it is not surprising that the harp is a typical symbol for Ireland, which can also be found on the euro coins.

In Ireland, the symbol of the three-leaf clover is reminiscent of St. Patrick, who explained Christianity in an easy-to-understand way with the help of the small plant. To prepare for Christmas, the Irish Advent wreath has five candles: three purple ones for repentance, one pink one for anticipation and one white one for the feast on December 24th.

The Claddagh ring is also a typical Irish symbol that is given mainly to lovers. It consists of two hands holding a heart with a small crown. These symbolize friendship, love and loyalty.

Features of Irish culture

Today 4.3 million people live in the Republic of Ireland. About a third of the population is under 29 years old and a large part lives in the relatively rich Leinster region. The capital Dublin is also located here. The cultural characteristics of the Irish include, above all, hospitality, creativity and a great sense of tradition.

From the “poor house” of Europe, the country developed into a Celtic Tiger, which attracts international corporations and specialists alike. International students should consider the following cultural characteristics in Ireland.

Optimism and serenity

When a problem arises in Ireland, hectic searching for a solution is not an appropriate response. It is much more common to remain calm and courageously to resort to an interim solution. Creativity and optimism are popular qualities in Ireland. The Irish are crisis-tested and know that the earth will keep turning anyway. This also applies to punctuality. A few minutes late are usually allowed.

Cultural Characteristics in Ireland

About the author