Ireland is the 7th happiest place to live in Europe according to an EU study.
And we were even named ‘the best country in the world’ because we have made the greatest contributions to humanity and the planet, according to a 2014 survey!
Picturesque countryside, rugged coastlines, tranquil lakes and historic monasteries. Ireland is affectionately known as the “Emerald Isle” or the “Land of Saints and Scholars”. There isn’t really anywhere else like it in the world.
Stereotypes aside, the Irish are friendly and welcoming people. Always up for “the craic” (crack), a common word that depending on the context can mean having some fun - “sure, we’ll go for the craic!” Or how are things with you - “what’s the craic?” Ireland is also home to people from all around the world, with the bigger cities becoming increasingly multicultural – over 15% of Dublin’s population is foreign-born.
English is the first language. Actually, only a small number of people speak Irish as their first language.
However, there will always be the occasional Irish word throwin in with English for good measure. Slainte (pronounced slawn-che) is a common one, meaning good health or cheers, it is often used as a parting salutation or giving a toast. If you hear somebody suggesting a cúpla pionta (pronounced coop-la pyun-tah) they’re suggesting that you go for a couple of drinks or “a few scoops”.
Pubs & Drinking
Pubs and social drinking is a big part of Irish culture. Pubs are at the heart of the Irish social scene and “the local” is a focal meeting point within most communities. It’s a place to go after work on a Friday, have some lunch on a Sunday, or after a sports event, and some pubs are a place for traditional music and storytelling.
Irish weather is notoriously unpredictable and rainy, and you will get used to hearing the Irish complaining about it! Comments on the weather are a typical opening gambit in Irish conversation and if you want to strike up a conversation with an Irish person, this is a good starting point.