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Customs & traditions in Ireland

Updated: May 5, 2021

Home> Countries> Europe> Ireland> Customs & Traditions

Ireland boasts culture, full of unique traditions, customs, and origins so equivalent with the Emerald Isle.
From Irish dancing to the love for potatoes, here are the most celebrated of Irish culture.

General Etiquette

  • People always say ‘please' and ‘thank you' For example, when getting off a bus, most people will thank the driver.

  • If there is a line for something, always queue and wait for your turn.

  • Irish people tend to keep an arm's length's distance between themselves and others while speaking.

  • Irish always shake hands with people when they first see them and again when they are leaving.

  • When ending a conversation on the phone, the Irish will usually say ‘bye’ multiple times before they hang up.

  • It is rude not to take off your hat when entering a home, church, or pub.

  • The Irish are relatively flexible with their time, so it is generally acceptable to arrive 15 minutes later.

  • Sometimes, an Irish person may nod or jerk their head or chin in the direction of what is discussed rather than a point with their finger.

  • The use of hand gestures is not common, but neither do the Irish keep their hands entirely still when conversing. Some older Irish people who are Catholic will often make the sign of the cross when passing a church, funeral procession, graveyards, or when an ambulance passes with its sirens on.


  • For most Irish, the nuclear family plays a major role in their day-to-day lives.

  • The extended family continues to be an essential part of Irish society.

  • In the past, extended families would live near one another, but this is becoming less common today due to the ongoing impacts of urbanization.

  • Nonetheless, the family remains fundamentally important to the individual.

  • Indeed, the unique personal relationships that family members share and the support they receive from one another are highly valued.

  • The Irish are encouraged to be independent and self-reliant as they grow up.

  • Children will live with their parents until they leave to attend university, to move in with their partner, or once they have become financially independent.

  • In rural areas, children will usually leave home at around the age of 18 to 19 to attend university or to look for jobs in larger cities.

  • Family cohesiveness remains a focal point for