Learning the Customs and Superstitions of Ireland


Two practical pieces of knowledge about moving to Ireland are understanding, or at least being aware of, customs and superstitions.


When greeting someone, the Irish use general English phrases, like “Hi” “Hello” or “How’s it going?” You’ll often hear people greet each other with “Dia dhuit” meaning “God be with you.” Eye contact denotes trust, and is kept during a meeting. If you are invited to an Irish home, make sure to show up on time. The Irish often have pride in their sense of humor and tease their friends, so if you are teased, make sure to take it lightly.

In terms of business customs, be sure to shake hands with everyone at a meeting, both at the beginning and the end. Many business people don’t have business cards, so if you give someone your card and don’t get one in return, don’t be offended. It is common to conduct business meetings in casual places like restaurants and pubs. It is also customary to participate a lot during the conversations, as these meetings are supposed to be very engaged. Irish business culture is known to be more relaxed than many other places in Europe.


Many of us are familiar with the cliches of Luck of the Irish, Pots of Gold or Four-Leaf Clovers, but not all of us know practical information for moving to Ireland. Some interesting examples are that dropping coins over the side of a ship causes storms, and that water that feet is washed in is never thrown out at night. When there is an electrical storm, make sure to cover all the mirrors in your house or turn them around. When someone buys a new car, you should give them money.

When in Ireland, behold the almighty power of the potato. If you have tonsillitis, you should place a stocking filled with hot potatoes against your throat to cure it. To cure a wart, rub a fresh-cut potato on it, and then bury the potato in the garden.

As for bad luck, the Irish may have traditions wary of putting shoes on a table or chair, bring lilac into the house, cut your nails on Sunday or give a knife as a gift. If you decide to move into an Irish house, be aware that it is considered unlucky to build an extension on the rear of your house.

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