To be sure, to be sure Ireland is a magical country, a country that is so hospitable, that you won’t want to leave, yet there are some Do’s and don’ts when visiting Ireland that you need to be aware of. Note you do need to take your craic (crack) seriously.
• Do embrace craic (pronounced crack) …the Irish word for a helluva lot of fun. Be judicious when using the term craic in other countries however. A young lady we met in Ballymacarry Lower told us about visiting Melbourne, Australia and going to a pub. She asked loudly where do you go to get some craic … lost in translation, I guess.
• Do expect the locals to try to take the Mickey out of you. Believe half of what you are told … but it is always done in the best possible way. Why Mickey you ask? This expression came about because so many people from Ireland are of Irish descent and have surnames begin with Mc- or Mac-. Also, well … mickey, might mean micturate and sort of means, to take the piss out of someone. Ergo Paula McInerney note the Irish heritage… from Country Clare, Kilmaley BTW. As we were told, the Irish are a nation of story tellers. It’s in the blood…
• Do expect to spend a lot of time in Irish pubs. there are a LOT of pubs in Ireland. It is the way of life, and the communal gathering places.
• Do at least try one Guinness, an Irish dry stout at least once … it is just what you have to do. Do as local do, and embrace local experiences when you travel.
• Do expect to be introduced to Irish gin, which has taken off in Ireland and with very good reason. Dingle owns it IMHO. Did you know that if you just drink Dingle gin all night you will never get a hangover? Yes, you heard it here first. Read about visiting Dingle here. Read about why you must visit Dingle in Ireland.
• Do expect to try Irish whisky. You want to be as patriotic and supportive as possible of the local culture. Tá? That I believe, is Irish talk.
• Is anyone seeing a theme going on here? As one taxi driver said to us,
“we might have had a famine here in Ireland, but no-one died of thirst”
• Do expect some of the freshest seafood, particularly along the Wild Atlantic Way. Salmon I hear you say. Seafood chowder …OMG.Stay and wait for the fishing boats to arrive with fresh oysters in Dingle, Everyone does.
• Do rent a car and see some of the most beautiful countryside in the world. Don’t expect to do everything quickly, take your time and embrace this amazing country.
• Do expect to have the bejesus scared out of you when driving along a little country road, and a Guinness truck comes roaring at you. But just think what your obituary would read, Just saying’.
• Do not (NOT) expect the local drivers to follow any type of road rules. Why bother when you are Irish…and God has your back.
• Do make sure that you are aware of the finger when driving. Make sure that as you pass someone, you raise your finger from the steering wheel to acknowledge that you are passing them. It’s a courtesy thing.
• Do be aware that you know that you are lost when there is grass growing in the middle of the road. Thank you Fáilte Ireland for sharing this handy hint with us (smiley face right here)
• Do expect that local people will be very very very hospitable .. very
• Do get your inner Star Wars going by visiting the island of Skellig Michael, in County Kerry, Ireland, which was the filming location for Jedi Master Luke Skywalker’s hideaway planet. Why not stay on Valentia Island which is close by. Neither had we heard of it, but what a good time we had. It was great craic.
• Do visit the Cliffs of Kerry and be prepared to be blown off the magnificent cliffs into the wild Atlantic Ocean. If you fall over …don’t worry, you may/will end up in Boston…eventually.
• Do drive the magical road in Ireland. The magic roads of Ireland, or gravity hills where if you place your car in neutral, turn the car off, then the car will roll UP THE HILL – MAGICALLY. This is in the Comeragh Mountains, Dungarven in Co Waterford.
• If you don’t like to weather wait 10 minutes and it will change. (from the local taxi driver when you visit Killarney). People worry about the unpredictable Irish weather. Why bother? It rains, the sun comes out, it is windy, it is just freaking wonderful.
• Definitely visit the Ring of Beara, one of the most amazing places in the world…tourist buses cannot do this route, which is a good thing. Do it by car, by bicycle, or hike it if you are fit. Just watch out for the Irish sheep and cows who may be lying on the road and are everywhere. Do the Ring of Beara in preference to the Ring of Kerry where there will be many tourist buses and less photo ops. Rad more about visiting the Ring of Beara
• Do drop into the Hole in the Wall in Kilkenny, owned by local cardiologist and ex doctor of Metallica, and join in some stone banging (literally) impromptu music sessions …and have a drink or 10 while you are at it. Make sure to visit Kilkenny
Tell Michael Paula and Gordon sent you. Here are the details of the Hole in the Wall establishment.
• Do embrace the historical and cultural significance of Ireland. You cannot avoid seeing a castle and nor should you. The place is mystical
• Do go to Church …this is a Catholic country, and you may need your soul to be healed …. after all the pub trips, the guilt, etc
• Do expect to see leprechauns …. After you have been to the pub(s) …though the Irish are not amused by tourist’s obsession with using this term leprechauns. Sorry about that but we all like leprechauns.
• Don’t be offended by swearing. It is just part of the lingo, and that is my excuse and I am sticking to it. Fook it.
• Do embrace green … you have absolutely no choice in this Emerald Isle. If you have heard Johnny Cash sing about the 40 shades of green in Ireland, you would probably question his Maths. There are probably more than 40 shades of green in Ireland, and it will blow your mind. As Gordon said, Ireland is one fooking big farm.
• Do embrace the trad music sessions that spontaneously occur at pubs throughout the country. Feel free to join in as this is a communal occasion. Feel free to sing along …. A Guinness will help alleviate any stage fright.
• Do learn about hurling, the sport that the Irish are obsessed with …make sure you back the team from Kilkenny, and they will love you forever.
• Tipping in Ireland? Not expected. Service charges can be added to the bill, though not always, but of course if the service and food, and the craic is amazing …. Then why the hell not … Learn more about tipping around the world.
• Do talk to the locals. Actually, you cannot avoid it. The Irish love to talk. The best topics are the weather, and politics. Be forewarned, the Irish know politics very well, so I would suggest sticking to the weather. Remember it changes every 10 minutes.
• There is more to Ireland than just visiting Dublin … do visit the Wild Atlantic Way and Donegal, Kilkenny, Killarney, definitely Dingle and more. Obviously, you can read more about visiting Ireland on our website.
Ireland is one of the most amazing countries you can ever visit. I think that these Do’s and Don’ts when Visiting Ireland will enhance your visit. You owe me a gin, to be sure to be sure. Did i mention shamrocks?