For Foreign Students: Customs and Traditions in Ireland


As you prepare for your study abroad trip to Ireland, don’t forget to learn about the country’s unique characteristics. What are the customs and traditions in Ireland, the festivals and culture? Knowing all these things will inevitably help you to integrate into Irish society more quickly.

In this article, we will try to give you an overview and information about all the customs and traditions of Ireland.

Irish Culture

Popular culture in Ireland is very similar to that of many other Western countries in terms of television, film, popular music, and literature.


Ireland is divided into 32 provinces. The Republic of Ireland is made up of 26 counties, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, has six counties.

Some important points about the geography of Ireland:

  • The highest mountain in Ireland is called “Carrantuohill” in County Carrie (1041 m above sea level).
  • The longest river in Ireland is the Shannon.
  • The biggest lake in Ireland is the lake ” Log Nie ” in Ulster.


There are two official languages in Ireland: English and Gaelic Irish also called simply Irish.

This historical language of Ireland is not used much anymore (except in some areas of the west), but the Irish are attached to it as a symbol. All signs are bilingual.

Symbols of Ireland

The four symbols of Ireland are :

  • The Shamrock.
  • The harp (present on coins but also an emblem of Trinity College Dublin).
  • The tricolored Irish flag (green, white, and orange).
  • Finally, the Irish national anthem: Amhrán na bhFiann.

Irish customs

First of all, family ties in Irish society are very close, you will see that even though there may be a distance between them, people from the same family try to maintain strong ties between them.

Secondly, the Irish have an excellent sense of humor, and they do not hesitate to use words and expressions to ridicule each other.

  • Eye contact demonstrates confidence when talking to the Irish.
  • The Irish exchange gifts at events and birthdays.
  • Gifts in Ireland have a symbolic value consisting of initiative and not a material or financial value.
  • Do not give white roses as they are presented at funerals.
  • If an Irish family invites you, be sure to come at the appointed time and bring a box of excellent chocolate.
  • Offer to help remove the dishes after the meal.
  • The more formal the event, the stricter the procedure. If you don’t know the excellent way to act, you should just observe and follow what others are doing.


Customs and traditions in Ireland are different from those in European countries.

The Irish have a tradition of being friendly. People generally shake hands when they meet for the first time. Friends are met with hugs or greetings.

Value of time

Respect for time does not always seem to be very important in Ireland. Usually, if someone arranges a meeting at 8:00 am, it usually means 8:15 am or later. In general, the Irish are very comfortable at that time. But if you are going to a job interview, you should always come early to indicate that you are on time, as this indicates your ability to take responsibility.

Excellent manners and respect

People usually say “please” and “thank you”, for example when ordering something, and when getting off the bus, most people thank the bus driver.

In stores and other places, people usually stand in line and wait their turn. So be sure to respect this rule and wait your turn.

Public Holidays

Easter in Ireland
The Irish prepare to celebrate Easter on Friday before by fasting (many pubs are even closed). Sunday is a day of family celebration with the traditional egg hunt.

Halloween traditions in Ireland

Halloween is an all-day festival around the world, and Ireland also celebrates it all day on October 31.

Christmas in Ireland

Most, if not all, families celebrate Christmas in Ireland, decorating homes with lights and beautifully decorating the Christmas tree.

National Day, St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland

March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, one of the most popular holidays in Ireland, which is now celebrated in many countries around the world. This day is a public holiday in Ireland, during which a number of celebrations and festivals are held.

Language customs and traditions in Ireland

In Ireland, Irish (Gaelic), as well as English, are the two official national languages. Irish is a Celtic language and was the vernacular language of almost the entire population until the 19th century. It has since been replaced by English as the vernacular language.

The majority of the country’s primary and secondary school students still study the Irish language. And it remains as important for communication in cultural, educational, governmental, literary, and sporting groups throughout Ireland.

Still related to the language, the use of slang is another Irish custom not to be missed. And these Irish expressions even vary a lot depending on the country (Ireland or Northern Ireland), the age of the person speaking, and his education. Among the most popular expressions are:

◊ I’m grand/it’s grand which means “I’m fine/it’s okay”.

◊ Sláinte which means “healthy”, is usually used for toasting.

◊ Dia dhuit which means “hello”.