For first-time visitors to Ireland, the country is full of surprises and delights. From its stunning landscapes and vibrant cities to its friendly locals and unique culture, there’s something for everyone in this enchanting land. But what are the Irish known for?
The Irish have a long history of producing world-renowned literature, music, art and cuisine that captures the essence of their homeland. Along with these cultural highlights, they are also known for having some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe as well as being one of the friendliest countries you’ll ever visit.
Whether it’s visiting ancient sites or just taking part in traditional pub crawls and ceilis (Irish folk dances), there’s an abundance of activities available to explore when visiting Ireland.
And don’t forget about St Patrick’s Day – no trip to Ireland would be complete without experiencing this annual celebration, with one of the biggest St Patrick’s Day events taking place in Dublin!
So, take a deep breath – you’re about to discover why so many people from around the globe come back year after year to experience all that Ireland has to offer!
- 15 Things the Irish are known for
- 1. Being a welcoming and friendly bunch
- 2. The 'Craic'
- 3. Our love of Guinness
- 4. Potatoes
- 5. Creating some of the world's best whiskey
- 6. Food
- 7. Our love of storytelling
- 8. We love to chat
- 9. We're nosey
- 10. Complaining about the weather
- 11. The Long Goodbye
- 12. A Cuppa Tae (Tea)
- 13. Paddy's Day
- 14. Our Diddley-eye Music
- 15. We're everywhere!
- Frequently Asked Questions About the Irish
15 Things the Irish are known for
1. Being a welcoming and friendly bunch
When people ask, “what are Irish people known for?” at the top of the list is our warm, welcoming, and friendly characteristics.
Céad míle fáilte does mean a thousand welcomes after all.
The Irish are open and inviting to anyone who comes with a good spirit, ready for a chat and a ‘craic’ (Irish slang for fun, see below).
Rarely will you encounter Irish people who won’t greet you with a smile and a “hewya” (hello in Irish slang). Whether it be in a pub, a guided tour, or in a shop, we’re a friendly bunch who will always try to be welcoming to visitors to our beautiful Emerald Isle.
Show me a barman in an Irish pub who doesn’t greet his customers with a smile, a “what are you drinking” and then continue the conversation when he discovers you are a visitor!
Before you go to Ireland, make sure you know and understand how to say hello in Irish.
2. The ‘Craic’
As mentioned in the above point, the ‘Craic’ is a big part of what it means to be Irish.
It’s about having fun, enjoying life, and being sociable. It’s about spending time with friends and family, chatting, laughing, and making memories.
The ‘Craic’ is an important part of our culture and something that we are known for all over the world. Whether it’s at the pub with a few beers or an evening of traditional Irish music, the ‘Craic’ is always there!
It’s part of who we are as a people and something that makes us unique and special. Wherever you go in Ireland, you are sure to have a good time and the ‘craic’.
3. Our love of Guinness
Another one of the things the Irish are known for is Guinness and our love of it.
Guinness is a dark, dry stout that was first brewed by Arthur Guinness in 1759 at his Dublin brewery.
This famous Irish drink is something the Irish are known for and it is a popular drink, both within Ireland and across the world. So much so Guinness owns 5 breweries, with many more breweries around the world brewing this famous drink.
And there is an art to pouring a pint of the ‘black stuff’ as it is known locally. You cannot rush a pint of Guinness. The Guinness Academy says it takes 119.5 seconds to pour the perfect pint and this is why the brand slogan is
Good things come to those who waitGuinness Academy
And at the end of the night in an Irish pub, the bar is filled to the brim with pints of Guinness mid-pour ready for last orders.
The Irish are known for potatoes, without a doubt!
Potatoes have been a staple food in Ireland since they were introduced in the late 16th century. The crop grows well on our island and has become an integral part of our cuisine – from colcannon and champ to potato bread and boxty, there is no shortage of dishes featuring the humble spud.
Discover some great dishes to eat in Ireland.
It’s also a significant part of our culture, with Irish people everywhere referring to it as ‘the staff of life’. We love potatoes so much that we even have our own ‘National Potato Day’ each year in October, although International Potato Day is in late August.
5. Creating some of the world’s best whiskey
Whiskey is another thing the Irish are known for and Ireland produces some of the best whiskey in the world.
Irish whiskey is one of the oldest distilled spirits in the world and the Irish have been making it since the 12th century. There are many great Irish distilleries to visit where you can learn about what goes into making a great bottle of Irish whiskey.
Among the most popular and best-known in the world are Jameson, Bushmills, Teeling, and Tullamore Dew. Whether on its own or as part of an Irish Coffee, why not sample some during your visit to Ireland?
Something you might not have considered but that we are known for is our food. Particularly our traditional dishes.
Irish food is renowned for its flavour and comfort, with an emphasis on comfort. And between the rich soil and abundant seas surrounding the island, we have everything at our fingertips for some delicious dishes.
We love our potatoes, as mentioned, with dishes such as colcannon, boxty, and champ making up some of the best-loved Irish favourites.
But that’s not all. There is a rich variety of tasty dishes to discover on the Emerald Isle. From a traditional Irish stew and fish and chips to smoked salmon with brown bread, Irish food has something for every taste.
And not forgetting our tempting range of traditional desserts – whether it’s a hearty apple tart or a creamy cup of Bailey’s ice cream, you won’t be disappointed with the food choices on the Emerald Isle.
7. Our love of storytelling
As a nation, we love a story. Be it a traditional story, an Irish legend, or something else, the Irish have a rich storytelling heritage.
It’s no surprise then that some of the world’s most famous stories come from Ireland, such as ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ by CS Lewis and ‘Dracula’ by Bram Stoker. One of our favourite children’s authors, Oliver Jeffers is from Northern Ireland.
And we have some legends that have traversed the ages such as the Children of Lir and the tale of how the Giant’s Causeway was formed by Fionn MacCumhaill.
Sometimes, you might be lucky to stumble upon a storyteller in a pub or at a festival around the country. If you do, sit down and lose yourself in the words.
8. We love to chat
The Irish love a chat. We could talk for hours about the weather, sports, politics (although this could turn into an argument), and much more.
Whether it’s at a local pub, out in the street, or over a cup of tea in someone’s house, we love to get into conversations with anyone who will listen.
And chatting isn’t limited to topics such as the weather, sports, and such. Chatting can include good old gossip too.
Did you see what number 23 had delivered to their house yesterday?
Some say we naturally have the ‘gift of the gab’, others will say their ability comes from kissing the Blarney Stone. Whatever the reason may be, don’t be afraid to listen out for a good chat going and share it with us over a pint or a cuppa.
9. We’re nosey
Whether you guessed it or not from my hint in the previous point, the Irish can be a nosey bunch as well. It’s ingrained into our culture to be inquisitive and ask questions.
Some people may think this is intrusive, but in the Irish culture, it is just a part of being friendly. We are always keen to get to know you as well as catch up on what has been going on in your life!
If we hear a different accent, we’ll ask “where are you from?” and that can lead to many a great conversation.
Closer to home, it is common practice, especially in the country, to know each other’s business. Even before my mother took up her job in Tuam, County Galway, the locals knew about her and where she would be working.
See, a nosey lot are the Irish. Word gets around quickly, which can be a little bit annoying unless you want everyone to know your business!
10. Complaining about the weather
Oh, the weather. Another thing we Irish are known for is our love of complaining about the weather. You can’t really blame us though. Our weather is very unpredictable at the best of times.
One minute it could be sunny and the next you’re running for cover from a hail storm!
We love to chat about the most recent weather phenomenon, recount our personal stories of extreme weather events, and warn each other against venturing out of doors without an umbrella.
During autumn, winter, and spring, we love complaining about how cold it is, how wet it is, and how miserable it is. And in summer, we complain about the heat if it lingers too long. We’re not built for blistering heat with our pale complexions and red hair (for the 10% of us with red hair).
So, if you venture into a pub, expect to hear someone moaning about the weather, the rain, or the heat.
11. The Long Goodbye
Another thing that we are known for is our long goodbyes. We love to chat and catch up, so it’s not unusual for a few people to get caught in conversation when they’re saying goodbye.
We like to keep the conversation going until the last possible moment, even if we’ve said our farewells multiple times. It’s almost like it is ingrained in us that you can’t leave without having a proper chat!
This happens to me on many occasions, especially with my sisters when they remember something else they need to tell me before they go. And then comes the even longer goodbye, with one sister, in particular, ending our calls with
bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye
12. A Cuppa Tae (Tea)
Will I stick the kettle on, Mary?
The Irish are well known for their love of tea. A cuppa tae, as we pronounced it, is an essential part of our day, whether it’s to warm up on a cold winter’s day or to take a break from work. We usually have tea with milk and sugar, but there are also many variations depending on personal preference.
Every situation in our lives is accompanied, or solved, by a cuppa.
- Had a bad day at work? Sure, we’ll have a cup of tea.
- You haven’t been well then, Bridget? Sure, tell me over a cuppa tae.
Visiting a relative, whether weekly, monthly, or yearly always starts with the kettle going on. Every family event usually involves tea, be it a christening, wedding, or funeral.
Fun fact: After Turkey, Ireland is the country that drinks the most tea per capita in the world, which is saying something for a beverage that was only introduced to the country in the early 1800s (ref)!
13. Paddy’s Day
The thing the Irish are most known for is St Patrick’s Day, or Paddy’s Day to many locals.
The festivities start early on March 17th with everyone getting involved in some way or another.
We dress in green, take part in and watch the parades, and simply get out and enjoy the ‘craic’.
St Patrick’s Day is a national holiday and one of the biggest events on the Irish calendar.
Every village, town, and city across the country celebrates the Feast Day of our Patron Saint. Whether you want to attend one of the big St Patrick’s Day events in the cities, or a small, local village parade, you can join in and then head to the pub afterward to share which float was your favourite one.
I have several articles about St Patrick’s Day in Ireland including how to spend Paddy’s Day in Dublin, facts about St Patrick, and more.
14. Our Diddley-eye Music
Another thing the Irish are known for is their diddley-eye music.
This is a colloquial name for our traditional music that combines the tin whistle, banjo, and bodhran (drum).
This music can be heard across the country in pubs, at family events, and at ceili’s (traditional Irish festivals). And it is often accompanied by someone doing Irish dancing.
This type of music is the kind many people want to hear during a visit to the Emerald Isle.
15. We’re everywhere!
If you’ve ever wondered how many Irish people in the world there are, then you’d be surprised. While the population of Ireland is just over 7 million, combining the 5.1 million people living in the Republic of Ireland with the 1.9 million in Northern Ireland.
However, there are believed to be around 80 million Irish diasporas around the world.
The definition of diaspora is:
A diaspora is a population that is scattered across regions which are separate from its geographic place of origin.Reference
The Irish are known for their friendly and warm welcomes. We love nothing more than getting lost in a great conversation or telling stories over a cup of tea. We’re known for Guinness, great whiskey, and a whole lot more. So, if you’re wondering what the Irish are known for, I hope this article has helped answer that question for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Irish
You might also these articles about Ireland and its people:
- Irish mammy sayings
- Irish slang words and phrases
- Facts about Ireland
- Celtic Symbols Associated with Ireland
- Irish Mythological Creatures
- Things You Must Do in Ireland
- What Ireland is Famous for