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The Culture Guide: 5 Things You Should Not Do When Visiting Ireland

Are you planning a trip to the Emerald Isle? With so much to see and do there, you are sure to have a wonderful time. However, if you want your vacation to go as smoothly as possible, here are five things you really ought not to do.

Five Things You Should Never Do as a Tourist in Ireland

Number 5: Embarrass Yourself in a Pub

While the stereotype of Irish people spending all of their free time in a pub isn’t entirely true, that doesn’t mean they’re teetotalers. A vacation to Ireland will likely include at least a few nights in the pub. If you are lucky enough to be invited to go out with locals, don’t be surprised if one of them buys you a drink. But that doesn’t mean you are getting a freebie. The person who bought you a drink will expect you to pay for the next round of drinks. 

Number 4: Talk About ‘The Troubles’ 

The Troubles were the name of a conflict between the Protestant loyalists and the Catholic nationalists in Northern Ireland. Although the dispute has been mostly over for more than twenty years, it is still a touchy subject for many in both Ireland and Northern Ireland. Don’t bring up the topic, and try not to give your opinion one way or the other if asked. Whatever you do, don’t order an Irish Car Bomb in a pub as a joke. It won’t end well. 

Number 3: Trying to Talk With an ‘Irish’ Accent

The number of foreign visitors to Ireland that try out their ‘Irish’ accents or slang hovers right at about 95 percent. If you want to keep a shred of respect among locals, don’t be one of them. No matter what anyone told you, your Irish accent doesn’t sound authentic, and no one says "Top of the mornin’ to you." Oh, and if you are looking for the bathroom, forget about calling it "the Jacks," and stick to using the word "restroom," or you may wet yourself before the person you asked stops laughing. 

Number 2: Refer to St. Patrick’s Day as St. Patty’s Day

Have you ever wished someone "Happy St. Patty’s Day" on March 17th? Don’t do that in Ireland. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say "Happy St. Patrick’s Day" or "Happy St. Paddy’s Day," but the Americanized name of the holiday is particularly grating to Irish people. After all, the holiday is named after St. Patrick, and there are only two nicknames for Patrick; "Pat" or "Paddy" — with two D’s and never two T’s.

Number 1: Say You’re Irish If You Haven’t Been to Ireland Before

Although 1 in 10 Americans can claim Irish ancestry, it is probably not a good idea to proclaim yourself Irish in Ireland unless you were born there. Few things annoy locals more than Americans doing that. And no, just because you may share a family with a local doesn’t mean you are related, so don’t ask. 

Follow these tips, and you will surely have a wonderful time in Ireland.