Curious Differences Between Ireland And America
Ireland and the United States have had a long-standing relationship throughout history. The two countries could be considered cousins after experiencing so much together: serving each other in war and celebrating in peace; sharing citizens and caring for each others’ immigrants; inspiring cultures and social changes; and even offering exclusive visas and opportunities to graduate students who are citizens of the opposing country.
Ireland and America may have influenced each other, but the two countries certainly have their own personalities and features. Ireland isn’t drastically different from America, but while visiting Ireland it’s easy to recognize the uniqueness of this enchanting country.
Here’s a few ways Ireland physically, socially, and culturally differs from America:
Irish drive on the left side of the road.
…and steer from the right side of the car! Experiencing this for the first time as an American was nerve-wracking. Unlike in America, you should also make sure to have someone sit in the front passenger seat of a taxi (on the left side!), even if you go alone. It’s considered rude to not fill up the front seat.
The accent is charming and has character.
Just as accents differ between every country and region around the world, Irish accents are much different from American accents. Personally, it was difficult to understand when an Irish person was angry because their accents sounded so buttery and chipper.
Architecture in Ireland is modest yet appealing.
Many Americans are concerned with the value and aesthetic of their houses, while Irish houses are commonly quaint and the buildings and terraced houses in Ireland stand with humble, welcoming auras – they may not be elaborate, but the lack of ostentatiousness makes them attractive. Whether in the country or in the city, Irish architecture has a rich history that elicits a feeling of warmth and serves as cozy sheltering away from the rainy weather.
Minnesota nice? Nothing compared to Irish nice.
Some Americans may have heard of people in the upper Midwest having a reputation for being nice, but the Irish have a way of being nice in a no-strings-attached sort of way. They don’t expect anything in return if they help you, and they will help you without you asking.
Ireland is tiny compared to America, but the small island has a huge heart.
According to Rootsweb, an Ancestry.com community, the state of Indiana is slightly larger than Ireland in both size and population. Because Ireland is so small for a single country, it’s common for Irish Facebook users to search for someone and find that they have mutual friends or distant relatives. Nearly everyone is connected in one way or another, and this forms a unique closeness among the Irish natives – just another reason for Irish to be nice to one another!
Everything seems simpler and less stressful over there.
When you go grocery shopping, there aren’t a million brands of the same item on the shelves screaming at you to buy them. When you order food or beverages at restaurants or pubs, tipping isn’t necessary. When you need to get from one major city to another, there’s usually one main route via public transport and little to no hassle. When you spend time in Ireland, you’ll learn that life isn’t all about making money or having the fanciest house and car – relax, enjoy your pint, and have a laugh.
The Irish are not as concerned with their relationship status as Americans are.
Not many Irish lads or ladies spend a lot of time thinking or talking about dating or getting married. Most Irish don’t get married until they’re closer to 30-years-old; this may be because Irish know how to enjoy their young, single years out of school. Irish women also tend to be known for their independence that may come with sassiness, and Irish men tend to use their Irish charm to their advantage when it comes to flirting. This is not to say that Irish don’t like a good love story – once they’re ready to settle down.
Pubs have a special place in people’s hearts.
Yes, Americans love a good hometown bar to go out with the girls or bros, but there’s something homey about the way Irish people hunker down in pubs with the lads or ladies to share stories, listen to traditional Irish music, or watch the hurling match together. Time spent in a pub is considered an important aspect of one’s social life, and buying friends their due rounds of pints is a custom.
The Irish coast does not compare to any coastline in America.
The Cliffs of Moher is just one fraction of a magnificent coastline that literally surrounds this island. Salty sea wind, long dancing marram grass and ancient craggy rocks may belong to other coasts around the world, but these features have a special home in Ireland—especially amongst the base of rolling hills and mountains.
No other country utilizes sarcasm and slang the way Ireland does.
Slagging (making light-hearted fun of someone) is a part of everyday conversation in Ireland. Sarcasm is heavily used in American language, but sarcasm in Ireland has its own tone and purpose that tells other people they are liked. Slang is also unique to Ireland as it is to other countries, but slang is used more consistently than in America and changes based on which county you are visiting.