Etiquette & Customs (in short)
The Irish have a relaxed attitude to practices and attitudes.
Try to learn as much Irish you can before you arrive, or at least so many simple words you can, like “Hello”: Dia duit (DEE-a GHWIT), “Thank you”: Go raibh maith agat (GUH ROH MAH ug-ut) or “Goodbye”: Slán (Slawn)
This shows, that you are willing to learn their language. You can learn more here.
- The basic greeting is a handshake and a hello or salutation appropriate for the time of day
- Eye contact denotes trust and is maintained during a greeting
- It is customary to shake hands with older children
- Greetings tend to be warm and friendly and often turn into conversations
Gift Giving Etiquette:
- In general, the Irish exchange gifts on birthdays and Christmas
- A gift need not be expensive. It is generally the thought of giving something personal, that counts
- If giving flowers, do not give lilies as they are used at religious festivities. Do not give white flowers as they are used at funerals
- Gifts are usually opened when received
- If you are invited to an Irish home be on time (chances are food has been cooked and being late could spoil it)
- Bring a box of good chocolates or a good bottle of wine for to the host
- Offer to help with clearing the dishes after a meal
- Table manners are relatively relaxed and informal
- Do not rest your elbows on the table, although your hands should remain visible and not be in your lap
Should you leave a tip in restaurants or bars?
You can leave a tip, but you don’t have to.
As in many European countries, the bill includes a service charge. So make sure to check the bill itself; there is no need to leave any extra tip in addition to this amount. A service charge is not the same as a tip.
People sometimes give 5 or 10% of the bill as a tip or round up to an even number. It depends on how happy you were with the service.
Ireland is generally a very peaceful country, but there can always happen thefts of mobile phones, cameras and other valuable things. Be aware of pickpockets around various sights – especially around cathedrals and other places where tourists gather.
Most travellers will not experience any issues or problems on their holiday in Ireland. It can happen, but it can also be prevented by some simple precautions as:
- Do not “flash” cash or expensive items
- Visit only the cash machines during the day or early evening
- Do not leave expensive items visible in the car
Places you should avoid in Dublin:
- Ballyfermot, Dublin 10 – Areas are not safe day and night
- Ballymun, Dublin 11 – Areas are not safe day and night
- Thomas Street, Dublin 8 – Avoid after dark, parts of this area are not safe
- Finglas, Dublin 11 – Use caution, you do need to be careful after dark
- Clondalkin, Dublin 22 – Use caution, you do need to be careful after dark
- Sheriff Street, Dublin 1 – Avoid after dark, it is not safe
Places you should avoid in Cork:
- Morrison’s Island – Use caution, you do need to be careful after dark
Places you should avoid in Limerick:
- Perry Square (central station) – Avoid after dark, parts of this area are not safe
- Moyross – Areas are not safe day and night
- Ballynanty – Avoid after dark, parts of this area are not safe
- Mayorstone Garda station – Avoid after dark, it is not safe
- Southill – Avoid after dark, parts of this area are not safe
- St Mary’s Park – Use caution, you do need to be careful after dark
Emergency numbers in Ireland (free call)
In case of any emergency call:
- 112 – National emergency number
- 999 – National emergency number
The caller must:
- State the location where assistance is needed
- State their name and telephone number
- State what happened and if it is still happening
- State how many people need help
- State, if there are weapons involved