Ireland's culture is primarily Gaelic in origin and largely consists of traditional Gaelic language, music, literature, sports and cuisine. The most well-known emblems of Ireland are the harp, the green Shamrock, and the Celtic cross. Ireland's beautiful, abundant countryside is what gave the country it’s nickname, “The Emerald Isle.”
Dublin’s rich culture
Dublin, Ireland's capital city, is distinguished around the world for its rich literary tradition and unique musical heritage from traditional to rock. Dublin is known as the ‘City of Living Culture’. The culture of Dublin is characterized by the Irish sense of 'Craic', meaning having a good time. Dublin is home to 751 pubs, the oldest of which is called the Brazen Head. The pub was established in 1198 AD as a coach house. Dublin’s acclaimed Trinity College boasts many acclaimed graduates—including Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, and Bram Stoker (who wrote Dracula). Seen around Dublin are statues describing the history and culture of the city. Statutes such as Molly Malone located on the corner of Grafton street, James Joyce Statue located on North Earl Street, just off O’Connell Street, Two Irish Ladies located near the Ha’penny Bridge, The Spire of Dublin Located in the middle of O’Connell Street, The Famine Memorial located on Customs House Quay and Oscar Wilde is located at the corner of Merrion Square close to Ireland’s National Art Gallery & Government Buildings.
What is the main Religion in Ireland?
The main religion in the Republic of Ireland is Christianity. The largest church being the Roman Catholic Church. In the Irish constitution it says that the state may not endorse any religion and guarantees freedom of religion. Irish Christianity is controlled by the Catholic Church. Christianity in Ireland accounts for 82.3% of the Irish population.
Irish cultural celebrations
Bloomsday Festival: The Irish Bloomsday celebration recognises the amazing work of James Joyce, who is one of Ireland's most famous literary geniuses. Bloomsday is held every year on June 16th, the day in which of course is where Joyce's classic novel "Ulysses" takes place. This event was First celebrated in Ireland in 1954. Bloomsday is now a worldwide event celebrated by James Joyce fanatics across the globe. The Dubliners James Joyce Centre hosts a few events on the days following up to Bloomsday. The events include re-enactments, different performances, breakfasts based on cuisine displayed in the novel.
St. Patrick's day: Probably the biggest celebration in Ireland, The St. Patrick's Festival. St. Patrick's day is named after Ireland's patron saint. St. Patrick's day or Paddy’s day celebrates Ireland’s rich culture and heritage with parades, dancing, music, food and plenty of pints of beer. St. Patrick's day started as a one-day holiday on March 17th but is now celebrated on multiple days and enjoyed by millions of locals each year. Dublin’s celebrations are one of the biggest in Ireland and you will find people from all over Ireland and different countries come to see it.
Christmas: Christmas in Ireland is truly something special. Christmas in Ireland usually starts around December 24th and lasts till January 6th.Throughout the Christmas season, you will find singing choirs and street musicians on the streets and patrons filling local pubs to enjoy Christmas holiday. The Catholic church across the country hosts midnight mass on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. On December 26th marks St. Stephen's Day, a national holiday honouring the Christian martyr. St. Stephen’s Day is celebrated with traditional ceremonies, dinner and trips to pubs across Ireland.
Irish Music & Dancing
Traditional Irish Music: The indigenous music of Ireland is known as Irish traditional music. Irish music has remained vibrant throughout the 20th and 21st century, despite its globalising cultural forces. The most conventional instruments used in Irish traditional dance music is the fiddle, flute, tin whistle and Uilleann pipes the history of these instruments being used goes back several hundred years.
Irish Dance: Irish dancing originated when the Celts brought folk dancing with them when they migrated to Ireland well over two thousand years ago. Above all, the Celts would dance as part of their religious rituals, but eventually it then carried over into all sorts of celebrations. Irish dancing is an important piece of heritage and culture of Ireland, just like the Irish language, native sports like Hurling and Gaelic Football and traditional Irish music. In the couple of decades Irish dancing burst back into the scene partly because of the worldwide success of Riverdance.
GAA: The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is Ireland's largest sporting organisation. GAA is known as one of the great amateur sporting associations in the world. GAA is part of the Irish consciousness and plays an extremely influential role in Irish society that goes far beyond the aim of promoting Gaelic games.
Hurling/camogie: Hurling is an Irish game that resembles hockey. Hurling is played with a shorter stick with a large oval blade. Hurling is the national game of Ireland and dates back as far as the 2nd millennium BC. Camogie is an Irish game like hurling and played by women or girls.
Sports like football, rugby and golf are played across all of Ireland.
Traditional Beverages of Ireland
There are a few drinks that come to mind when asked what’s a traditional Irish drink. Here is an example of 4 popular Irish beverages:
Irish coffee: Is coffee mixed with a shot of Irish whiskey, served with cream on top.
Beer: A popular Stout that comes to mind is Guinness. Guinness is an Irish dry stout that started in the brewery of Arthur Guinness the founder of Guinness. Guinness is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide. It is brewed in almost 49 countries and available in 150 countries.
Whisky: Irish whiskey is made with a blend of malt and unmalted barley, whereas Scotch only uses malted barley. This certain type of whiskey is exclusive to Ireland and Redbreast is a continuing the great tradition of pure pot still whiskeys, which is made from malt and unmalted barley in the traditional pot still method.
Tea: Tea drinking is very much a big part of the Irish culture and a visit to an Irish home wouldn’t be complete if you did not get offered a cup of tea. Tea in Ireland comes in many different varieties and shades but the most popular is having Barrys or Lyons tea with milk. Popular tea brands are Lyons and Barry’s tea.
Breakfast: Irish breakfast, also known as a “Fry”. The most common used ingredients in Ireland are bacon (rashers), pork sausages, fried eggs (or scrambled), white pudding and black pudding, fried tomato and toast. Mushrooms, baked beans and hash browns and sometimes included in the breakfast also.
Main Course: There are a few traditional Irish main course dishes but here are the 3 most common: Irish stew, bacon and cabbage and a carvery also known as a Sunday roast.
Dessert: For dessert a traditional dish would be an Irish coffee or an apple tart.
Did you know?
Dublin has the youngest population in all of Europe. Around 50% of the population in Ireland is less than 25 years of age. In general Ireland has the youngest population in the European Union, with one in four people now aged 14 or under.
Check out some more of our Irish blogs: