Traditions and customs of Ireland

What customs and traditions are there in Ireland?

The traditions and customs of Ireland (the southern one).

Food and economy

Food in daily life

The Irish diet is similar to that of other Northern European nations. Emphasis is placed on the consumption of meat, cereals, bread and potatoes in most meals. Vegetables such as cabbage, turnips, carrots, and broccoli are also popular as side dishes for meat and potatoes.

Traditional Irish eating habits, influenced by the agricultural spirit, consisted of four meals: breakfast, dinner (midday and main of the day), tea (early afternoon, as opposed to “high tea” served usually at 4pm and associated with British customs), and dinner (a light meal before retiring).

Roasts and stews of lamb, beef, chicken, ham, pork and turkey are the center of traditional meals. Fish, especially salmon, and shellfish, especially shrimp, are also popular foods. Until recently, most stores closed for dinner (between 1:00 and 2:00 pm) so that staff could go home to eat.

These patterns, however, are changing, due to the growing importance of new lifestyles, professions and work patterns, as well as the rise in consumption of frozen, ethnic, take-out and processed foods.

However, some foods (such as wheat breads, sausages and sausages) and some drinks (such as domestic beer, Guinness and Irish whiskey) retain their important taste and symbolic role in Irish meals and social activities. Regional dishes also exist, consisting of variants of stews, potato casseroles and breads.

The pub is an essential meeting place for all Irish communities, but traditionally these establishments rarely serve dinner. In the past, pubs had two separate sections, the bar section reserved for men and the lounge section open to men and women. This distinction is eroding, as are expectations of gender preference in alcohol consumption.

Food customs on ceremonial occasions

There are few ceremonial food customs. Large family gatherings often sit down to a main meal of roast chicken and ham, and turkey is becoming the go-to dish for Christmas (followed by Christmas cake or plum pudding).

Drinking behavior in pubs is informally ordered, in what some perceive as a ritualistic way of buying drinks on rounds.


General rules of social etiquette apply across ethnic, class, and religious barriers. Loud, boisterous and boastful behavior is discouraged. Strangers look at each other directly in public spaces and often greet each other with a wave.

Outside of formal introductions, greetings are often vocal and not accompanied by a handshake or kiss. Individuals maintain a public personal space around them; contact with the public is rare. Generosity and reciprocity are key values ​​in social exchange, especially in ritualized forms of group drinking in bars.


Religious beliefs

The Irish Constitution guarantees freedom of conscience and the free profession and practice of religion. There is no official state religion, but critics point to the special consideration given to the Catholic Church and its agents since the state’s creation.

In the 1991 census, 92 percent of the population were Roman Catholic, 2.4 percent Church of Ireland (Anglican), 0.4 percent Presbyterian, and 0.1 percent Methodist. The Jewish community comprised 0.04 percent of the total, while about 3 percent belonged to other religious groups.

No information on religion was returned for 2.4 percent of the population. The Christian revival is changing many of the ways people relate to each other and to their formal church institutions. Popular cultural beliefs also survive, as evidenced by the many holy places and healing sites such as holy wells that dot the landscape.

Religious practitioners

The Catholic Church has four ecclesiastical provinces, which cover the entire island, thus crossing the border with Northern Ireland. The Archbishop of Armagh in Northern Ireland is the Primate of all Ireland. The diocesan structure, in which thirteen hundred parishes are served by four thousand priests, dates from the twelfth century and does not coincide with political borders.

There are approximately twenty thousand people serving in various Catholic religious orders, out of a combined Irish and Northern Irish Catholic population of 3.9 million. The Church of Ireland, which has twelve dioceses, is an autonomous church within the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Its All-Ireland Primate is the Archbishop of Armagh, and its total membership is 380,000 members, 75 per cent of whom are in Northern Ireland. There are 312,000 Presbyterians on the island (95 per cent of whom are in Northern Ireland), grouped in 562 congregations and twenty-one presbyteries.

Rituals and Holy Places

In this predominantly Catholic country there are a number of shrines and holy places recognized by the Church, notably Knock in County Mayo, the site of a supposed apparition of the Blessed Virgin.

Traditional holy places, such as holy wells, attract local people at all times of the year, although many are associated with particular days, saints, rituals and festivals.

Internal pilgrimages to places such as Knock and Croagh Patrick (a mountain in County Mayo associated with Saint Patrick) are important aspects of Catholic belief, often reflecting the integration of formal and traditional religious practices. Feast days in the official calendar of the Irish Catholic Church are observed as national holidays.

Death and afterlife

Funeral customs are inextricably linked to various religious rituals of the Catholic Church. While wakes continue to be held in homes, the practice of using funeral directors and viewing rooms is gaining in popularity.

Secular celebrations

National holidays are tied to national and religious history, such as St. Patrick’s Day, Christmas, and Easter, or are seasonal holidays and holidays that are celebrated on Mondays, allowing for long weekends.

Arts and Humanities


The literary revival of the late nineteenth century integrated the centuries-old traditions of Irish writing with those of English, in what has come to be called Anglo-Irish literature.

Some of the greatest English writers of the last century were Irish: WB Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Frank O’Connor, Seán O’Faoláin, Seán O’Casey, Flann O’Brien and Seamus Heaney. They and many others have provided an unsurpassed record of a national experience that has universal appeal.

Graphic arts

High, popular and folk arts are highly valued aspects of local life throughout Ireland. The graphic and visual arts are strongly supported by the government through its Arts Council and the Department for the Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, created in 1997.

All the great international art movements have their Irish representatives, who are often equally inspired by indigenous or traditional motifs. Among the most important artists of the century are Jack B. Yeats and Paul Henry.

Performing arts

The performers and artists are especially valued members of the Irish nation, which is internationally recognized for the quality of its music, acting, singing, dancing, composing and writing.

U2 and Van Morrison in rock, Daniel O’Donnell in country, James Galway in classical, and the Chieftains in traditional Irish music are but a sample of the artists who have been important influences in the development of music. international. Traditional Irish music and dance have also spawned the global phenomenon of Riverdance.

Irish cinema celebrated its centenary in 1996. Ireland has been the location and inspiration for feature film production since 1910. Great directors (such as Neill Jordan and Jim Sheridan) and actors (such as Liam Neeson and Stephen Rhea) are part of a national interest in the representation of contemporary Ireland, as symbolized by the state-sponsored Film Institute of Ireland.

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