What are the typical Irish people traits that make the Irish, Irish? If there’s ever been a nation of people that holds a special place in the hearts of people all over the world, it’s our Irish neighbors.
From Americans, who love to advertise their Irish blood and Irish ancestry. To the adoration of the smooth Irish accent and even the worldwide celebration of their best-known holiday, St. Patrick’s Day.
The personality, charm, and welcoming aura draw so many people to visit the beautiful Emerald Isle.
Irish culture has weaved its way around the world, and it’s one of the very few cultures that has managed to hold onto many old beliefs and behaviors. Even so, many countries have tried to take Ireland for their own over the centuries.
So, what are Irish people like? What are Irish people known for? And what do Irish people look like?
What Are Irish People Like? 9 Typical Traits of Irish People
There have always been some particularly irritating stereotypical Irish personality traits floating around. Many of these stereotypes stem from as far back as the 1800s in Irish history. Ireland has the invasion and attempted colonization from Great Britain to thank for that.
As much as we Irish don’t like to admit it, some of these are true. Yet, there are many characteristics that they are also very proud of.
#1 They Love Tea
Irish people sure love their tea. If you watched at least one episode of Father Ted, you may already have an understanding of the Irish and our affinity for this beverage.
The first thing guests are offered when entering an Irish person’s home is a cup of tea. Feeling a bit down, have a cup of tea. The best thing to drink when you’ve just come back from a holiday? You’ve guessed it, a cup of tea.
Our love for it is so strong that the never-ending fight for the best brand to use is a source of some great jokes.
It’s Lyons by the way.
Our addiction to this caffeinated drink is one stereotypical Irish characteristic we can’t deny.
#2 They Love A Good Moan
Irish people love to complain. But that’s not a trait you should admit to, I hear you cry. When it comes to the Irish, we love complaining. It should be a negative trait but it’s something that brings us together.
It may sound like a lie. However, it’s true. You haven’t had a proper conversation with an Irish person until they’ve moaned about the weather, complained about the traffic, or given out about ‘your one’ down the street
A poll taken in 2011 found that Irish people moan on average around 9.5 hours a week. That’s a massive 20 days of complaining every single year.
So, if you want to blend in with the locals, start with ‘Ah, sure the weather’s frightful out there today”.
#3 Gossip Is Currency
Irish people love to gossip. Gossip was the way you knew about the goings-on within your community. Long before social media meant we had everything at our fingertips. It’s a personality trait that has been hard to shed for the Irish people.
From peeking out of your window to see what the neighbors are up to, to overhearing a lover’s tiff in the corner shop, or seeing a new face down the town. Gossip is a social connection, a way to find common ground with your peers. Something the Irish love to do.
However, this nosiness is usually harmless and is just part and parcel of the Irish social scene.
#4 They Are Fierce
Irish people are fierce! The so-called ‘Irish Temperament’ is why we tend to be called the fighting Irish. However, over the centuries, this has been misconstrued as a trait that stems from us all being drunks. We aren’t, although drinking culture is deeply intertwined with many of our celebrations.
The Irish have long been a fearsome nation of people. From the centuries of having to defend our country, it isn’t hard to understand why we have a hot temper.
This doesn’t go for every Irish person you meet, but many of us are very passionate. Whether it be about politics, religion, or just a simple happening in their community. Irish people stand by their beliefs with fierce stubbornness.
#5 The Irish Welcome
Ah, the warm welcome of the Irish nation. We’re incredibly proud of it and have even built entire tourism campaigns around it.
But what is it about our famous welcome that makes it so unique? Is it our warm smile, our great personal charm, or perhaps our polite helpfulness?
Honestly, it’s all of the above. One habit all people in Ireland have, and those who have lived here for a while pick up, is the hello. It doesn’t matter who you are; we’ll say hello or how’s it going to you on the street.
Even those driving their cars may give you a wave as they pass you.
#6 Potatoes Are Everything
Can a food item be characteristic traits? Well, ask any Irish man, woman, or child and the answer will be yes. Irish people love their potatoes
The population of Ireland is incredibly diverse. So, our foodie palate isn’t as bland as you might expect. However, something about the humble spud has us all hooked. It’s a damn perfect veggie that is insanely versatile. So, what isn’t there to like?
We love a good varied diet with dishes from all over the world. Yet, there’s nothing quite like Mammy’s home-cooked spuds and sausages.
The potato in Ireland has great historical significance. It was one of few food sources we had at one stage. You may have heard of the Great Famine. Well, a nasty case of potato blight was the main cause of years of starvation. So it’s safe to say that yes the people of Ireland love their spuds.
#7 Always Up For The ‘Craic’
Pronounced’ crack’, this typical Irish slang word is almost a cultural phenomenon of its own. Meaning fun or a good time, Irish people use this word all the time.
We are a nation of people who are just out to have a good time. There’s nothing quite like experiencing the craic in a proper Irish pub, none of this bar nonsense. The one thing you’ll find when it comes to the Irish is most of us are blessed with a great sense of humor.
However, craic can also be a question. If someone asks you ‘What’s the craic?’ They’re asking you how’s it going, what’s the story, and has anything exciting happened to you lately. A lot of meaning for one little word, am I right?
#8 The Irish Goodbye
We just don’t like saying it. It seems we hate saying goodbye so much that we have created a unique way of avoiding them altogether. How do we do that? We just leave without telling anyone we’re going. A party, a gathering at the local pub, a meal out with friends, and even dinner with your mother isn’t safe.
If it is our time to say goodbye, we will be gone with not a word said. You will only notice we are gone because we have probably left half a pint on the table, unfinished for over 30 minutes.
Who knows where it originated from, but the Irish goodbye is something we have all done here in Ireland at one stage or another. It’s also a phrase that many other countries have adopted to describe people who do this.
#9 The Gift Of The Gab
From our ancient storytellers to the Irish man you meet at the airport, we all love having the chats. There’s a reason why the saying ‘could talk for Ireland’ is still used today. Get us talking and it can be hard for many Irish people to stop.
We like to think it’s part of our sun shine warm charm, one of those character traits the world loves. We love talking so much that we have a stone, the Blarney Stone, that is supposed to impart the gift of the gab onto those who kiss it.
What Is The Irish Mentality?
We really do have a thrive and survive mentality here on the Emerald Isle. We have had to battle some serious misconceptions and attacks on our nation that it would have been impossible to have not created this mentality.
Our history has been filled with outside countries labeling us lazy, uneducated, vulnerable, and excessive drunks. Even in our more thoughtful society, jokes at the expense of the Irish are everywhere.
We are known for our vivid personalities and willingness to help out now. However, it has taken us a long time to get there.
Nowadays, even our holidays and culture have been claimed by millions of people around the world for decades. St. Patrick’s Day is a great example of this. It seems as though non-Irish people value our culture far more than actual Irish natives.
Irish history is so diverse, rich, and incredibly sad at times that we are proud of our survive and thrive mentality. We may have been the underdog for much of our history but we’re doing pretty well for ourselves now.
What Do Irish People Look Like?
When you conjure up the image of an Irish person, you think of flaming red hair, piercing blue eyes, and porcelain skin, right? Unfortunately, this physical trait is relatively rare. Yes, we have red-headed Irish people but honestly, there aren’t that many of them.
If we go back to prehistoric Ireland, you’d be surprised to find out that new evidence suggests we had much darker skin and blue eyes. More than a century ago native Irish people would have had fair or pale skin with blue but today that is not the case.
Ireland has become a real melting pot of cultures and nationalities that there are no typical Irish features anymore. We come from Asian heritage, African Heritage, and any other heritage you can think of. Long gone are the times when you could look at someone and immediately tell if they were Irish.
However, one very Irish physicality that has stood the test of time is the appearance of freckles.
How Can You Tell If Someone Is Irish?
Although it has become harder to tell if someone is Irish simply by looking at them because there isn’t one type of Irish person. Some things will automatically give away whether someone is Irish or not. Here are three things that will tell you if someone is Irish.
#1 The Accent
Without a doubt, the Irish accent is hard to miss. It’s an accent that is loved by people the world over and it is the most obvious sign that someone is Irish. However, the Irish accent has massive variations depending on where someone grew up. The further south you go the thicker and harder to understand the accent becomes.
It’s impressive for such a small nation to have a different dialect and accent for each of its 32 counties. Many Irish people can tell exactly where you are from in the country just by hearing how you speak.
Although most Irish people speak English, much of our pronunciation is different thanks to our native Irish language. A language that is still spoken throughout much of the country.
#2 The Slang
Although Irish slang will differ from county to county, some slang words are used all over the Island.
Here are a few popular slang terms that only the Irish use.
Grand – Good or Ok
Culchie – Term for countryside folk (generally used in a derogatory way)
Wee – Little or small
Wain – A child
Ah come here now – Come and tell me or used to explain exasperation
Sure look – Meaning it is what it is
Give Out – To argue or complain
Feck – A polite version of f*ck
Eejit – Means idiot
#3 Gaelic Football
Gaelic football, or just football as it’s called in Ireland, is one of Ireland’s most popular and traditional national sports. Each county has its team and rivalry is fierce. So if you spot someone wearing a Gaelic football jersey it’s a pretty good indicator that they are born and bred Irish.
Although the sport was confined to Irish shores for a long time, it has begun to spread over the globe. With 20% of all Gaelic football clubs now reading outside of Ireland. This is partly due to the mass emigration that Ireland has experienced.
I am a British-born copywriter who moved to Ireland over a decade ago and have been captivated by Irish culture, landscape and folklore. I enjoy sharing my passion for Ireland through my writing as a freelancer.