Ah, Ireland; ‘The Land of Saints and Scholars,’ ‘The Land of a Hundred Thousand Welcomes,’ and the country of my birth. Additionally, it is also a place plagued by countless myths that many people around the world believe to be true, so here, we at EDUopinions have decided to take a closer look at the most common tall tales about the Emerald Isle. Here there are 7 misconceptions about the Irish Culture:
Leprechauns are not real. They are mythical beings from stories, that, to be honest, are not that big of a deal in Ireland. I don’t know who started this whole Leprechaun thing, but I have to admire them for hyping it up to the level they have – particularly in the United States.
I thought clearing up one of the most outlandish yet widespread rumours about Ireland would be a good place to start – so despite what horror movies may tell you (I’m looking at you, ‘Leprechaun’ – the 1993 movie starring Jennifer Aniston) you need not expect an encounter with a leprechaun (evil or otherwise) during your trip to Ireland.
Ireland is a part of the UK
This is perhaps the biggest Irish myth of all. This is a sad reality for Ireland on the world stage and a falsehood of which I fail to realise the extent until I speak to non-Irish people outside of Ireland. So, although I in no way claim to be an expert on the history and/or politics let me clear up the confusion on a basic level.
The entire island of Ireland was under British rule for several centuries until 1921, and the island of Ireland is made up of thirty-two counties. In 1921, after Ireland’s successful War of Independence against the British, it was agreed (controversially, and consequently leading to an Irish civil war) with the British that six counties in the north of Ireland would remain under British rule. These six counties today are known as Northern Ireland, and Northern Ireland is a part of the UK (UK = The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland).
The remaining twenty-six counties have remained independent from British rule since 1921. These twenty-six Irish counties are known officially as The Republic of Ireland, or simply as Ireland.
Admittedly, terminology on the whole thing is a grey area for many people both on the island of Ireland and off it, particularly depending on an individual’s political views.
So to sum up, Northern Ireland is a part of the UK, and Northern Ireland is a separate state to the Republic of Ireland.
I couldn’t write an article about Irish myths and not mention alcohol consumption. The Irish undoubtedly have a global reputation for being ‘fond of a drink or two’ (Irish code for being a drunk).
I’m not going to lie, in general, Irish people like to go out and have some alcoholic beverages. Perhaps we like it a bit too much, but honestly, I personally have not seen a massive difference in drinking/going out habits in other countries like England, America, and France. The ‘drunken Irish’ really is a stereotype about Irish people. In fact, a handful of my own closest (and Irish) friends rarely drink at all, yet as I am writing this I have encountered twice in the last two days instances of people assuming that we all drink beer all the time in Ireland. So Ireland may be the home of Guinness and Jameson Whiskey, but not every Irish person drinks these products or indeed drinks at all (oh, and we also don’t eat potatoes 24/7).
There’s Only One Irish Accent
Many an actor has fallen victim to the Irish accent, and the criticism is merciless. I’d also like to add at this point that in the twenty-three years I have been an Irish person surrounded by Irish people, I have never once heard someone say ‘top of the morning to ya!’ So, with that off my chest, let me explain.
There is not one sole Irish accent. For such a small country, we in Ireland have a huge amount of accents. Some of the more well-known accents e.g. a Cork accent (what part of Cork city are you from? Or maybe you’re from the countryside?), a Dublin accent (are you from north or south of the River Liffey?), and a Northern Irish accent (which county in the North are you from?) even have many variations within themselves, but the point is that they all, in general, sound massively different. An Irish person will likely know what part of the country you hail from the minute you open your mouth. So if you are going to attempt an Irish accent, we certainly haven’t made it easy for you on our little island.
Everyone is from Dublin
Honestly, I didn’t realise this was a thing until recently when I told non-Irish people I was from Ireland and the next question to come out of their mouths was ‘Oh, Dublin?’ Yes, Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland, and yes, Dublin and its surrounding area have a very high population density, but, no, not all Irish people are from Dublin (I, for example, come from Cork in the southeast of the country – AKA to its inhabitants as ‘The Real Capital’ – but that’s a whole other article in itself).
Tayto Pack Sizes
This one is specifically for Irish people, and is about an Irish brand of crisps/chips (depending on where you’re from) and the number of crisps they put – or more importantly, don’t put – in any one bag. This is a long-standing Irish issue, and I’m sure every Irish person currently in their twenties could find the ‘like’ page ‘Tayto pack sizes are just a myth ’ (‘ somewhere in the depths of their past Facebook activity (2010 was a simpler time). Come 2018, and Tayto’s pack sizes remain a cruel, misleading size – luring you in with a nicely-sized bag, looking like it will fill all your crisp-craving needs – only to leave you feeling as empty as its contents once you actually open it. ‘Sure the bags are half air!’ is sure to be heard many a time in any Irish household at Christmas (a particularly popular time for Tayto consumption). Ireland as a nation is still patiently waiting for Tayto to use all of the space in their bags for actual crisps, and not air.
Everyone has Red Hair
This myth is admittedly not helped by the many pictures of red-haired people lining the walls of the arrival area in Cork airport (they are a series of stunning portraits and were taken as part of a project at the Irish Redhead Convention which also takes place in Cork) but it is, nevertheless, still a myth that all Irish people have red hair. Yes, you will find many Irish people with red hair, but they still remain a small portion of the population in Ireland as they do in many other places.
So I hope I have helped to set straight some of the commonplace myths about Ireland and Irish Culture, is there anything else you have noticed about the Irish or Ireland? Please leave a comment about your Irish experiences and your own opinions on these popular Irish myths!