OT: FYI RA! Ireland 101

Filming for RA’s latest project, medieval road-movie Pilgrimage, is set to start today, and Mr A is due to head to Europe. Eventually. Is he going to film in Ireland? If so, it might be handy to give him a few pointers re. customs and language in Ireland, from one familiar ex-pat to another temporary visitor. Yes, that’s necessary. You might think that Ireland – with a history as Britain’s “first colony” and as the neighbouring isle – is an extension of home to Britons. In many ways it is similar – the two countries share the skeleton of a language, have been bound together by the exchange of emigrants and immigrants, as well as culture and art. Houses look similar, they both have a weakness for fish and chips, and produce TDH actors (keywords Armitage and Turner)… And yet little Ireland, a 4.5 million strong island on the Western fringe of Europe, reacts very sensitively to Britons who do not understand its quirks, differences and idiosyncracies of language and culture. So just to make sure quintessential middle-England product Armitage doesn’t put his foot in, I have decided to put together a few “dos and don’ts” for him. And for you, should you ever have the opportunity to visit this island (hello Helen, huhu cRAmerry and Silverbluelining *waves*)…

Disclaimer: My recommendations are based on my own observations of living in my beloved, adopted home for the past 15.5 years. No offense intended. All opinions are purely personal and may not reflect the experience of others.


Language is top of the list in my Ireland crash course – after all it is something that Mr A is not only very eloquent with and conscious of, himself, but it is the prime tool of communication when he will be receiving instructions on set and interacting with crew and fellow actors. A few pitfalls to avoid:

1. Don’t break into Shakespearean English if you encounter what sounds like old-fashioned English. Hiberno-English distinguishes the second person plural with separate words. Addressing two people directly as in “Where have you been?” takes the shape of “Where have ye been?” No need to counter with “Killing swine!”

2. Don’t smirk at overhearing Irishisms such as “I am after taking a photo of him” (= I have just photographed him), and the reflection and duplication for emphasis in “OMG, that is himself in leather, so it is” (= It is Richard him wearing leathers). It’s all down to the Gaelic influence (and possibly the presence of himself, to be sure).

Feck it3. Don’t mimic the unnecessary usage of the word “sure” as in “Ah feck it, sure he’s grand” (=he’s ok) and “Sure, Richard’s tolerable” (= he’s the hottest piece of actor’s ass I have ever seen).

4. Don’t roll a Euro note if someone asks you “Are you having any crack?” Crack refers to craic, Irish for “fun”. Just remember the craic is always mighty in Ireland.

5. Don’t attempt Irishisms yourself. You make yourself look like a feckin’ eejit if you do so, big feckin’ unmistakable Brit that you are, so.

5.1 Don’t get offended at being called a feckin’ eejit. It’s a term of endearment, used for tenderly-regarded, mildly-tolerated friends that are deemed harmless.

5.2. Mind you, that depends on the tone it is said in. If in doubt: Just tell them to “feck off”. But don’t pronounce the retort with a U instead of an E in the f-word.


The Irish are a very open, easy-to-talk-to people. They like socializing, and the prime spot for doing so is the local pub. Here are a few dos:


Toner’s Pub, Dublin

1. Drink the local tipple. Yes, even if you prefer Pinot Noir. At least make it a “glass” of Smithwicks if can’t stand the velvety black stuff (aka Guinness). Oh, and Smithwicks is pronounced “Smith-icks”. If you pronounce the “w”, they’ll think you are an eejit *ggg*.

2. Take part in small talk. Top conversation opener: the weather. Sentences like “ah, sure, it was only a soft day today” (describing the kind of lighter-than-light drizzle that never ends and drenches through three layers of outdoor clothing) and “damn, it’s much too cold for April” will bring you clout.

2.1 Pepper your conversation with plenty of profanities. And mention your audience’s names often in the conversation to soften the blow.

3. Have a couple of English folk songs at the ready. After a couple of drinks, the Irish like to break into a sing-song – and outsiders are expected to join in. Refusals result in being thought an eejit. Note: “Love in an elevator” doesn’t count!

4. In the environment of the pub, round-systems are in operations. If you join a group late, you say hello at the table, enquiring whether anyone is in need of a drink before you proceed to the bar and order yours and everybody else’s drinks. No “sitting this one out”! Instead, practice the Irish way of saying “cheers”: sláinte, pronounced /slawn-tcha/. Means “to your health”.

5. Last orders are obligatory even if your glass is still full! (If you are lucky, it’s not your round but someone else’s.) No leaving the pub before the barman asks you whether you have no home to go to!

General Helpful Observations and Recommendations

The Irish are not the least impressed with celebrity or fame. In fact they are quite cheeky when it comes to famous people. But for the most part they will happily ignore your status as a celebrity. Sure people might recognize you and say hello, or even gently take the piss mickey out of you, but they do not stalk you. Should you nonetheless feel the need to blend in I know, it’s hard for you to blend in – you’re TDH this is what you do (not) do in public:

1. Under no circumstance wear anything green. Only tourists do that! Unless it is an FAI (Football Association of Ireland) t-shirt.

bottle opener


1.1 Since it is already April, you should actually wear shorts and t-shirts – it’s practically summer here! 18 degrees is *hot*. Coats are for wimps. Invest in practical wear that has double functionality (see illustration right).

2. Do not form an orderly queue at the check-out/bus-stop/bar. Ireland is more of the elbow variety when it comes to lining up.

3. In the unlikely event of you using public transport, thank the bus driver while alighting with a simple “Thank you”. (“Luv” after the thank you optional in case of female driver.)

4. If hiking or walking in rural areas, greet every on-coming walker with a cheerful “hello, great day for a walk, isn’t it?” Applies to *all* weather! But not to walks in urban areas. Note: Shortcuts in Ireland are generally the longest distance between two points. Don’t trust any map. Trudge across the bog. That’s safer.

5. There’s no bad weather. There is only the wrong clothing. Umbrellas are for pussies. Wax jackets are for stuck-up, pretentious, fox-hunting West-Brits. Wellies are for music festivals. Hoodies, hats and mittens permitted. (Shorts rule still applies, see 1.1)


Now, that’s not difficult, is it? Ireland is a beautiful country. It will remind you of NZ in places (as the flurry of Instagram images by co-stars Tom Holland and Stanley Weber may already have hinted at) – rough beauty. Same can be said about its people. Rough, but beautiful lovely. Easy-going, unpretentious, relaxed, ready to chat but equally ready to leave you in peace. I hope your time here will be a good one. May the road rise to meet you, as they say – and may the sun always shine while you are here, too. Fáilte! Ireland welcomes you.

PS: In case I didn’t sell Ireland well enough, here’s a look at what awaits you on your locations along the Wild Atlantic Way:

31 thoughts on “OT: FYI RA! Ireland 101

  1. Lol. He’ll cherish it! He has to as this is a nice and handy prep for those who don’t have much time… But it’s not his first time in Ireland if I remember correctly…?
    At least I shall renember it as a helpful advice! Thanks!


    • You are right – he has been here before. In the safe environs of Co Wicklow on the East coast which is just outside the Pale. Things are different out there in the wild *ggg*.


  2. Dear Guylty thank you for making me smile.. it’s the morning after the OIivier’s disappointment, so a chuckle was much needed. Thanks, luv!


    • 🙂 Aw, thanks Judit. I know, I know. I was actually writing it all while waiting for the Olivier results last night. I was suitably disctracted from the disappointment, and I am glad if it has a similar effect on you now.
      Anyway, let’s not dwell on it too morosely. I get the impression that Mr A moves swiftly on. He will get more opportunity to shine, I am sure. And then he will blind the critics with his brilliance *ggg*

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is priceless, Guylty! 😀 And very timely for me… If you don’t mind I will share this with my bunch of friends coming over for beadcamp… 🙂


  4. Sorry, but I think there’s a problem: Socialising, 5.

    What if the barman really ask him whether he has no home to go to and the poor guy’s, I mean, the fecking eejit’s reply is something like “Wehell Iii shoor donnt hawe wan here.”
    Things like that happen after a few Smithwicks or Guinnesses, my preciousss. (I’ve read that on the internet, so it must be true.)

    Then we have a poor homeless fecking eejit, I mean a guy, who is sad and homeless, uh, homesick. (Yeah, and drunk, that too.)

    Guylty, I beg you: Do not let that happen!
    Make sure there always is a home and a warm and cosy bed for the fecking eej… – harumph!! – the Guy-guy!

    PS: Thank für the laugh ❤
    PPS: I want that shirt! Brillant! 😀


    • *seufz* Heute tippe ich wieder *besonders* gut … Sorry, hab ‘ne komplett schlaflose Nacht hinter mir und bin alles andere als fit.


      • Nö, alles klar. Schon verstanden. (Bin da in Übung. Was meinste, wie oft man hier mit den sprachlichen Exzessen einer vorhergehenden Pub-Nacht klarkommen muss 😀 )


    • *teehee* – aw, true, I never thought about poor homeless RA whose own home is far away on the other side of the big ocean… Mind you, I doubt he’ll have *any* trouble *whatsoever* finding a merciful soul to offer him a bed for the night. *coughs* Unfortunately I can’t be there. *doubledamn* But if he’s lucky the barman will just shout something along the lines of “That’s it, folks! Time to go!” and will avoid any mention of home.
      That t-shirt is pretty awesome, eh? Available in assorted tourist shops in Dublin city centre. (I wonder whether they could make one with an inbuilt cork screw for the wine-drinkers among us…)


  5. Okay, ich habe ja noch ein bisschen Zeit das alles auswendig zu lernen. Wie habe ich nur meinen ersten Besuch in Irland überlebt?
    Zum Glück besitze ich keinen Regenschirm, nur T-Shirts und Shorts (hoffe im Mai ist es wärmer) werden eingepackt, gehen Jeans auch? nix grünes :-). Shakespearean English ist sowieso kein Thema, die Iren müssen erstmal mein normales Englisch verstehen, ich gehe davon aus, dass sie Humor haben :-),
    ich werde (fast) alles trinken was frau mir empfiehlt, und das mit dem Wetter kenne ich schon aus Schottland, angemessene Kleidung zusätzlich zum T-Shirt wird eingepackt!
    Englische Folks songs? Werde ich noch üben, zählt Loch Lomond auch? Das ist die falsche Himmelsrichtung ;-( ich weiss….
    sláinte bitte zum üben nochmal vor Ort, Schlangestehen mit Ellenbogen, okay übe schon mal vor!
    Résumé, Du hast es nicht geschafft mich abzuschrecken, ihn vielleicht schon, freue mich!!!
    Tolle videos, danke!


    • 😀 Gut, dass du nicht abgeschreckt bist. Du hast ja auch noch Zeit zum Üben. Das mit dem Small Talk ist für uns ergebnisorientierte, knapp-kurz-informative Deutsche ja immer ein leichtes Problem…
      Englische Folk Songs? Ich bitte dich – du musst doch ein *deutsches* Volkslied parat haben. Aus dem eigenen Repertoire. Falls wir gemeinsam einen Pubbesuch planen, könnte ich ggf aber anbieten, mit euch zusammen dreistimmig “Heho, spann den Wagen an” zu intonieren. Kommt recht gut und ist eine angenehme Abwechslung zu der Übermacht von “Hoch auf dem gelben Wagen”. Ansonsten empfehle ich das Gesamtoeuvre von Heino als Referenzmaterial.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gut, dann klinke ich mich hier mal ein: vor lauter Geguyfer im Rahmen deiner Breaking-News, ist mir dieses Sahnestückchen hier fast aus dem Blick geraten. Ob der Mann weiß, was ihn an sinnvoller Ratgeberinformation entgeht? Wie schön, dass du auch einiges für uns Normalverbraucher übrig hast. Deutsche Liedgut, nun denn. Wie gesagt den gelben Wagen lassen wir mal besser stehen. Gehen auch so Sachen wie “Auf der Mauer, auf der Lauer”? oder was Kölsches, a la “Viva Colognia”?. Ansonsten greifen wir auf das Repertoire der Toten Hosen zurück: “Ich wil zurück nach Westerland” und natürlich: “Eisgekühlter Bommerlunder”. Also, wenn wir dann den Schankraum nicht für uns haben, weiß ich es nicht 🙂


        • *lachschlapp* Also, ich gebe zu, dass ich jetzt weniger an die Toten Hosen gedacht hatte. Und “Westerland” ist von den Ärzten *räusper*. Aber ich kann mich diesem urdeutschen Liedgut dann doch nicht entziehen. Ja, ist gebongt. 😀
          Und wer weiß es denn, ob “der Mann” nicht doch hier tagtäglich mitliest – er hat ja schließlich sonst nichts zu tun. Und gerade heute kann er sich ja überall die Wunden lecken lassen – das lässt der sich doch nicht entgehen… Oder?


          • Sch…… schlampig recherchiert (eher garnicht). Bei Bommerlunder habe ich mich noch rückversichert 🙂 Re. Mitlesen: formulieren wir es mal so: das wäre mal einer der wenigen (fast) hochsachlichen Erläuterungen hier auf der Platform, ohne allzugroßes Fangirl-Gehupe (wenn du mich verstehst!). Und was er mit seiner Zeit anfängt? Also ehrlich, anscheinend hängt er ja mehr oder weniger kontextlos irgendwo rum. Bisher hat ja noch keiner den Zusammenhang vom letzten hochkryptischen Twitter-Tschilp zum Roten Drachen hingekriegt, oder? Ich sage ja, der chillt superentspannt rum und verkauft uns gutgläubigen Hühnern das als Arbeit.


            • Weißt du was, das war am Ende gar nicht Armitage, der da in den Seilen hing. Das war Hermitage. Deswegen ist der auch immer so sauer, wenn Armi ihm die Lorbeeren einheimst. Derweil sitzt Armitage irgendwo im bequemen Fauteuil, Flasche Pinot Noir im Ansatz, gepflegter Fantasy-Thriller zur Hand. Das, wenn er nicht gerade internationale Fangirl-Krisen auslöst, indem er unscharfe Fotos lanciert oder auf Fanseiten gezielt Gerüchte streut. Pantoffeln optional. Jaja, wenn man ein Star internationaler Größe ist, kann man sich Lakaien leisten und sich den wirklich wichtigen Dingen widmen, nämlich der Imagepflege. Kein Wunder, dass wir auf so ein großangelegtes Kompott, eh Komplott, reinfallen. Dinner-Time!

              Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful post! First: I-NEED-THAT-T-SHIRT!!!!! 🙂 Funny also how the Irishims resemble some uses in Italian, those are literally the translation of the “lui stesso medesimo”.

    About Irish people, I read something a few weeks ago that impressed me and moved me. I think that Atlantic coast (please correct me if I’m wrong), is where the remaining ships of what was supposed to be the Armada Invencible shipwrecked, the surviving sailors were imprisioned and killed in McClancy castle and their bodies buried hurriedly in ditches. Apparently a historical local group of the area make summer excavations with the intention to find the exact place of the shipwreck and localise the ditches in order to give a decent burial to the remains, and the people of villages nearby participate enthusiastically in the project. I think that something like this tell a lot about Irish people. 🙂

    This is the link to the article


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hehe, that t-shirt is proving popular. I should actually have a look whether it is still on sale. (I snapped the picture some time a while ago…)
      As for the Armada/reburial – the whole story of the Armada attacking Ireland is very much present in Ireland. There are plenty of viewing points along the Atlantic coast line remembering it. I have been to some of them. Maybe also because there is a very persistent myth that some of the Spanish soldiers survived, settled in Ireland, had Irish wives and family – and left their mark on the Irish genepool (hence the typically Irish black hair and blue eyes.)
      The other explanation for this heart-warming story of reinstating the hastily, disrespectfully buried Spanish soldiers may lie in Ireland’s more recent history. Quite a number of people “vanished” during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, often buried in shallow graves, on beaches etc. There have been drives for the IRA to give up the locations of the vanished victims because the relatives need to give them a proper burial. It’s an issue that has been widely followed and discussed in Ireland in the last few years.
      I very much hope that the initiative of that historical society will be successful. Even after 600 years, closure is always good.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I used to write a (paid) blog about the cultural differences between the Irish and the Germans, so years of research has gone into this 😉 I am glad if it is of *any* benefit 😉


  7. Aww… wipes eyes…. you made me weep with .. Scottish 😉 homesickness!!! I even miss the drunken eejits around town all weekend nights 😉 I still slip into old habits from time to time and thank the London bus drivers and make nearly all passengers turn heads to see what happened 😀 And miss being called luv by all the shop keepers on my little street… and giggling inwardly ( you don’t want to giggle openly at a big kilted Scot after or before a rugby match, even if it is bloody cold and he is very red in his tshirt and kilt ;-)) at all the pink skin shown to the erm.. fresh air 🙂 Summer starts as soon as the sun comes out, never mind the wee calendar detail 🙂
    Brolly? everyone knows it is a useless contraption as rain always always comes with wind 🙂 And you only end up forgetting it in some pub on the first outing.. and you can’t remember which pub anyway,
    And so on and so forth … missing all the nice chilled out pubs as well. But not really missing my ever increasing intake of the brew LOL
    But yeah, anyone navigating Irish customs has done their survival training for Scotland too 😉
    I found Ireland to be almost nothing like Britain, i remember thinking after the first visit, they speak English but otherwise they behave like the Italians 🙂 Except they drink more beer than wine 😉
    I miss the bread and butter.. yum… i couldn’t wait to get on the road from/to Athlone and stock up at the bakery each way, we all did, my Swedish and Czech colleagues and even my French boss. And the colleagues there were some of the nicest people i worked with. I was sad when there was no longer opportunity to go…

    Oh and i’d never seen grass as wonderfully green as in Ireland, not even in Scotland…


    • Aw, that’s such a nice comment, Hari – and yep, I have been told before that there is much similarity between Ireland and Scotland. Well, I guess they are all Celts, and they are also connected by history.
      “they speak English but otherwise they behave like the Italians” – I think that sums them up very nicely. They also have much time for children, like the Italians, and I often think that Grafton Street in the evening is like any Mediterranean boulevard – teeming with people until the early hours.
      Ireland is a friendly country. Small and unimportant in the wider political context of the world, but that makes for the Irish being almost universally liked. That has always been something that I envied them for.
      You must come to Ireland again, Hari – you have a new reason to visit. And it’s better than work. You could visit me!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Those videos are a feast for the senses, made me feel homesick for Wales………..
    It’s a cloudy day in Autumn here in Aus’, I reckon it’s about 18 degrees and I’ve put the heater on for the first time this year ;o) what a wussy :o) xx


    • I have to say that the Irish tourism authorities are really quite good at marketing the country. Their videos are certainly always really good. I found myself rewatching that Wild Atlantic Way video several times. The voice-over is a bit corny, but the imagery – stunning. Your comparison to Wales is very fitting!
      And hey, no worries about putting on the heat at 18 degrees outside. You are an Aussie. Aussie rules are different 😉


  9. Pingback: OT: FYI RA! Continues: Ireland 102 | Guylty Pleasure

  10. Pingback: See You Next Year… | Guylty Pleasure

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