Chilean Student Ambassador Michela Andreina Luzzi Belloni loved the Irish and really enjoyed getting to know and appreciate their unique way of doing things
Irish people are from another planet. From the generosity to their excessive Christmas shopping, Irish culture is unique, special and very different compared to my country.
Winter weather, summer fashion
The first difference that caught my attention was when I went out and saw that all Irish women were perfectly tanned and made up, wearing summer dresses and blouses at a temperature of -1 degree in the middle of winter. That’s when I realised that the Irish are immune to the cold, and above all, it’s very rare to see them catch flu.
My first day of shopping in Ireland was during the winter. I remember that I was looking for a waterproof coat, since it rains frequently in this country. I started walking around the streets of Dublin.
I entered the first store and I started seeing swimsuits, beach towels, shorts, dresses, sunglasses, sunscreens, etc. I changed stores thinking that maybe the previous one specialized in summer products, but it was the same.
I approached the saleswoman to ask her where I can find the coat I’m looking for and she said: “I’m sorry, everything is sold out.” I ask her when I can find it, and she answers me: “At the beginning of the summer.”
That’s when I realised that in Ireland, during the winter, they sell summer clothes and vice-versa.
You can bet on this!
The Irish not only like beer, they also like a lot of gambling and lotteries. It is very common to see bookmakers on the streets or in every market selling lottery tickets. I first noticed this habit when the only topic being talked about during the whole week was the famous horse race called the Grand National. It is broadcast on television, and there are always long queues at the betting shops.
Another thing I found hard to get used to was that here the walls are “made of paper”. You can hear absolutely everything. I can sneeze in the middle of a corridor without being near anyone and someone will always say “Bless you” – and it may be someone you don’t know.
Talking about Northern Ireland is a complicated subject for the Irish. Under no circumstances can you say that Belfast or any other city located on the island belongs to the UK. The Irish are very sensitive about this topic and will most likely start a discussion about it followed by a history lesson. I know this from my own experience.
‘Sorry, sorry, sorry!’
And, finally, something that I personally started to do a lot is to say “Sorry” for everything, literally everything. Irish people use that word to ask for permission, to grab a chair, if you drop a coin, if you take too long in the bathroom, to interrupt a conversation, to ask for something! The word “sorry” will always be in the sentence. “Sorry, do you have a pen?” and “Sorry, do you mind if I grab this chair?”
These are things that happen daily in Ireland. You may find certain similarities or differences compared to your own country at first, but they are characteristics that make the Irish unique in the world.
Michela studied Accounting and Finance at the International College Dublin Business School