1. Tea. If you aren’t immediately offered tea when you go to someone’s house you feel strange and unsettled. The fact that in some places tea isn’t even “a thing” is itself unsettling. May I also add: strictly Barry’s, anyone that Twinings almost immediately loses respect.
2. Taytos & Chips. What others would call “potato chips” are crisps, and actually they’re just called Taytos, even though that’s just one brand. Accept it, move on. What the Americans would call “French fries” are actually chips and they do not come in shoestring size unless you’re at McDonalds which is an affront to chips and chippers across the nation.
3. Chippers. I’d imagine this is equivalent to the American late-night deli or diner. Chippers are the go-to place for post-bar inebriated hunger cravings. They also make the best chips, they come in a bag, and you will never need anything else in the world if you live by a good chipper.
4. Stoves, Hot Water Bottles, & Electric Blankets. Ireland, believe it or not, can still technically be considered a “developing country.” Heck, they just got Netflix. Regardless, central heat is not really a thing, which makes it a pretty “green-friendly” nation. People save money and energy by using a stove or fireplace. Further, when you go to bed you’re either a hot water bottle person or an electric blanket person (in rare cases, you may be both, but I feel like this is extremely dangerous so I hope anyone that does this carefully reconsiders). Me, personally, I am an electric blanket person all the way – that bad boy gets turned on long before I’m going to bed and then you will enter a warm cloud of joy that keeps you toastey all night. However, most of my family is pro-HWB. If you don’t know what it is, Google it. It looks like it’s from the 1700s, and now they One Direction fleeces to cover them. Heck, they even have hand HWBs at Penneys for like 2 euro.
5. Blackcurrant. I’m not sure why or how this isn’t a thing in other countries. It’s the ultimate mixer for essentially any hard alcohol. I also don’t think my childhood would have been a childhood without Ribena and MiWadi. I can’t even think of an equivalent in popular drink in the U.S., maybe O.J.?
6. Poitín. (pronounced: puh-cheen) The Irish “moonshine”. You probably have poitín that was brewed illegally 200 years ago by a great-great-grandfather laying around your house. It’s never fun when someone brings out the poitín.
7. Stephen’s Day. December 26th. The Irish version of “Black Friday” by day, followed by the mayhem of New Year’s Eve at night. I really wish this were a thing in the States. Also Women’s Christmas.
8. Catholicism. It’s not an option, it’s just a fact. Irish Catholic guilt is real. It’s why people still go to church every Sunday, and a lot still go several times a week. Try explaining to your gran that you’re Buddhist, enjoy the reaction, then just say that if you enter the church you’ll ignite into flames and you may be off the hook from having to go. Whatever you say, just do not diss “His Lord Almighty.”
9. Craic. (pronounced: crack) Craic is a way of life, and integral to most conversations. Also starting conversations with “What’s the story?”
10. The Rose of Tralee.
11. The GAA. I might go as far to say that if you don’t know what the GAA is then you are not allowed to call yourself Irish. Also, that “football [soccer] is a gentleman’s game played by hooligans and rugby is a hooligans game played by gentlemen.”
12. Hurling/Camogie. The sport of Ireland. Trying to think of a U.S. equivalent but none seem to do justice. Perhaps can be described as the Irish version of lacrosse but rougher?
13. Travelers. I’m not saying anything aside from that, for fear of potentially offending someone.
14. Bulmers. It is not Magners, and it should be on tap. Not all ciders are created equal (and no this is not a product placement). While we’re at it – shots of Sambuca (though I pray for the day this is replaced by vodka becoming mainstream).
15. “By-by-by-by-by-by-bye.” The never-ending trailing telephone send-off. This is possibly my least favorite thing.