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15 Common Stereotypes About Irish People

There are many stereotypes about Irish people

In films and on TV, the Irish are often portrayed as redheads. Redheads who drink a lot and are often seen starting pub brawls. These Irish stereotypes range from the silly personality quirks to the downright strange, which may or may not be accurate.

15 Common Stereotypes About Irish People

irish stereotypes

Before you set out on a visit to Ireland and to dispel prejudice, here are 15 Irish stereotypes and whether there is truth to them or not.

1. Irish are all redheads.

While Ireland has the largest per capita ratio of persons with red hair, only 10% of the population has this color. If someone had red hair back in the day, it was a dead giveaway that they were Irish. These days, however, naturally red-haired people are found in Mongolia, Israel, and China, among other countries.

2. They have a thing for potatoes.

The Irish are known for their love of potatoes. It is a favorite of many Irish people because it is such a versatile vegetable. They appreciate discovering new ways to incorporate the potato into their meals, from roast to mashed potatoes. But it’s no longer reasonable to assume that’s all they eat. Ireland’s cuisine has drastically diversified as a result of a large influx of international communities around the country.

3. Irish cuisine is a letdown.

It’s been suggested that Irish food isn’t up to par, but it’s not! Naturally, one must select the well-reviewed restaurants, but the country also offers excellent seafood, such as salmon and oysters.

If one must-try local dishes, Irish stews, and fish pies are two of the country’s most unique and tasty traditional meals.

4. The Irish love their tea. 

Tea is the go-to beverage in Ireland in any situation. Stressed? Make yourself some tea. Tired? Make yourself some tea. Do you have a fever? Make yourself some tea. Sleepless? Make yourself some tea.

Most people use medication, but in Ireland, if tea doesn’t help, it’s not looking good for you, my friend. This is another one of the most common Irish stereotypes that are quite accurate.

5. They are all drunkards. 

This is a widely held Irish stereotype that they work hard to eradicate. To suggest that the Irish don’t like to drink is an exaggeration. The citizens of Guinness’s home country is proud of its famed export and enjoys a good pint on any occasion.

However, opinions against binge drinking have shifted in the last decade or so. Even while alcohol is present on many occasions, efforts have been made to separate drinking from everyday cultures, such as sporting activities.

6. They use the word “wee” a lot.

This is one of the most common stereotypes about Ireland, and it’s true. It is something that even the non-Irish can adapt. 

Notice that using ‘wee’ in most sentences makes everything sound more adorable or less harsh. Try it with anything. You can say anything to anyone and get away with it if you sugarcoat it with the word ‘wee.’ 

“That man is the devil personified” can be said as “That man is such a wee devil,” How could that possibly be offensive?

7. Everyone in Ireland is called Mary.

This sounds like a silly Irish stereotype, but it does exist. 

Mary was once the most popular name for a girl in Ireland, but it is no longer so. Thus, the stereotype should probably be updated to “everyone in Ireland knows someone named Mary.”

8. The Irish are obsessed with their country

Another popular Irish stereotype is that they are devoted to their homeland. 

The Irish are adamant that Ireland is the most beautiful place on the planet, and they will talk about it until you agree. When they’re done chatting, you’ll probably want to migrate to Ireland.

9. They are obsessed with the weather. 

There is some truth to this stereotype. Of course, you’d be obsessed if you spent 300 days of the year hoping for pleasant weather. The weather in Ireland is known for having four  seasons in a single day.

At the same time, the weather can be both unpredictable and lovely. And, yes, it’s also a terrific way to start a conversation. 

10. They hate the British.

This is not true. Their relationship has been tense at times as a former British colony and its closest neighbor.

But Ireland and England’s love/hate relationship is more akin to sibling rivalry than anything else – England is the older sibling, while Ireland is the younger sibling. 

11. The Irish love fighting.

This is possibly one of the most well-known stereotypes about Irish people. We can’t blame others for thinking this is true because the Irish are often portrayed in brawling in many films. The country has even won several Olympic medals for boxing.

In truth, the Irish are a proud people. They spent many years fighting against an oppressor as a former colony. This may have engendered a desire to defend oneself.

They are, nevertheless, a fun-loving, peace-loving group of people. They are, however, incredibly proud of their Olympic boxing idols, particularly Katie Taylor.

12. They are deeply religious

If you had visited Ireland twenty years ago, the stereotype would have been true.

In recent years, Ireland has become significantly less religious and conservative, having recently approved gay marriage. Irish emigration rates have long been known.

However, a substantial number of Irish people returned home in the 1990s when their economy improved. They brought with them a stronger desire for church-state separation as well as more open minds.

13. They don’t respond well to compliments.

The Irish are known for their modesty. Many of them find it difficult to appreciate a compliment, often feeling compelled to repay the compliment or diminish it by criticizing themselves in response.

So be prepared to hear about how they found this old stuff in the dumpster if you tell an Irish person you appreciate their outfit-for-the-day.

14. They’re a very friendly bunch of people.

While it is true that the Irish are affable, there was a point during the Celtic Tiger when they lost their inherent charm. Thankfully, the Irish restored their loveable and welcoming manners after a harsh return to reality — in the midst of a financial crisis in 2008. 

 Prepare to meet curious and chatty Irish folks wherever you go.

15. They like to talk. 

Yes. Be ready and be sure you have all day. The Irish are a particularly chatty, inquisitive bunch.