Rural Ireland is an entirely different ball game to the cities and towns. Here are some unspoken rules of rural Ireland.
Anyone visiting Ireland will notice the vast difference that occurs when they leave the likes of Dublin city and enter the realm of rural Ireland.
People are just cut from different cloth in the countryside. Things are done differently, from how you salute someone to how events are played out. Read on to learn the top ten unspoken rules of rural Ireland.
10. The Irish wake − a great excuse for a gathering
Wakes are definitely done differently in rural Ireland. It doesn’t matter how well you know a person; if there’s a chance of complimentary tea and sandwiches, you’ll show up to show your respects. You might even get sent home with a bit of tart for your mammy if you’re lucky.
9. Howiya − a standard greeting
When passing someone you vaguely know, you might hear “howiya”. This means “hello, how are you?” for those non-rural speakers.
But for those genuinely fluent in the rural language, you will know to disregard the question, as it is merely meant to be translated as “hello”.
If you attempt to stop the greeter and answer the question, it will result in mindless awkward chit-chat, which the person definitely does not want. Just mimic the greeting in response and carry on with your day.
8. The back door − front for business, back for pleasure
A proper rule of rural Ireland is that only strangers knock on the front door of a home. If you are true pals, you’ll come strolling in through the back door and plop yourself down at the kitchen table like it is your own home.
7. The drinking age − turn a blind eye
It can be relatively easy to get served in a bar in rural Ireland at age 16. Go into the pub with an older cousin or sibling once, and you’re plain sailing for the rest of your days.
6. The shut-in − always a treat
Ah, the lock-in at the end of the night. It’s like a present from the pub owners to say well done on a night of good drinking.
There’s always the fear that a garda might walk past at any moment. That fear only adds an extra element of suspense and craic to the night’s end.
5. Traffic warnings − all for one and one for all
If you’re driving along a rural road and an oncoming car flashes its lights at you, it likely means there is a speed van up ahead. Take note and slow down; you don’t want a speeding fine, do you? This is one of the top rules of rural Ireland. If you are one of the lucky ones to have avoided the reasons why people in Ireland fail their driving test, then abide by this rule when driving in rural Ireland.
4. The car wave − a sure sign you’re in the countryside
Did you ever notice that drivers in rural Ireland wave at EVERYONE? Whether they know you or not doesn’t matter; if you pass them on the road, you’re getting a wave. It’s just one of the rules of rural Ireland, don’t try to understand it.
3. All events attended − a great day out for all
It doesn’t matter if it’s a school bake sale, the local drama clubs play, or a charity jumble sale. If there’s an event in a country village, everyone genuinely dedicated to the place will be there. It just wouldn’t be right not to show a bit of support.
2. The graveyard mass − a family affair
The annual graveyard mass is an excellent time to catch up with your extended relatives. Families spend weeks prepping before the event to ensure their loved ones’ graves look smashing. People can get quite competitive about the best-dressed grave setting.
1. Double check who you’re shifting − better safe than sorry
This is crucial: always quiz whoever you’re chatting up in the bar. You don’t want the nightmare of finding out you’re after shifting your second cousin.
Attending the graveyard mass will help with this one by brushing up on that family tree. Villages are small, so you’re likely to be related to more people than you realise. This is 100% one of the most essential rules of rural Ireland.