There are many aspects associated with the culture of Ireland such as the quintessential Irish pubs, drinking Guinness, folklore of leprechauns, shamrock and the luck of the Irish, which are quite popular world over. But there are many other cultural nuances, customs and traditions about the Irish that most people may not be familiar with.
Today we bring you some interesting and cool facts about the Emerald Isle and Irish culture and customs, which will prepare you for what you can expect when you visit this truly stunning island in the North Atlantic Ocean. Having some prior knowledge and understanding about the cultural heritage of Ireland and its people can prove handy to avoid social faux pas and better appreciate the many cultural attractions and activities you will see while visiting Ireland.
The Irish have a long and rich tradition of folk music and to commemorate that fact, Ireland has adopted their traditional musical instrument, the harp, as the national symbol. In fact it is the only country to have a musical instrument as a national symbol. By the way, you can even see the harp as part of the Guinness logo.
Over the years while the Irish love for music has continued to grow and evolve, traditional Irish music has become somewhat of a rare commodity. If you want to enjoy a live session of the Irish jamming to their traditional folk music, the best thing to do is head straight to a typical Irish pub. Or you can attend the Fleadh Cheoil, which is the biggest festival of Irish music held in Ireland.
Surprised? Well we were too once we realised that what is celebrated with much fanfare as Halloween in the US and now in many other countries, is actually the ancient Celtic or Gaelic festival called Samhain which signalled the end of the harvest season and start of the winter or darker half of the year. The name Halloween originated in Scotland from ‘All-Hallows-Eve’.
In Ireland, 31st October is an annual holiday and Halloween is traditionally celebrated with Irish customs such as carved turnip lanterns, lighting of bonfires, display of fireworks and of course the tradition of ‘guising’ in which Irish children go door to door disguised in costume and request for a treat or coins.
There are a lot of things that are ancient about Irish culture and that includes the popular sports that are played till date in the country. With a 3000 year history, hurling, a high-speed sport similar to hockey which was once a game played with swords by ancient Irish warriors, and Gaelic football which is something of a cross between rugby and soccer, are two unique Irish team sports that inspire a lot of Irish sporting fervour.
Whenever you think of the traditional Irish St. Patrick’s Day parades and celebrations in whichever corner of the world, it is always a sea of green that comes to mind. But that wasn’t always the case. It is only during the Irish Rebellion of 1798 when the clover leaf became a symbol of Irish symbolism that St Patrick’s colour changed from light blue to green.
Being culturally aware about the place you intend to visit is an important preparation for any trip that you undertake. Check out our travel guide to find out more about Ireland, the best season to visit, top festivals, famous attractions and things to do, and other such travel information so that you can plan your trip accordingly.
When travelling abroad, even in a really safe European country such as Ireland, it is advisable that you keep a close eye on your belongings and stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Before you set out to enjoy your visit to Ireland, do remember to purchase international travel insurance. Your travel insurance plan for Ireland will come in handy as an important safeguard to cover any financial losses arising in case of a mishap, an accident, sudden illness or loss of your luggage or even in the event of your trip getting cancelled. Buying travel insurance is absolutely essential to secure your international trip so make sure you don’t leave for the airport without it.