Taking a trip to Ireland sometime soon? If you’re planning on hitting the pubs, don’t leave it up to luck whether or not your etiquette will be satisfactory – check out this list of dos and don’ts so you can fit in with the locals.
- DO buy a round. It’s an unwritten rule that if someone offers you a drink and you accept, you owe them a drink in return before the night is over. The only problem is no one will remind you to take your turn – and if you forget or blow it off, you’ll have some Irish people irritated and talking behind your back about how stingy you are.
- DO stick around. When the Irish drink, they do so in packs. This means that when you go out with a group, it’s customary to stay with those same people for the entire night. Leaving early, before your round or without saying goodbye to everyone you possibly can is often construed as rude.
- DO talk to strangers. Irish pubs are traditionally friendly local places where the community comes to… err, commune with one another. While in other cultures you may only talk to someone new if you’re trying to pick them up, in an Irish pub it’s normal to strike up a conversation with just about anyone. (Disclaimer: this does not necessarily apply to the old barflies who frequent the pubs by themselves. Approach at your own risk.)
…And the Don’ts
- DON’T play drinking games. The Irish just don’t get it – their philosophy is more around the lines of, ‘Why don’t we just drink?’
- DON’T worry about tipping. Unless you’re getting table service, it’s generally not necessary. If you’re just going up to the bar for drinks, you’re in the clear.
- DON’T pass out anywhere other than your bed. Although drinking yourself to sleep is a proud Irish tradition, it is only to be done in the comfort of your own home. No self-respecting Irishman would imagine blacking out and continuing on – if you feel like you’re on the brink of slipping into unconsciousness, save yourself embarrassment by putting down the Guinness and heading home.
Now, go forth and drink like an Irishman on St. Patrick’s Day!