This is part three of our series: Living and working in Ireland. Today we talk about Irish culture, in particular: music, poetry, literature and cuisine. Of course Ireland’s culture is not composed of just those 4 factors there are many more – one being Language. Working in the multilingual game – it’s clear why language is really important to us so let’s start there shall we?
Irish as a Language:
The Irish language or ''Gaelic'' is historically spoken by the Irish people. It is even recognised as an official language of the European Union. If you use public transport in Ireland, for example, the announcements are always in two languages: English and Gaelic. Irish is taught in all schools in Ireland and you can further your skills in college and university too. Irish is not the predominant language is Ireland due to its history with England but there are more and more Irish speaking schools popping up around the country so hopefully this beautiful language builds its following again.
Music makes the heart sing:
Music can do many things to you. It makes you cry, laugh, reminisce about your first kiss, your wedding, it makes you think and sometimes it can be relaxing. Music covers all of that and more.
Traditional Irish music can also be very emotional. The main instruments for the traditional Irish music are the fiddle, the Irish flute, the tin whistle, the Celtic harp, the uilleann pipes and the bodhrán (‘’Bow – Ran’’'). For those who always wanted to know the difference between a fiddle and a violin: it is the style of playing. If you listen to traditional Irish music, it reminds you of the middle age and gives makes your leg jerk because it’s hard to resist getting up and throwing a few shapes on the dance floor. You can listen to live music in almost any pub in Dublin, although most of it is modern, however if you want to hear some traditional Irish music all you need to look out for is ‘Trad fest’ or ‘Trad Session’ and you will get to witness this beautiful music yourself. Ireland, has many different music festivals like the Electric Picnic and the Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival. So if you want to let lose you have plenty of possibilities.
Poetry has almost the same effects on emotions as music but sadly many people just do not understand it or are not all that interested in it. We all remember learning about ‘Similes’ and ‘Sonnets’ in school but very few of us remember enjoying that part. All you need to do is read a poem in a manner that suits you – ask yourself ‘What does this mean to me?’ as you read. Why not give it a try with one of Yeats’s or Kavanaghs poetry? Both poets right about love and nature and we can all relate to those can’t we?
Who does not know of Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde? Their literature is so famous people still read their stories today. Some of their novels have even become some pretty famous movies more than once. Dracula the vampire whose life is eternal has had numerous versions of movies about his life – whether he is real or night his memory is certainly eternal as our children still dress up as him for Halloween. Then there is Dorian Gray who lets a picture grow old in his stead – an ability we would all love to have.
If you are unfamiliar with these stories, we highly recommend reading them – you can always watch the movies but you would be missing out on witnessing some amazing Irish masterpieces.
Food Food Food:
Enough of the fine arts: Let’s get stuck into what the Irish love to sit down to in the evening after work. As Ireland is known for it’s many green fields – it would be weird to see them unoccupied so of course Ireland has many Sheep and Cattle roaming around. They certainly have enough livestock to have their ‘Meat & 2 Veg’ dinners that they love. That’s not all we know the Irish are known for having potatoes as a main staple in their diet, so of course they have potatoes, but also cheese, apples, various fish and microbrewers (like Guinness – which is a great day out – highly recommend visiting it in Dublin), Irish whiskey and tea – All of these items are what you would see in the Irish diet and more. It really is some hearty food – The Irish stew is one of the more traditional Irish dishes and if you love stews then Ireland is the place to be.
Thank god I am writing this on the run up to lunch because now I’m hungry.
Like what you’ve read? Why not share with us what you loved about it here in Ireland – if it was really good we might even do it ourselves as a team and let you know how we got on.