How to successfully settle in Ireland
1. Have a sense of humour – don’t take it all too seriously. Remember Ireland has been through tough times too. We know what it’s like to be disadvantaged, things are much better now, but everyone can remember a time when it wasn’t. There will be minor inconveniences and cultural differences as you settle here. We know it’s not perfect here too, but overall it is still a great place to be working (see here if you’re unsure why).
2. Don’t think that we’re obsessed with the weather – it’s just a smarter opening topic than religion or politics (better not to even go there!). There is always something to say about the weather, good, bad or what’s just happened or is due to happen. From there you can move on to other topics.
3. Get some waterproof clothes – we will have at least 3 seasons in a day, and at least one of them just might involve water.
4. Don’t be surprised when you meet people that know exactly where you are from – Irish people are often much better travelled than you might expect. Remember we’ve had a few recessions here too, and anyone you meet here may well have worked on the other side of the world for some time too.
5. Ireland has become a much more multicultural place – The figures keep rising but it is currently estimated that around 1 in 7 people currently in Ireland were not born here. This means it is quite likely that you may encounter other people from your country, region or even town, in the places where you come to live and work.
6. It’s strategic to drink some alcohol, or at least be willing to attend events where others are drinking it. We’re not saying you need to be the last person standing, after all who remembers what was discussed at that stage of the evening. However, if you don’t go to those events at all then you are opting out of an important side of how business is done here.
7. Sport 1 – Chose a football (soccer) team to support. You might not like football, or even sport, perhaps the person you’re speaking to doesn’t either, but as a backup topic after the weather ‘who do you support’ is a common question. Better to have some answer as, like the weather, you can quickly move it onto a topic you’re more knowledgeable about. It’s perfectly acceptable to support a team based on any arbitrary reason, such as because it was where you lived, or your dad supported it, or even better, played for them. It all helps to break the ice which is really why you are being asked.
8. Sport 2 – Learn a little bit about the Gaelic team in your area. Most of us only know a little bit about it too, but a little bit of knowledge will go a long way. Find out when your local team last won the All-Ireland, and how they did last year. We only tend to watch when the team is in the final stages of the All-Ireland tournament, but some people are very passionate about it, so it’s a strategic move to be aware when it is on. If you have kids it’s highly likely they will play it at school too, so it could be part of their way to integrate into the community too.
9. Try and get out of Dublin or wherever you are based – Ireland is actually very beautiful, something not always apparent if you just go to your home and work. There are many beautiful parts to Ireland, and by visiting them you will again build up more things in common with your co-workers. It is unusual for Irish people not to have parents or grandparents, or someone who is from ‘down the country’. If you have been there or even near that part of Ireland it gives you another way to build links with the people you are working with.
10. It’s good to ask people questions and even to ask for help – Irish people will generally assume you are getting along fine and not interfere in your business. However, if you actually need help then do ask because in a time of need the Irish are great at coming together and helping out. Historically many Irish people have been helped when overseas and there is generally a willingness to be helpful and an acknowledgement of the assistance they have received in the past.
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