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Five quirky Irish customs

As you plan future MICE activity on the Emerald Isle, why not learn about some of the county’s long-held traditions?

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Ireland has always been famous for unforgettable landscapes, great storytelling and welcoming locals — as well as being the perfect destination for incentive itineraries, conferences and meetings with a difference. But it's the legendary traditions of this island nation that will give you a true glimpse into its unique culture and that lend an authentic flavour to MICE activities here. As you research your next business tourism event from the comfort of your home, let the quaint and curious traditions of Ireland show you why it's truly a once-in-a-lifetime destination.

1. "Céad Míle Fáilte"

You can’t visit Ireland without picking up some of our native language, "Gaeilge", or "Irish". The phrase you’re sure to hear the most — besides "sláinte" (cheers) of course — is "céad míle fáilte", which literally translates to "one hundred thousand welcomes", or "you are welcome, a thousand times, wherever you come from, whosoever you be." Warm hospitality defines the authentic Irish identity and our cultural sense of self wouldn’t allow us to greet visitors with anything less than one hundred thousand welcomes.

Breakfast outdoors at hotel

2. Pouring the perfect pint

Guinness is as synonymous with Ireland as the shamrock and one particular sticking point for the Irish is only drinking a Guinness that is perfectly poured. The brand’s motto, “good things come to those who wait” is a nod to the patience required after ordering one at a bar. To pour a perfect pint of the black stuff, tilt the pint glass at a 45° angle and pull the tap fully down. Wait until it’s filled up three quarters of the way and then allow to settle. Top up the rest by leaving the glass in place and pushing the tap back to gently fill to the brim. This traditional two-part pour guarantees a substantial, solid head size (important for the bitter / sweet balance) as well as creating the drink’s famously distinctive layering.

Pint of Guinness

3. Jumping in the Forty Foot

From James Joyce’s Ulysses to Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds, the Forty Foot has featured in many a famous Irish novel. Located on the southern tip of Dublin Bay, it is considered Ireland's most famous swimming spot and was also recently named as one of the best places to swim in the world by the New York Times. Although the Forty Foot is now open to everyone for unforgettably frosty dips and exhilarating cliff jumps, historically it was a men-only nude bathing pool. The spot comes alive on Christmas Day when the locals have their annual swim with Santa hats on — a well-known cure for the Christmas Eve hangover.

 Two men jumping off The Forty Foot

4. The Irish fry

In recent years, Ireland has gained a reputation for world-class culinary culture, thanks to the availibility of wonderful raw ingredients. In fact, more and more business tourism events here are offering tailor-made trails that explore a veritable smorgasbord of foodie delights. But sometimes, you can’t beat a classic — the traditional Irish breakfast. While fry-ups exist elsewhere, nothing quite beats the components of the full Irish; freshly baked soda bread with proper Irish butter, plump sausages and tasty bacon, two eggs and crispy hash browns as well as our own national delicacy: black and white pudding. Considered the breakfast of champions, it's the ideal start to a day of meetings or incentive experiences.

A full Irish fry up

5. The trad session

Traditional music is a well-known cornerstone of Irish culture — often recognised in foot-thumping Riverdance tunes. However, to truly understand the lure of trad, you must take part in a trad session or "seisiún". Often found in dark corners of a traditional pub, these relaxed, informal musical gatherings are celebratory, spontaneous and heartwarming. Instruments that regularly feature include the fiddle, bodhrán, acoustic guitar and tin whistle — but pianos, banjos and harps can also make an appearance. Bystanders are invited to join in (if they can match the pace!) or just watch and enjoy.

Traditional musician outside a bar

Let these famous Irish traditions capture your imagination as you plan your future MICE activities. Contact a member of the Meet in Ireland team today to access more comprehensive advice and support.


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