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Top Ten Instances Of Irish-English Culture Clash

Posted November 15, 2012 by Emma Kelly in Ramp Lists
Ireland vs England

When travelling abroad, you expect a bit of a culture clash. If you go to Japan, people are a bit more polite and screaming, ‘You got a problem bud?’ isn’t advisable. Australians have their summer at Christmas and replace the turkey dinner with a barbeque. Americans were genuinely considering electing Mitt Romney. See, everybody’s a bit mad once you leave our lovely island.

But you’d expect that our neighbours, good old England, wouldn’t be too different. We both support tea-drinking, follow the same football teams and enjoy a pint or five. You can get between the two countries in an hour for €20 if you don’t mind having your knees up against your chin for the journey. So there can’t be too much of a culture clash if you ever find yourself living in Blighty for an extended period of time, right?

Wrong. So, so wrong. There are a variety of aspects of Irish life and culture that the English simply do not – will not – understand. So here are some things to expect if you ever find yourself living over the pond.

11. ‘Grand’

You’re not Irish if this gem of a word doesn’t feature in every other sentence you speak. It can be used to communicate how you’re feeling, how someone looks, if a task has been completed to your satisfaction, and more. But don’t think that you can say it in England without raising a laugh. If you’re truly Irish and have said it roughly eight times in a three minute conversation with an English person, expect a bout of giggles followed by, ‘Oh my god, you’re so Irish!’ Once the novelty wears off, this will grate on you and you will start to resent the people you are surrounded by.

10. Super Splits

A few years ago, some godlike creature discovered that if you mix Morgan’s Spiced with a bit of Fanta (or Club Orange, whichever floats your boat), it tastes like the delicious ice-cream treat, the Super Split. So fair enough, the Brits were deprived and never got a Super Split ice-cream as a youth when temperatures rose over 10°. Still, you’d think they would have copped on to the majesty of the alcoholic version. But no, if you ask for one in a bar, chances are they’ll stare at you as if you’ve just asked for a carrot in your stout.

9. Red lemonade

OK, we can’t really blame the English on not knowing about red lemonade, seeing as you can’t get a drop of TK with your Southern Comfort anywhere outside the Emerald Isle, probably because drinking a 2 litre bottle could easily send you into a sugar coma. But still.

8. Why wouldn’t I start drinking early?

If you know that you’re going out early, a ‘shneaky drink’ is necessary to keep the buzz going and stop you from falling asleep. However, this may class you as an alcoholic in the eyes of English people. So maybe lie about that vodka in your mug and say it’s blackcurrant Lemsip and you’re feeling a bit under the weather.

7. You’re supposed to have the craic with Mr Taxi Man

As long as you haven’t reached the stage of the night where sleep in the back of a car is the best idea ever, your journey home should include an attempt at banter with Mr Taxi Man. However, due to the fact that a lot of English cabs have glass separating you from the driver, banter is practically impossible, and the English Mr Taxi Man does not appreciate you screaming, ‘Busy night then?’ through the partition.

6. Irish teabags are the only way to go

This one can’t really be blamed on the English either. When it comes to teabags, they just don’t know any better. Lyons/Barry’s > PG Tips/any other muck. If you’re planning on spending an extended period of time in England, bring your own teabags lest you lose your mind and/or tastebuds.

5. All McDonalds should be open 24 hours

In certain areas of England, including college towns that contain a high level of 3am drunken messes, McDonalds close before midnight. Yes that’s right, in a lot of places, you can’t get a Big Mac at 4 in the morning. In Dublin, this would be a citywide emergency, causing anyone leaving Coppers to start frothing at the mouth and sobbing uncontrollably. However, this is a normal situation to people in England, and they do not understand the panic attacks us poor Irish burger lovers suffer post-nightclub.

4. The immersion

The immersion is an Irish national institution. However, the majority of the English either do not have an immersion in their gaff, or have never experienced the terror of their ma threatening that she’d ‘boorst yeh’ if they forgot to turn it off post-shower. Tell one of these stories to an unsuspecting Brit, and they’ll look at you with fear-filled eyes thinking that you’d been abused as a child. But let’s face it, your childhood wasn’t complete without daily threats.

3. A two-minute delay is not a delay

An extremely amusing activity to do while in London is to see how irate commuters get when a train or tube is delayed by two minutes. Try waiting forty minutes for a Dublin bus into town or chancing your arm at a train to Galway, love.

2. The Euro is absolute extortion

Dealing with sterling blinds you to the fact that the Euro is evil, extortionate and ridiculous. The English may complain of a taxi fare that is ten pounds, or a burger that is four pounds, or a glitzy Topshop dress that is fifty pounds. They don’t understand while they’re complaining why your eyes are narrowing, your fists are tightening and the rage is flooding your face.

1. Ireland actually is its own nation

And finally, the old classic. No, Ireland is not in the United Kingdom. Yes, we’re sure. No, Dublin is not in Belfast. No, Irish is not the same as Welsh. No, we’re not talking in Irish right now. And no, we don’t talk like leprechauns. Although you can’t understand a word we say.


Anything we’ve forgotten? Do tell!


Did You Turn Off The Immersion tee available from Hairy Baby.

About the Author

Emma Kelly

Emma is currently masquerading as a super-cool Londoner that wears a lot of denim and listens to music you haven't heard of yet. However, the masquerade isn't really working, so she spends most of her time drinking tea and watching middle-aged cookery programmes.

  • Leighanne

    Very good Emma had a giggle :)

  • Niamh :)

    Love having the bants with mr taxi man

  • http://twitter.com/jennyfoxe Jenny Foxe

    If you don’t ask them not to they will destroy a perfectly adequate fish n chips with luminous green mushy peas and associated pea juice. Why oh why such sacrilege?

  • Ciaran

    craic is not word used there, I once got thrown out of a london pub for asking there barmen where the best craic in the area could be found on a thursday night

  • poopascoopadoopadeedoo

    Sounds like you haven’t travelled anywhere in England outside of London, me duck. Mind you, I would class London more as a world city than a real English city. Having lived most of my life in the rural East Midlands and now living in Ireland, the immersion heater, having banter with the taxi driver and saying grand are exactly the same in the two countries.

    I agree with no.1, because English people in general are not taught much knowledge of Ireland.

    With no.2, there is a higher awareness of value for money in England and people there are more willing to complain if there is a problem than keep quiet. For evidence of this, go to Homebase on a Saturday morning.

    With no.3, try getting a bus or a train in Lincolnshire. Some towns don’t even have a bus route.

    I agree with no.5, and I have never understood why McDonalds closes so early.

    With no.6, as a personal preference I prefer Irish tea bags. The reason for the difference in flavour is the type of tea that is used.

    With no.8, many people where I used to live choose to go for lunchtime pints or start drinking at midday, but Southerners and Londoners are notorious for being lightweights and rarely drink as much as the rest of the country.

    With no.9, yes I have been converted to red lemonade. I enjoy very much this curious drink. Have you ever had flat orange juice from McDonalds? I’m not sure if they still do that in England.

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