Ireland - Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette
Facts and Statistics
Location: Western Europe, occupying five-sixths of the island of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Great Britain
Climate: temperate maritime; modified by North Atlantic Current; mild winters, cool summers; consistently humid; overcast about half the time
Population: 10,348,276 (July 2004 est.)
Ethnic Make-up: Irish 87.4%, other white 7.5%, Asian 1.3%, black 1.1%, mixed 1.1%, unspecified 1.6% (2006 census)
Religions: Roman Catholic 87.4%, Church of Ireland 2.9%, other Christian 1.9%, other 2.1%, unspecified 1.5%, none 4.2% (2006 census)
Government: republic, parliamentary democracy
Language in Ireland
Irish (Gaelic or Irish Gaelic) is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish. Irish is now spoken natively by a small minority of the Irish population – mostly in Gaeltacht areas – but also plays an important symbolic role in the life of the Irish state. It enjoys constitutional status as the national and first official language of the Republic of Ireland and it is an official language of the European Union.
Irish Society and Culture
The Catholic Church
Most people in the country are Roman Catholic. Until the early 1990s the church had a very strong voice in society as well as politics. Their role however has diminished. There is now something of a generational divide with people over 50 still being quite observant and conservative in their views. Religion still very much has a say in society’s view of family, marriage, and abortion.
The extended family is still very much the dominant social structure although urbanisation is having an impact. Even when family members do move to the cities you will often find their ties to “home” are still very strong.
The Irish have a reputation for their wit and humour – which they call...