10 things foreigners always say to Irish people abroad

Foreigners seem to have a script when talking with Irish people abroad. Check out the most common things we hear below.

Being one of the many Irish people abroad is a lot of fun. Foreigners swoon over our accents, while also remaining baffled at some of our cracked phrases and sayings.

However, by being Irish, one becomes blessed with numerous encounters surrounding their Irishness while abroad. Whether you are on holidays or have emigrated, there are always a few things that Irish people abroad are continuously haunted by.

Here are our top ten things foreigners always say to Irish people abroad!

10. Anything involving potatoes – only part of our staple diet

While we eat plenty of potatoes, our diets are also made up plenty of other vegetables.

According to foreigners, it is believed that Ireland is condemned to be a country of potatoes. Ask any Irish person abroad and they will tell you of the countless times someone has exclaimed “po-taytos” in a high pitched, diddley-eye voice upon learning of their Irishness.

Fortunately, the Irish diet has changed a lot since the 19th century, and we aren’t as reliant on potatoes anymore as we once were. In all honesty though, the majority of us Irish are secretly quite fond of the beloved spud, as much as we might like not to fit the stereotype!

9. The luck of the Irish – not quite as lucky as you think

The Irish aren't lucky like we're believed to be but we definitely have some sway with chance.

According to this saying, the Irish are supposedly lucky. However, the origin of the phrase itself shows it was not coined from four-leafed clovers or magical leprechauns.

The invasion of the Vikings, the plight of the famine, and colonisation may dispute this idea of our Irish luck. Although we may not have some magical fairy dust that can bring you good fortune, we may be inclined to let you believe that we all are, in fact, magical creatures who bring you good luck.

8. Ask about Brexit – give us a break

Don't ask us about Brexit, we've heard enough and have talked about it too much.

Irish people abroad have been no stranger to being asked about the topic of Brexit. However, since those in the Republic of Ireland did not have a say in the referendum on Brexit, the majority of us have little time for Brexit talk.

Even those of us who are well informed on the topic would very much like to leave it in the past.

7. Can you Irish dance? – only after a few pints

Irish dancing is a thing many of us did when we were children but it's not a common skill once we grow up.

Although the stereotype portrays that we are a country of jigs and reels, the majority of us have been blessed with two left feet. When it comes to Irish dancing and the infamous Riverdance, there are very few of us who have kept it up beyond primary school.

Ask us sober about Irish dancing and we will tell you that there isn’t a hope of us doing a jig, but buy a few pints and there will be brooms and all on the dancefloor!

6. Are you a farmer? – all of our fields are misleading

While we have plenty of fields, we aren't all farmers, another thing Irish people abroad have to deal with is this assumption.

As a country renowned for its green fields, it certainly aids the stereotype that we are a country full of farmers. However, with just over 5% of the Irish population working in agriculture, the idea that Ireland is mainly farmers has significantly changed over the last two centuries.

Chances are the Irish person you are talking to is not a farmer, and before you ask, they are probably not that much a fan of sheep either.

5. Leprechauns and pots of gold – they’re less common than you think

We don't actually have leprechauns but it's still something Irish people abroad are asked by foreigners.
Credit: Facebook / @nationalleprechaunhunt

These mischievous creatures that have pots of gold at the end of a rainbow are constantly haunting the lives of Irish people abroad. Whether it be in asking if we have caught any leprechauns lately, or if we are indeed part leprechaun, we have heard it all.

However, if you do so happen to come upon a pot of gold, then we would indeed be open to chatting with you about that rainbow!

4. Thirty-Three – the Irish tongue-twister

It's just rude to ask Irish people abroad to say "thirty-three".

Thirty-three is the dreaded number for all those who are blessed with a lovely, thick, culchie accent. By being an Irish person abroad, you are bound to have a foreigner or two ask you to say this. Our inability to pronounce the “th” sound is amusing to all who bear witness.

Although hilarious to listen to, it can be quite frustrating for someone to have to continually say “durty tree” just because they’re Irish.

3. I’m part Irish – we’ve heard it all before

Everybody wants to claim Irish people, we don't blame them, but it's an annoying thing Irish people hear abroad.
Photo by Derek Davis / Staff Photographer

Every Irish person who has ever been abroad will be able to tell you of the countless times people have said “my great-grandmother’s dog’s cousin was Irish so, I’m a 1/25th Irish!”, or some variation of that, due to the nature of Irish emigration.

Having so many people who claim their heritage as Irish means that for those Irish people abroad, there is always someone nearby who can bring a sense of home to them. And also, do you blame them for claiming to be part Irish?

 2. Top o’ the morning – newsflash…nobody says this!

Lucky Charms made the phrase "top o' the morning" famous and it's still something Irish people abroad hear from foreigners.
Credit: @luckycharms / Instagram

Any Irish person will outright inform you that they have never once uttered this cliche Irish saying, nor have they ever heard another Irish person say them. Somehow, with the help of the media, and the commercialisation of St. Patrick’s Day, this phrase has been portrayed as how us Irish greet each other.

Unfortunately, this is not our standard greeting to one another but is, however, a phrase much associated with that of Lucky Charms.

1. Drink a lot – the stereotype that haunts us

The stereotype of Irish people loving their drink is one thing that follows Irish people abroad.

Although the stereotype exists that we are a country who are quite fond of the drink, we do not actually drink as much as the stereotype suggests. Portrayed as a country with an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, it is hard to believe that we do not spend every night in the pub.

The majority of the Irish do enjoy a pint or two of Guinness but, as hard as it might be to believe, there are even some Irish who don’t drink at all!

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