Top 10 social taboos in Irish society

Every country has their own list of topics they would rather not talk about, and Ireland is no exception, so here is our top 10 social taboos in Irish society.

Top 10 social taboos in Irish society

It’s no surprise that the Irish like to talk, we call it the ‘gift of the gab’ and we are more than happy to have a natter with anyone who will listen. Our conversations can be from anything to do with the weather, to what’s on the telly box tonight, to holiday plans or just plain old chit chat about our lives.

There are, however, some things we would rather not talk about and some things that make us feel slightly uncomfortable, which is what we call a social taboo in Ireland. Perhaps you are not familiar with some of these or have never noticed them before.

However, once you read through our top 10 social taboos in Irish society list, you will know to choose your topics wisely. No one wants that elephant in the room, not even the Irish.

10. Getting rowdy – don’t cause a scene

Everyone heads out to have a good time, to have the craic and to let loose after a hectic week perhaps. Of course, having a few scoops is common in Ireland. we are the master drinkers but we are also masters at handling our alcohol.

It goes without saying that we are not too keen on being drunken, obnoxious messes, but rather prefer to be social, fun drinkers with mad dancing skills.

9. Money – it’s a touchy subject

One of the main social taboos of Ireland is money.

It’s not a common topic when in a conversation with friends or even friends of friends to talk about money. You would never bring up the subject of how much you earn when out and about. It’s just awkward and may offend some people. So we just leave it out!

8. Referencing colonialism – to avoid a sour atmosphere

The topic of colonialism is a social taboo of Ireland.

Judging by our vast history, many people have strong opinions about our colonial background. This is something you don’t just bring up in a random conversation if you don’t want to make the atmosphere sour.

7. The roles of men and women – best not to go there

Best not to speak about the roles of men and women in society.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

When it comes to the roles of the sexes or men and women rights for instance, the Irish would rather not discuss this openly. As many of our previous topics listed, there could be mixed opinions or experiences, so best not to go there.

6. Bedroom talk – let’s keep it PG

Bedroom talk is one of the top social taboos in Irish society.

No one wants to be sat around table listening to the ins and outs of what you got up to last night or how far you’ve gone in the relationship.

Sure, this is a hot topic but be we tend not to go too much in to detail, we’re just not that kind of nation. Let’s keep it PG shall we.

5. The Famine – one of the top social taboos in Irish society

The Famine – one of the top social taboos in Irish society
Monument to The Famine in Dublin. Credit: William Murphy / Flickr

Sure, everyone knows about the famine and the mass immigration from Ireland in the 1800s but there are mixed views on the famine, many of which can be controversial so we rather just leave that to the history books.

No one wants to join a table where there’s a famine debate raging on and ruining the mood; that’s just no craic is it?

4. Your problems – keep this for your close friends

Your problems – keep this for your close friends

There’s nothing more awkward than discussing your problems openly with a group of people, especially if you some know them all too well.

Sure enough, speaking to your close friends in private is pivotal to life, but we just know our audience before we bring this up. No one wants to dampen the mood.

3. Insensitive jokes – to not offend others

A typical reaction to an offensive joke.

We can all probably recall a time when everything was going well and we were all having the craic, when someone in the group slipped up by telling an insensitive joke of some sort.

We tend to stick to our go to ‘lighten the mood’ jokes; we don’t want to offend people now, do we? This is easily one of the top social taboos in Irish society.

2. Religion – a topic that has divided a nation

Most people are familiar with the troubles of Ireland, most of which were based around the two religions, Protestant mainly in the north and Catholics mainly in the south.

The Irish have very strong opinions when it comes to our history and it’s best to leave the topic of religion to one side when in a conversation with an Irishman because you never know what someone’s experiences might be.

1. Politics – what else would it be?

Politics is a top social taboo in Irish society.
Credit: Houses of the Oireachtas / Flickr

And in a number one we have…. Politics, of course! They have been many a conversation ruined because of a strong political opinion- there’s a time and a place!

So, there you have it, that is our list of the top 10 social taboos in Irish society. The Irish may have a few subjects that are off limits but ere are a million things we do love to talk about, so don’t ever think that there will be any awkward silences when talking to Irish folk. We are not just masters are drinking, we’re masters at talking too.

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Jade Poleon is a free spirit with a love for the world and her homeland, Ireland. Jade started travelling in 2007 and since then has travelled to every continent and over 90 countries, qualified as a yoga teacher in India, hiked the Himalayas, walked 900km across Spain, and is about to embark on a trip through Portugal in her camper van. Travel is her number-one passion, and she has a soft spot for hiking, food, and jaw-dropping scenery, all of which can be found right here on our stunning Emerald Isle.