irish culture

1st row: Uilleann pipes player.
2nd row: Irish language road sign.
3rd row: Irish tricolour.

This article is about the modern Gaelic Ireland.

Although most Irish people are of [2]


[edit] Farming and rural tradition

Traditional Irish cottages in County Antrim

As transhumance was the norm.

[edit] Townlands, villages, parishes and counties

The Normans replaced traditional clan land management (Brehon Law) with the feudalism over the island, the Irish county structure came into existence and was completed in 1610.

These structures are still of vital importance in the daily life of Irish communities. Apart from the religious significance of the parish, most rural postal addresses consist of house and townland names. The village and parish are key focal points around which sporting rivalries and other forms of local identity are built and most people feel a strong sense of loyalty to their native county, a loyalty which also often has its clearest expression on the sports field.

Lough Gur, an early Irish farming settlement

[edit] Land ownership and land hunger

With the hillwalkers in Ireland today are more constrained than their counterparts in Britain, as it is more difficult to agree rights of way with so many small farmers involved on a given route, rather than with just one landowner.

Girls playing Irish folk music during a parade on St Patrick’s Day in Dublin, 2010

St Brigid’s Crosses are often made for St Brigid’s Day
Shamrocks are often worn on St Patrick’s Day

Snap-Apple Night by Blarney, Ireland.

Modern depiction of a Leprechaun

[edit] Holidays and festivals

Much of the Irish calendar still today reflects the old pagan customs, with later Christian traditions also having significant influence. Christmas in Ireland has several local traditions, some in no way connected with Christianity. On 26 December (St. Stephen’s Day), there is a custom of “Wrenboys[3] who call door to door with an arrangement of assorted material (which changes in different localities) to represent a dead wren “caught in the furze”, as their rhyme goes.

The national holiday in the Republic is belief of ‘three divine persons in the one God’.

Northern Ireland.

Brigid’s cross made from rushes on this day represents a pre-Christian solar wheel.

Other pre-Christian festivals, whose names survive as Irish month names, are Marian observances.

[edit] Religion


In the Republic, the last time a census asked people to specify their religion was 2006. The result was 86.8% Roman Catholic, 3% Church of Ireland (Anglican), 0.8% Islam, 0.6% Presbyterian, 0.3% Methodist, less than 0.05% Jewish, approximately 1.4% other religious groupings and 4.4% identified as having no religion. About 2% did not state their religious identity.[4]

Ireland is a country where religion and religious practice have always been held in high esteem. Although the majority of Irish people are Roman Catholics, many other religions are respected and represented. There are Church of Ireland, Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist Churches, as well as Eastern Orthodox and Salvation Army communities. Several American gospel groups are represented as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. In addition to the Christian denominations there are centres for Buddhists, Hindus, Bahais and for people of the Islamic and Jewish faiths

In Northern Ireland in 2001, the population was 40.3% Roman Catholic, 20.7% Presbyterian, 15.3% Church of Ireland (Anglican), 3.5% Methodist, 6.1% other Christian, 0.3% other religion and philosophy, and 13.9% religion not stated.[5] Amongst the Republic’s Roman Catholics, weekly church attendance dropped from 87% in 1981 to 60% in 1998, though this remained one of the highest attendance rates in Europe.

[edit] Folklore

The Leprechaun figures large in Irish folklore. A mischievous fairy type creature in emerald green clothing who when not playing tricks spend all their time busily making shoes, the Leprechaun is said to have a pot of gold hidden at the end of the rainbow, and if ever captured by a human it has the magical power to grant three wishes in exchange for release.[9] The stories of Fionn mac Cumhaill and his followers, the Fianna, form the Fenian cycle. Legend has it he built the Giant’s Causeway as stepping-stones to Scotland, so as not to get his feet wet; he also once scooped up part of Ireland to fling it at a rival, but it missed and landed in the Irish Sea — the clump became the Isle of Man and the pebble became Rockall, the void became Lough Neagh. The Irish king Brian Boru who ended the domination of the so-called High Kingship of Ireland by the Uí Néill, is part of the historical cycle. The Irish princess Iseult is the adulterous lover of Tristan in the Arthurian romance and tragedy Tristan and Iseult.

Irish dancing is popular all over the world.


[edit] Literature and the arts

For a comparatively small country, Ireland has made a disproportionate contribution to world literature in all its branches, in both the Irish and English languages. The island’s most widely-known literary works are undoubtedly in English. Particularly famous examples of such works are those of vernacular poetry in Europe, with the earliest examples dating from the 6th century.

The early history of Irish visual art is generally considered to begin with early carvings found at sites such as Louis le Brocquy.

The Irish tradition of Seán Ó Riada.

Before long, groups and musicians like The Corrs.

[edit] Languages

An Irish-language information sign in the Gaeltacht

Irish and English are the most widely spoken languages in Ireland. English is the most widely spoken language on the island overall, and Irish is spoken as a first language only by a small minority, primarily, though not exclusively, in the government-defined Gaeltacht regions. A larger minority speak Irish as a second language, with 40% of people in the Republic of Ireland[20] and 10% of people in Northern Ireland[21] being Irish speakers. Article 8 of the Constitution of Ireland states that Irish is the national and first official language of Ireland.[22] English in turn is recognised as the state’s second official language.[22] Hiberno-English, the dialect of English spoken in Ireland, has been greatly influenced by Irish.[23]

Several other languages are spoken on the island, including Travellers. Two sign languages have also been developed on the island.

Some other languages have entered Ireland with immigrants – for example, Persian.

[edit] Food and drink

[edit] Food in early Ireland

A world famous pint of wheaten soda bread

There are many references to food and drink in early Irish literature. venison. The fulacht fia have holes or troughs in the ground which can be filled with water. Meat can then be cooked by placing hot stones in the trough until the water boils. Many fulach fia sites have been identified across the island of Ireland, and some of them appear to have been in use up to the 17th century.

Excavations at the porridge.

[edit] The potato in Ireland

Cultivation of potatoes in ‘lazy beds’, Inisheer, County Galway.

The [25]

[edit] Food in Ireland today

In the 20th century the usual modern selection of foods common to Western cultures has been adopted in Ireland. Both US Tex-Mex), Indian, Polish and Chinese dishes.

The proliferation of [27]

In tandem with these developments, the last quarter of the century saw the emergence of a new Irish cuisine based on traditional ingredients handled in new ways. This cuisine is based on fresh vegetables, fish, especially Ballymaloe Cookery School have emerged to cater for the associated increased interest in cooking with traditional ingredients.

Representative Irish Foods

[edit] Pub culture

A typical Irish pub in County Donegal

Pub culture, as it is termed, pervades Irish society, across all cultural divides. The term refers to the Irish habit of frequenting public houses (pubs) or bars. Traditional pub culture is concerned with more than just drinking, even though Ireland has a recognized problem with over-consumption of alcohol. In 2003, Ireland had the second-highest per capita alcohol consumption in the world, just below Luxembourg at 13.5 litres (per person 15 or more years old), according to the OECD Health Data 2009 survey.[28] Typically pubs are important meeting places, where people can gather and meet their neighbours and friends in a relaxed atmosphere. Pubs vary widely according to the clientele they serve, and the area they are in. Best known, and loved amongst tourists is the traditional pub, with its traditional Irish music (or “trad music”), tavern-like warmness, and memorabilia filling it. Often such pubs will also serve food, particularly during the day. Many more modern pubs, not necessarily traditional, still emulate these pubs, only perhaps substituting traditional music for a DJ or non-traditional live music.

Many larger pubs in cities eschew such trappings entirely, opting for loud music, and focusing more on the consumption of drinks. Such venues are popular “pre-clubbing” locations. “celtic tiger years. Clubs usually vary in terms of the type of music played, and the target audience.

A significant recent change to pub culture in the [31]

[edit] Sport

Gaelic football

Hurling ball and hurley

Sport in Ireland is popular and widespread. Throughout the country a wide variety of sports are played, the most popular being [34] Soccer is the most popular sport involving national teams.

In Ireland many sports, such as rugby union, Gaelic football and hurling, are organised in an all-island basis, with a single team representing Ireland in international competitions. Other sports, such as soccer, have separate organising bodies in Northern Ireland and the Great Britain team or the Ireland team.

[edit] Media

[edit] Print

There are several daily newspapers in Ireland, including the newspaper of record.

The Sunday market is quite saturated with many British publications. The leading Sunday newspaper in terms of circulation is The Sunday World.

There are quite a large number of local weekly newspapers, with most counties and large towns having two or more newspapers. Curiously Dublin remains one of the few places in Ireland without a major local paper since the Dublin Daily was launched, but failed to attract enough readers to make it viable.

One major criticism of the Irish newspaper market is the strong position citation needed].

The Irish magazine market is one of the world’s most competitive, with hundreds of international magazines available in Ireland, ranging from In Dublin.

[edit] Radio

The first known radio transmission in Ireland was a call to arms made from the Century Radio, came on air in 1989.

During the 1990s and particularly the early 2000s, dozens of local radio stations have gained licences. This has resulted in a fragmentation of the radio broadcast market. This trend is most noticeable in Dublin where there are now 6 private licenced stations in operation.

[edit] Television

The logo for a children’s show on the Irish-language station TG4.

While some areas of Ireland received signal from Wales earlier, TV3 began broadcasting in 1998.

British and satellite-carried international television channels have widespread audiences in Ireland. The E4, and several hundred satellite channels are widely available. Parts of Ireland can access the UK digital TV system Freeview.

[edit] Film

The Irish Film industry has grown rapidly in recent years thanks largely to the promotion of the sector by Bord Scannán na hÉireann (The Irish Film Board)[35] and the introduction of generous tax breaks. Some of the most successful Irish films included Intermission (2001), Man About Dog (2004), Michael Collins (1996), Angela’s Ashes (1999), My Left Foot (1989), The Crying Game (1992), In the Name of the Father (1994) and The Commitments (1991). The most successful Irish film directors are Neil Jordan and Jim Sheridan. Irish actors include Richard Harris, Peter O’ Toole, Maureen O’Hara, Michael Gambon, Colm Meaney, Gabriel Byrne, Pierce Brosnan, Liam Neeson, Daniel Day-Lewis, Cillian Murphy, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Saoirse Ronan, Michael Fassbender and Colin Farrell.

Ireland has also proved a popular location for shooting films with P.S. I Love You (2007) all being shot in Ireland.

[edit] Cultural institutions, organisations and events

The Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin.

A social club for Irish nationals in England.

Ireland is well supplied with museums and art galleries and offers, especially during the summer months, a wide range of cultural events. These range from arts festivals to farming events. The most popular of these are the annual Dublin Saint Patrick’s Day Festival which attracts on average 500,000 people and the National Ploughing Championships with an attendance in the region of 400,000. There are also a number of Summer Schools on topics from traditional music to literature and the arts.

Major organisations responsible for funding and promoting Irish culture are:

List of institutions and organisations

Cork Opera House.

Ulster Museum, Belfast.


St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Dublin.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Sir James G. Frazer – “The Golden Bough“, 1922 – ISBN 1-85326-310-9
  4. ^ Central Statistics Office Ireland, population classified by religion.
  5. ^ Retrieved 2011-05-04.
  6. Palladius)”
  7. 978-1-57356-152-5.
  8. ^ Rogers, Nicholas (2002). “Samhain and the Celtic Origins of Halloween”. Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night, pp. 11–21. New York: Oxford Univ. Press. ISBN 0-19-516896-8.
  9. ^ The Leprechaun Legend: Fantasy Ireland
  10., retrieved 2007-10-16
  11. 17648714
  12. ^ O’Driscoll, Robert (ed.) (1981) The Celtic Consciousness New York, Braziller ISBN 0-8076-1136-0 pp.197-216: Ross, Anne “Material Culture, Myth and Folk Memory” (on modern survivals); pp.217-242: Danaher, Kevin “Irish Folk Tradition and the Celtic Calendar” (on specific customs and rituals)
  13. ^ b Frank Leslie’s popular monthly: Volume 40 (1895) p.540
  14. ^ Rogers, Nicholas. (2002) “Festive Rights:Halloween in the British Isles”. Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night. p.48. Oxford University Press
  15. ^ Samhain, BBC Religion and Ethics. Retrieved 21 October 2008.
  16. ^ Council faces €1m clean-up bill after Halloween horror Irish Independent Retrieved 04-12-2010
  17. ^ Rogers, Nicholas. (2002). “Coming Over: Halloween in North America” Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night. pp.49-77. New York: Oxford University Press.
  18. ^ “Dublin Travel Guide – Dublin Travel Guide Ireland”. Retrieved 2008-10-28.
  19. Retrieved 2008-10-28.
  20. ^ Census 2006 results, Central Statistics Office Ireland
  21. ^ Northern Ireland, CIA World Factbook
  22. ^ Constitution of Ireland Article 8
  23. ^ Hiberno-English Archive
  24. ^ “An Apology to Ireland”. The New York Times. 1997-06-05.
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” Chapter 4. “Isolated and Modernized Gaelics” by Weston A. Price
  28. ^ Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (November 2009). “OECD Health Data 2009: Frequently Requested Data”. Retrieved 24 March 2010.
  30. ^ “NI Smoking ban set for 2007″. Flagship E-Commerce. November 2006. Retrieved February 2007.
  31. ^ Smoking ban.
  32. ^ “The Social Significance of Sport”. The Economic and Social Research Institute. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  33. ^
  34. ^ “Sports Participation and Health Among Adults in Ireland”. The Economic and Social Research Institute. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  35. ^
  • Mitchell, Frank and Ryan, Michael. Reading the Irish landscape (1998). ISBN 1-86059-055-1
  • National Museum of Ireland. Viking and Medieval Dublin: National Museum Excavations, 1962 – 1973 (1973).
  • R. Comerford, Ireland Inventing the Nation. (Hodder Books, 2003).
  • Hospitality in Mediaeval Ireland, 900-1500, Catherine Sullivan, Dublin, 2006.
  • The Progress of Music in Ireland, Harry White, ISBN 1-85182-879-6
  • Music, Ireland and the Seventeenth Century:Irish Musical Studies 10, ed. Barra Boydell and Kerry Houston, Dublin, 2009
  • Music at Christ Church before 1800, ed. Barra Boydell, Dublin, 1998

[edit] External links

Source: Wikipedia