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The worst possible Irish faux-pas, ranked in order

From least to most mortifying.

IRISH SOCIETY CAN be a minefield. But luckily, we’re here to help.

Here are the worst gaffes you can possibly make.

8. Not thanking the bus driver


Flickr/The Labour Party

Getting off the bus without a verbal or physical signal to the driver that you appreciate his/her services.

Magnitude: Insignificant. People might take you for a bit rude, or they might just assume that you’re the strong silent type.

7. The Irish Goodbye



Legging it out of the pub or club without saying goodbye to anyone, in case they make you stay for another drink/harangue you about the fact that you’re going home early.

Magnitude: Very minor. Would normally be a major breach of etiquette but you can be practically certain that the next day everyone will have forgotten and/or done the same thing themselves.

6. Genuinely declining hospitality


Flickr/Libby Arnold

Really, actually, genuinely rejecting this basic hospitality. Not even taking a sup of tea and a bite of biscuit for politeness’ sake.

Magnitude: Still fairly minor, although it will most certainly be noted and remembered. Does he/she think our tea and biscuits aren’t good enough for them?

5. Failing to enter the Circle of Complaint



When a group of people are indulging in a light bit of recreational complaining about the weather/politicians/the Catholic Church, joining in with a non-ironic positive attitude, eg: “Actually, I think the Government have done a lot of really good things since they came into office.”

Magnitude: Manageable. People are unlikely to be actually offended, although they may mark you out as an oddball never to be completely trusted.

4. Leaving the immersion on



Repeatedly and systematically.

Magnitude: Serious. Makes you not only a bad housemate, but also a general ne’er-do-well whose entire belief system is frankly questionable.

3. Accidentally slagging someone’s cousin/brother-in-law/best mate from home


Photo via Shutterstock

Delivering an intense and lengthy dissection of someone’s personal failings and past misdeeds, only to discover that the person you’re talking to knows them well and is about to give a speech at their wedding this weekend.

Magnitude: Very serious. BUT there is a significant chance that your interlocutor will laugh and join in with the slagging, no matter how much they like the person involved.

2. Not getting your round in



Repeatedly being in the toilet/forgetting your wallet/saying you’ll go to the ATM next time.

Magnitude: Extremely serious. Will be tolerated for only a short while before you are forced to become one of those people who happens to turn up at the pub where your mates are, ‘by chance’.

1. Actually saying how you are, when asked



Especially if the answer is positive.

“Things are great with me, thanks for asking. I’m making a ton of money and working very little. Oh, and yes these ARE new clothes – don’t I look nice in them?”

Magnitude: Unforgivable. The best you can hope for is a stunned silence.

What have we missed? Give us your Irish faux-pas in the comments…

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About the author:

Michael Freeman

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