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The Silliest Irish Stereotypes! Are any of them True?

Updated on March 21, 2017

1. The Irish are Ginger with Freckles

False!

This has to be the most ridiculous of the stereotypes. Think of some famous Irish people. Bono, Liam Neeson, the Coors, Colin Farrell, those guys from the Script. Are they ginger? Now can you think of a famous Irish ginger? Brendan Gleeson would be about the only one.

Although the fact remains that less than 10% of the population of Ireland have red hair, Irish people are often asked "You don't really look Irish, do you?

2. The Irish are Religious

False!

If you count going to church on Christmas to make an appearance religious, then that would be it really. Some people are quite religious but as with any stereotype, it is for the most part complete nonsense.

Most people in their 30's or younger do not take religion very all that serious and many like to think of it as a moral guide if anything. Having moved to the US myself, I find the religious presence overwhelming and the tag I received as "Irish Catholic"....well, I'm confused to say the least.

3. The Irish are Stupid

False!

In the current day, Ireland houses the European headquarters for companies such as Google, Facebook (international HQ), Yahoo, Linkedin and had many fantastic Universities such as Trinity College and University College Dublin. It seems to be acceptable to say though, that they Irish are stupid and companies only come to our shores to evade taxes.

Many ancient scholars were from Ireland and there are Irish books of wisdom dating back thousands of years. Works such as the book for Kells and Scholars such as Colum Cille or Dallán Forchella are just some examples of the smarts of the Irish through the years. Newgrange also stands as proof that the Irish were building beautiful pieces of architecture even prior to the creation of the pyramids of Giza. Similarly, nowadays, there are countless Irish scholars around the world, and one would find it difficult to find a University without one.

4. Irish people Love to Travel

True! (For the most part)

Most Irish people love to travel and most people I know from Ireland will tell you have they have seen the world. Many people leave perfectly good and comfortable jobs to travel the world and do something like teach English in Asia, or lay on the beach in Australia. Irish people take a heck of a lot of holidays/vacations and will moan quite a bit about the weather in Ireland and how it would be the perfect place if the sun ever came from behind the cloud. I believe it is the weather that spurs the adventure and need for some vitamin C.


Even historically, Irish people are known for traveling. See St. Brendan for some fantastic tales.

5. Ireland is Poor

False!

Ranked 7th on the human development index (down a bit since 2008)

Irish people find it difficult right now because they are in a recession(update for 2014- Recession has ended now with 6.1% GDP growth estimated for this year), but if you can find someone without at least one smart phone, I would be surprised. With a GDP (around $245 billion even now during the bad times) similar to that of Wisconsin, Ireland is half the size and has 1 million less people. If Ireland was part of the US, they would be a mid range state ranked about 25th out of 50 and in the top 5 for wealth per person. The economic problems the country has faced since 2008 seem to be turning a corner in the last year or two.

When I was a kid growing up in Ireland, it was common knowledge that you could go to college for free, graduate and never work for the rest of your life while claiming benefits. Now, tuition can be about $1,500 a year, and the universal unemployment benefit has been lowered to about $250 a week. I once received a free cell phone for opening a bank account and a $1,500 interest free overdraft without any income at the age of 17. Banks saw the downfall of the country in 2008.

Benefits such as Children's allowance still exist in Ireland which sees EVERY parent receive approx $150 per month, per child.

Most benefits have been cut slightly during the recessionary years, so I often see my Irish friends state on Facebook (*posted from my iPhone) their distaste at their unemployment benefits being cut. How in the name of god will they visit their brother in Australia now again this Christmas?

Another farcical example is my Wisconsin property tax of $3,600 per year and my health insurance bill of $1,400 a month. In comparative terms, Irish property taxes would be $200 per year on the same house and $1,400 for the year, but again, my friends insist that they are now poor because they have to live a little tighter.

People moan....and moan some more because you can't take something away that people are used to.

Even after all the turmoil, Ireland was this year ranked as the 13th richest countries in the world by the IMF.

6. The Irish are all Drunks

False!

Not only is this a stereotype, meaning that it encapsulates millions of people into a group, but it is highly offensive. Having moved to Wisconsin from Ireland, I can tell you first hand that people in Wisconsin certainly drink more. Back in Ireland, drinking seems to be reserved for a certain time of day or a party. Most drinking is also carried out by a certain demographic i.e students. I have known more people in Ireland who wouldn't touch alcohol than I currently know in Wisconsin which is largely of German heritage.

Yeah, I bet my description of Ireland's drinking habits really doesn't sound any different to where you live.

The stereotype may come from the fine selection of liquor made in Ireland or may just be part of the anti Irish element that raged for hundreds of years. Because yes, the Irish were not always so well liked.

7. The Irish LOVE Corned Beef

False!

I tried corned beef for the first time last year. It was nice. Most people from Ireland have never tasted corned beef and I am baffled that people keep talking about it when they meet me.

Corned beef is popular among Irish Americans because their ancestors who emigrated from Ireland (and elsewhere) had no access to pork and in an attempt to make beef taste like pork, they created corned beef. Nothing Irish about it, but that doesn't mean Americans of Irish descent can't enjoy this part of their heritage. I have tried to explain this to people many times, but they choose not to believe me.

Did you know that corned beef was not an Irish tradition?

See results

8.The Irish Hate the English

False!

If I hear this one more time, I swear.... I will go bananas. The Irish and English have a long history, but for some reason, many "Irish Americans" feel the need to hate England. In 2016, please, that's just pathetic and becomes offensive.

Just like in Germany some people hate the French and in America some people hate the Canadians, there are some people in Ireland who sure enough dislike England. That does not mean that the Irish hate the English and at this point it has become so annoying that people insist on it. Most Irish people follow an English soccer club, many English come to Ireland on vacation or watch Gaelic Football and in all honesty I don't know an Irish or English person who don't have a relative in their neighboring country.

9. The Irish Hate rain and bad weather

True!

For the most part, you will not go to Ireland without encountering too things. 1. Rain 2. A fella complaining about rain. Most likely at a cross walk, in a store, at a petrol station or at the cliffs of moher. There will be rain and when there is rain there will be someone there to complain about it.

10. Irish people are chatty

True!

You may meet the odd Irish person who is quiet, but for the most part they are chatty. It's still the only country in the world where I have made friends with people while waiting to cross the road.

Sit beside someone on the train? Be prepared to know their life story.

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    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 2 years ago from Germany

      I agree to what you have said here as I have lived in Ireland for a few years and I love it there. I have not heard somebody complaing about rain and the weather maybe because they are used to it. Reading this made me miss Ireland.

    • cfin profile image
      Author

      cfin 2 years ago from The World we live in

      @ jtrader I wish they appreciated it ;)

    • jtrader profile image

      jtrader 2 years ago

      I bet that parents appreciate the children's allowance. Good to have that.

    • cfin profile image
      Author

      cfin 3 years ago from The World we live in

      @ Crafty, Thanks for reading. I knew less people in Ireland with red hair than I do in the US. Ha ha!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      This is such a great Hub. I did know about the corned beef legend because I have a friend from Ireland. My grandmother was part Irish and none of her children were red heads. LOL

    • cfin profile image
      Author

      cfin 3 years ago from The World we live in

      @ Matzkatz. Wisconsin is a fine place it's just a pity about the snow. Although leaving behind the rain wasn't difficult either :) Ireland has it's rain and almost no dangerous weather. Wisconsin has it's dangerous levels of snow and wonderful summers.

      Glad you enjoyed. Happy St.Patricks day

    • profile image

      Matzkatz 3 years ago

      You pretty much nailed it. I found No. 6 particularly amusing having also moved from Ireland to Wisconsin [Whatever was I thinking]

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