12 Things You’ll Discover About Ireland in your Foundation Year
Each year, new students from all over the world arrive at DIFC to start their International study journey. Each with their own ideas about what Ireland will be like – most of them completely wrong! So, we thought we’d give you a little insight into the real Irish experience and what you can expect when you touch down in the Emerald Isle.
1. We don’t all have that ‘Top of the mornin’ to ya’ accent
You’ve seen it in the Hollywood movies and any Leprechaun cartoons – that twee Irish accent that we all know and love. However, once you actually arrive in Ireland and travel around a little, you will be baffled by the number of different accents that do exist – and boy, do they vary widely!
2. Lephrechauns actually don’t exist
Sorry to break it to you – but Lephrechauns don’t really exist. Although they add to the mystery of Ireland and its folklore, you won’t ever meet one. But, you can get immersed in some Lephrechaun culture at The National Leprechaun Museum in Dublin, which is a fun way to spend an afternoon.
3. Irish superstition is strong
You may be laughed at if you ask about Lephrechauns, but if you mention fairies it’s a whole other story. Superstition and mythology around fairies – or the “little people” – is strong in Ireland. You may notice random small trees in an otherwise bare field – that’s a fairy tree and the belief is that you must NEVER disturb the fairies or they will curse you forever. The Irish government even altered the route of a new motorway so that a known “fairy tree” wouldn’t be disturbed.
4. We have our own language
Yes – we are the only English-speaking country now in the EU, but we also have our own language! The Irish language is not spoken widely, but even those who don’t speak it fluently will slip a word into the conversation here and there. Everyone learns Irish in school, but many forget most of it and have just a few phrases. There are parts of Ireland where the Irish language is the first language spoken – mainly over in the West of Ireland.
5. We certainly have the gift of the gab
There is no doubt about it – Irish people can talk. A lot! It doesn’t matter what the topic is, any self-respective Irish person be able to talk about it and at a rapid pace. So whether it is the taxi driver or just someone you’ve stopped to ask directions, don’t expect it to be a quick conversation.
6. Getting directions can sometimes be a little tricky
Don’t get me wrong, most Irish people will be all too willing to help you out and ‘try’ and point you in the right direction. The problem arises in the way we offer directions! Rather than using street names to identify the route, we’ll use landmarks and tell anecdotes about people or places along the way which will most likely confuse you. We may even throw in a few recommendations for places to eat and drink. At the end, you might be none the wiser about where you are actually going!
7. The weather is always of topic of conversation
Despite the actual predictability of the weather – mostly cold and wet! – we actually talk about the weather…a lot! And given the often grim weather we have, we do tend to look for the positives.
8. We have many different names for rain
Given it rains so frequently in Ireland, it is not surprising that we use many different terms to describe it. Here’s just a few:
A grand soft day: light, soft rain on a warm day
A squib: a small, short shower of rain
Trying to rain: the clouds and air feel heavy but there’s no rain
Lashing rain: heavy rain that falls in straight lines
9. Supermacs will become your staple diet
Supermacs is Ireland’s version of McDonalds or Burger King – but all Irish people think its better than anything else. Why? Well it has the Irish touch! Everyone has their own favourite – but the curry chips are the hands down winner in my book.
10. There’s always something to do on weekends
From ancient ruins, beautiful national parks, jaw-dropping coastlines and our enchanting castles, you’ll always find something to explore during your downtime in Ireland. Make sure if your holidays and study breaks to see the true beauty of Ireland.
11. You’ll never meet friendlier people
It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from, you’ll be greeted like a true guest from the second you step off the plane. In fact, Dublin and Galway were both voted in the top 6 friendliest cities in the world by Condé Nast Traveller in 2016
12. You’ll find yourself never wanting to leave!
Many students who come to Ireland with the intention of going across the waters to one of our UK partners end up staying in Ireland. Why? Because it’s just too good to leave.