Top 10 common misconceptions about Ireland

Ireland is known for many things, but have you ever wondered what is real and what is hearsay? These are the top ten common misconceptions about Ireland, busted.

Here are the top 10 misconception about Ireland, busted!

When the topic of Ireland finds itself on centre stage, it is easy to bring to the fore associated cultural aspects, be it our love of ‘the black stuff’ (aka Guinness), our fire-headed inhabitants, the leprechauns, or lilt of the Irish accent.

But how much is accurate, and how many of these are cliches wholly unrepresentative of modern-day Ireland?

In this article, we round up the ten most common misconceptions about Ireland and separate fact from fiction.

10. Pinching people on St. Patrick’s Day is a thing – an American, not Irish, tradition

Pinching people on St. Patrick's Day is a misconception about Ireland.
Credit: Pixabay.com / Squirrel_photos

The concept behind pinching or being pinched on St. Patrick’s Day is one that Americans, not Irish, bore.

It is said that on St. Patrick’s Day, you wear green so that you are invisible to leprechauns. As you can imagine, this means that those who do not don green garb are likely to be subject to a pinch or two.

9. You can see the entire country in a week – you could, but you’d barely experience anything

There is lots to explore all across the Emerald isle.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Ireland is indeed small in size, particularly in comparison to many of its neighbouring European countries. Saying that, the concept that you can see the entire country in a week is a bit of a stretch.

Sure, you could see a good chunk of it, but you would barely experience anything bar views from the car window. And where’s the fun in that?

8. We’re not all redheads – although many of us are

A major misconception of Ireland is that we're all redheads.
Credit: Pixabay / chermitove

Ireland does indeed boast the largest number of redheads per capita, but it must be noted that not all Irish people have red hair.

In the same thread, not all of us have fair skin and freckles. Avoiding statements like “you don’t look Irish” is advised.

Given that Ireland is becoming widely multicultural, this age-old image of an Irish person is now outdated.

7. We don’t all say “top of the morning to ya” – sorry to break the news!

One of the biggest misconceptions about Ireland is that we say "top of the morning to ya!"
Credit: Flickr.com / Chris Dixon

This may come as a bit of a shock, but we must break the news that not all Irish people say “top of the morning to ya”. In fact, we’re not sure anyone does at all!

Definitely defined as one of the common misconceptions about Ireland, this phrase is more akin to twee movies about pots of gold and paddywagons.

6. Leprechauns don’t exist – but we wish they did

Leprechauns unfortunately do not exist past Celtic folklore.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Although we certainly wish they did, it must be told that leprechauns don’t exist.

The myth of these cheeky fairies came about in the 8th-century and they have been an essential character of Celtic folklore since.

5. We’re not part of the UK – a fact you need to get right

One of the biggest misconceptions about Ireland is that it is part of the UK.
Credit: vinepair.com

The Republic of Ireland is not part of the United Kingdom; Northern Ireland is.

This is a sore subject for some Irish people, so be respectful when asking questions and avoid the subject in local bars where alcohol has been consumed.

4. We’re not all religious – a more contemporary Ireland

Another in our list of misconceptions about Ireland is that we are all religious.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Aside from what you may think you know, Ireland today is not all that religious. Again, this is one of the top common misconceptions about Ireland.

Indeed, in the rural parts of Ireland and particularly for the older generations, religion may still be a large part of life. For millennials and younger ages, though, there is less of a focus on religion.

3. We don’t all speak Irish – and isn’t that a shame!

In recent years, a Celtic resurgence has seen increased numbers of Irish speakers.
Credit: Pixabay.com / Cityswift – Ireland

The lilt of the Irish language is absolute magic, although it’s a shame to say that not all Irish people actually speak Irish!

While the native language is taught in school and is compulsory, its popularity dwindled over time. In recent years, however, a Celtic resurgence has seen increased numbers of Irish speakers.

2. It’s not always raining – although it rains a lot

Always bring an umbrella when you head to Ireland, but pray you don't need it!
Credit: flickr.com / State Farm

Fact: in Ireland, it rains a lot – just not all the time. This is easily one of the top common misconceptions about Ireland.

Pack for all weather. Plan for the worst and hope for the best! And, while a trip to Ireland may not be the sun holiday you’ve been dreaming of, we promise it’ll be memorable without a doubt.

1. We’re not all big drinkers – an age-old myth

One of the biggest miconceptions about Ireland is that we're all heavy drinkers.
Credit: YouTube Screenshot / GuinnessEurope

It may come as somewhat of a shock, but it is worth noting that the Irish are not all big drinkers.

Of course, you can find some of the best traditional pubs and dynamic nightlife on the Emerald Isle. Still, it’s also worth noting that there are great activities, events, and excitement for non-drinkers.