What not to do in Ireland

Dublin Don’ts – what not to do when visiting Dublin….with tongue planted firmly in cheek I researched deeply the cultural do’s and don’ts in Ireland. I discovered 15 things you shouldn’t do in Dublin and have written all about my intensive cultural research here.

Do’s and Don’ts when visiting Ireland

15 Dublin Don'ts - a little bit of Irish craic for you

Visiting Ireland is a dream come true for many – those who have Irish ancestry or have dreamed for years of visiting the Emerald Isle plan every aspect of their trip. For those of you who have watched every Irish movie ever made, and those who are planning their dream trip here is a list of 15 Dublin Don’ts for you, this is just a little bit of fun or as the Irish say “craic” before you visit.

15 Dublin Don'ts - a little bit of Irish craic for you

The Emerald Isle was first named in a poem by Belfast born William Drennan.  Drennan did believe in Irish independence but he was also a great pacifist and parted ways when the rebellion became violent. It is a defining characteristic of Ireland that the perennial rainfall and Irish mist give the lush green landscape its 40 shades of green which were sung about by Johnny Cash.  When you visit Dublin there are things you should not do and this list will help a little, so here are my 15 Dublin Don’ts.

15 Dublin Don'ts - a little bit of Irish craic for you

15 Dublin Don’ts – Things not to do in Dublin

1 Don’t expect to drink all night. The majority of pubs close at 11:30 on weeknights and 1 am on the weekend.

Gogarty's pub in temple bar number on is the 15 Dublin Don'ts for a cheap drink

2.  Don’t call an Irish man or woman, British or English this will cause great insult.

3.  Don’t attend the St.Patrick’s Day Parade celebrations in the evening, unless you are really into very drunk people getting drunker and vomiting in the streets.

4.  Don’t expect an “authentic” trad music session, these do not spontaneously drop from the skies you will be subjected to a canned version in most pubs. So choose carefully.

5. Don’t attempt to imitate an Irish accent, unless you have it down you will be thrown out of the pub.

Looking for some fantastic backpacker accommodation in Dublin check out Will’s posts on Backpacker Hostels.

15 Dublin Don'ts - a little bit of Irish craic for you

6.  Don’t not pay for a round in the pub when out with a group, this is just downright rude. It doesn’t matter if there are 12 people in the group a round is around. As mentioned by some commenters this may be a bit of an old fashioned thing to do but here in Donegal, we do it all the time unless there is an absolutely huge crowd.

7.  Don’t drive in Dublin the traffic is horrendous and those roundabouts are killers, and of course, they drive on the wrong side of the road.

8.  Don’t expect the Irish not to take the piss. In other words, if an Irishman is not making fun of you they don’t like you.

15 Dublin Don'ts the Temple Bar district

9. Don’t go to Temple Bar for “authentic” Irish drinking experiences this is not the place, it is full of young trendy and tourists particularly when the sun goes down, avoid it at night. It’s also crazy expensive.

10. Don’t pay for Museum entry, most of Dublin’s Museums are free of charge.

11.  Don’t expect to see much of the Book of Kells, they only turn over 2 pages a day and it may not be the illuminated pages you see. You can see a copy of the book itself in Kells village which does have illuminated pages on display.

Trinity College courtyard in 15 Dublin Don'ts

15 Dublin Don'ts - a little bit of Irish craic for you

12.  Don’t cross the street without looking the right way (or the left way) first, most streets are marked on the road which way to look – pay attention.

13.  Don’t expect table service and a bill in the pub, you pay for your drinks, that you order at the bar, one at a time when you order. Pubs with food expect you to go to the bar, grab a menu, when you are ready you go up to the bar, tell them your table number and order.

14.  Don’t tip in a pub, generally speaking, the accepted “tip” is to hand over enough to buy a drink and say “have one yourself”.

statue to James Joyce in 15 Dublin Don'ts

15.  Don’t be surprised by the use of swear words, you will hear every kind of them around Dublin and a lot of them.

The Irish have certain “quirks” that sometimes puzzle North Americans, from the language, which includes many sayings and phrasings that have their roots in both Celtic and colonial history.  You will hear a great deal of swearing in Ireland that you don’t run across in North America or the rest of Europe for that matter. The Irish have no filters in that regard.

Study up on the “banter” before you go, the definitive guide to Dublin Patter and Belfast Banter

The “craic” which is a tenet of Irish society means to search out the good times and enjoy them wholeheartedly.  Other phrases you will hear are “yer man” and “yer other” which simply indicate him or her. The Irish are naturally friendly and gregarious people who love to chat and for this reason, you will see that many pubs are not set up with TV’s and loud music, the Irish believe that a visit to the pub is a chance to see what is happening in the community, converse with old friends and new and simply meet people.

Molly Malone statue in Dublin - Dublin Don'ts

I believe in doing your homework before you visit any country, but I simply cannot believe the number of tourists asking in pubs for an Irish Car Bomb – the sheer ignorance of this is mind-blowing all I can say is don’t just don’t and if you need to know why go and look it up.

Oh, and a final word on the subject, as one of my readers says don’t say “top of the morning to you” …..lol…..

Before you go you may want to watch some Irish fil ems (films) that will enhance your knowledge and enjoyment of the Island.

So much to do both in and out of Dublin – here are a few more articles you may find interesting:

Things you must do in Dublin

Planning your dream trip to Ireland? Here is everything you need to know before you go

Want to do some off the beaten path do’s in Dublin? – here’s your information

Obviously, there are certain things that are must-see when you hit Dublin – so here they are

101 Landmarks in Ireland to see

53 Ultimate tips for travel to Ireland Céad Míle Fáilte

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15 Dublin Don'ts - a little bit of Irish craic for you

23 thoughts on “15 Dublin Don’ts – a little bit of Irish craic for you”

  1. Don’t frequent pubs before 5pm cos you’ll only meet wasters and bullshit artists.
    Have a coffee in some of the very nice cafés that are not one of the global brands.
    Go to a cattle mart for an authentic Irish experience and have dinner in the Mart canteen. It’ll give you months of talking points.
    Go to a hurling match. It doesn’t matter where, just go.

    1. good points David I loved the hurling matches we went to and absolutely avoid the global cafes they totally suck…lol

    2. don’tgo to the pub before 5??? that’s complete BS. I used to live in Dublin and I can tell you that quite a few locals go to the pub for their lunch hour, and yes, having a pint, or at least a half with that, is often considered normal.
      if you only go the pub at night, you’ll just meet more tourists than during the day. pubs and beer are a normal part of everyday culture there (just as they are in the United Kingdom), not just for partying and getting drunk, but for also for daytime socializing, just as cafés are in most other European cities.

  2. Ha!! Good article. We went to Ireland 3 yrs ago. Drove around those scary roundabouts :O….on our first day there. So that was a very well-advised “don’t”. You forgot one thing which we learned: “Don’t expect to eat corned beef in Ireland”. We couldn’t find any restaurant that served it, & when we asked someone about that, he said we will not find corned beef in any Ireland restaurant.

    1. LOL good point about corned beef, I have never seen anyone who is Irish in Ireland eat the stuff but I do know a lot of Canadians who love their kosher corned beef.

  3. Spot on! My husband was born and raised for 27 years in Dublin, and I’ve visited many times. So refreshing to see such an “on point” list!

  4. Not sure if ‘your other’ is a term? ‘ I’m from Dublin and have never heard that before! It’s usually Yer man’ (male) and ‘yer one (female) 🙂 😉

  5. Ok list, bit heavy on the stereotypes, there’s a lot more to Dublin than alcohol. Also it’s not that Irish people or indeed British people drive on the Wrong side, its simply different to the USA.

  6. These points are somewhat exaggerated. The Irish are very friendly and understanding, especially if you are a tourist. The only time they will be rude is if you are rude and/or obnoxious, or ignorant/condescending towards them (*cough Americans). That is my experience with family/friends/locals over there. It really is an amazing place to visit!

    1. Ummm yeah exaggerated that was the point…lol… that’s why it’s a bit of craic and tongue in cheek. Where I live (Donegal) it’s all about the sarcasm, the cynics, the craic, taking the piss and more…

  7. I think rounds are more of an older person thing, anyone that turned 18 during the recession doesn’t really adhere to that unless the drinks are cheap. Don’t buy a round for 12 people, you most certainly won’t get 12 drinks back. Also when a drink costs anything from 6 to 12 euro it wouldn’t be hard to spend a hundred on a round.

    Also don’t bring up politics if you’re American… or British

    1. You could be right about rounds Paul, I notice its mainly us old folk doing that these days lol. Good point on the politics as well.

  8. Gary F Garren

    We do not drink alcohol, but we’d very much like to experience the local life styles and are looking forward to meeting the people. So, when in pub, and not wanting to not be rude or hurt anyone’s feelings, what might be a good way for us to deal with this? And, as a rule, what reaction might we expect from the locals?

    1. You don’t need to worry I’m not a drinker and don’t like the taste of alcohol so I usually order a coffee, tea or water. Most pubs have fancy coffee machines and are well accustomed to folks not having alcohol as drink drive laws are very strict here. You can easily go into a pub and order just an orange juice or a coke and the locals won’t think anything of it.

  9. Barrie Cubbon

    If you pass by a bog and folks are hand digging peat. Stop, chat and dig. The Irish are accommodating and digging and tossing peat is not easy. Try it. Your B & B hosts are your best tour guides. We’ve been to Ireland 9 times for 3 weeks or more each and we haven’t seen it all yet so don’t try to see it all in 10 days
    And forget all the tacky attempts to speak as they do. After all they have been at it for centuries.
    The Irish don’t drive on the wrong side. We do! It is a fun place. Can’t wait to go back

  10. I agree with Paul… pub rounds are now more an older person thing in Ireland, or perhaps something that lingers in some parts of the country. It’s considered nice if you offer to buy the next “round” for one or two friends you are spending a lot of time with, but do NOT feel pressured into buying for a larger group of people.

    You will be seen as a bit of a fool if you are not drinking as much as you are paying for in rounds. Far too often I have seen visitors buying a round for a table, while they sit with just one or two pints all night. Drink in Ireland is expensive, especially if some are ordering spirits and shots – which will surely happen if they see you are easily parted from your freshly converted dollars!

    Irish people are generally kind, friendly and considerate, but in the drunken… I mean merry… haze of a pub, you can end up emptying your wallet in the mistaken belief that you are just doing what is expected of you.

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