The Irish are interested in people and place great value on the
individual. They are naturally courteous, quick-witted and will go
out of their way to welcome visitors to their country. Don't rush
the Irish. Although they work very hard, the Irish are dedicated to
a less stressful lifestyle that allows time for friends and family,
a visit to the pub, a cup of tea, or just a bit of a chat on the
corner. Families are closely-knit and very important to the Irish.
Meeting and Greeting
- Shake hands with everyone present -- men, women and children
-- at a business or social gathering. Shake hands again when
- A firm handshake with eye contact is expected.
- The Irish are not very physically demonstrative and are not
comfortable with public displays of affection.
- The Irish are uncomfortable with loud, aggressive, and
- A "Reverse V for victory" gesture is considered obscene.
- Business is best initiated through a well-connected third
party. Who you know may be vital to your business success.
- The Irish are not very time conscious and may not be punctual
for business and social meetings. They have a relaxed sense of
time and may be a little late for meetings. However, a foreigner
should be on time for business meetings.
- Business cards are exchanged, but not necessarily immediately
- Irish people tend to be creative and calm in a crisis. They
prefer to improvise rather than follow a rigid plan.
- Outwardly the Irish accept authority but inwardly have strong
displeasure in accepting it. They also dislike bureaucracy.
- Planning and strategy are short term. Irish tend to be poor in
- Don't be misled by the easy going and amiable attitudes of the
Irish. In negotiations, the Irish are astute and tenacious.
- The golf course is a major venue for conducting business in
Dining and Entertainment
- Business entertainment is commonly conducted in restaurants.
- Business dinners are usually considered more of a social
occasion and a good way to develop relationships.
- Spouses may or may not be invited to a business dinner.
- The small plate next to a dinner plate is for peelings removed
from boiled potatoes.
- It is polite to eat everything served to you in a private
- Table manners are the same as in England, only a bit more
- Refusing a drink can be perceived as insult in Ireland.
- Always buy your round of drinks.
- Dress modestly and conservatively. Flashy colors and styles,
white pants, nylon running jackets, etc. do not blend into Irish
- Tweeds, wools and subdued colors are recommended.
- A raincoat is needed year around.
- For business meetings, men should wear suits or sportcoats and
ties; women should wear suits or dresses and blazers (women wear
pants less often than in America).
- Gift giving and receiving is unusual in a business setting.
Small gifts may be exchanged, but are not expected, at the
successful conclusion of negotiations.
- When invited to someone's home, always bring a small gift for
the hostess. Give flowers (lilies are for religious occasions
only; red and white flowers symbolize death), chocolates, a bottle
of wine or continental cheeses.
- Do not give expensive or ostentatious gifts.
- The Irish respect reserved behavior. Initial meetings should
be low key.
- Assume that children will be included in family entertaining.
- Send a thank-you note after receiving a gift or being a dinner
- Always be sincere. The Irish dislike pretentious behavior.
- Remember the Irish want to do things their way. You will not
succeed if you insist on doing it "your way."
Especially for Women
- A foreign woman will be accepted easily in the Irish business
- The 'Old Boys Club' still exists. Whom you know is vital to
getting the job done.
- It is considered more proper for a woman to order a glass
of beer or stout rather than a pint.
- It is acceptable, but may be misconstrued for a foreign woman
to invite an Irishman to dinner. It is best to stick with lunch.
- If a woman would like to pay for a meal, she should state so
at the outset.