What are some cultural faux pas in the Republic of Ireland?
I lived in Cork in 1997. That's where half my family tree comes from, but no, I was not trying to chase my roots. I just thought Ireland was great and wanted to spend a college semester there and UC Cork had an archaeology program I liked.
Anyway, I did get the clear and consistent message from plenty of Irish people to avoid talking much about the IRA and the Troubles. And I got the message that people were a little tired of Yanks coming over, suddenly transforming themselves into whoever they imagined Irish people to be (complete with brand-new wool sweaters bought from the Aran Islands), and telling all within earshot about their Irish forbears.
In other words, while I am glad to see Domhnall's more relaxed take on these things, in Cork at least these issues were a little more sensitive when I lived there.
I'd steer well clear of anything to do with Ireland's long and complicated relationship with the UK.
Do not express any opinion about 'The Troubles' except perhaps vague happiness that the worst of it is over.
Also don't tell people you're 'Irish' because your great-grandparents emigrated from Ireland.
Don't negatively compare things in Ireland to the country you come from.
Also don't talk about religion.
And don't try to do a fake Irish accent.
Finally, don't claim Gaelic football isn't as good as normal football.
Those rules got me through my time in Ireland without serious injury.
I lived in Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow until I was 12, and just for my brother's sake, will note this particular habit that Americans particularly, but also Australians, seem unable to avoid: pointing at redheads and people with lots of freckles and exclaiming over how cute or adorable they are.
Just. Don't. OK? Thanks!