Traditions and rituals in Ireland
The first Irish tradition worth mentioning is the ancient Samhain tradition. This marked the end of the bright half of the year known as ‘Beltane’ and the start of the dark half of the year in the Celtic New Year calendar. This would have been an important time for the Irish druids, a time of dread and anticipation. Days got shorter and nights got longer, a sign that nature’s decay was about to begin. There is also the tradition of St. Patrick’s Day. Every year on March 17th many countries celebrate St. Patrick’s day. What began as a religious celebrating day for the patron saint of Ireland, has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a whole lot of green. Irish people wear shamrocks. The shamrock was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring. By the seventeenth century, the shamrock had become a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism.
Important and famous people
Important and famous people of Ireland varies from great authors to singers and painters, like C.S. Lewis, Francis Bacon, Bono, James Joyce and Jonathan Swift.
Music, art and literature
Irish culture is steeped in song and dance. Before tourism started to be a booming business, it was common for people to break out in song in the Irish pubs. In modern (and much more touristic times), these are typically staged performances manufactured for the benefit of foreign visitors. Irish songs tell a story, and through song making them even more appealing to listeners. This is more the traditional kind of Irish music. The harp is a traditional instrument of the Irish, just like the bodhran. Nowadays, rock bands like U2 and Snow Patrol are also from Ireland. So you can say, Ireland knows many kinds of different music, just like the rest of the world. For a relatively small country, Ireland has made a huge contribution to world literature. Irish poetry has a long and complex history. The Irish language has one of the oldest vernacular literature and poetry traditions and represents a more or less unbroken cycle from the 6th century to the present day.
Traditional cuisine and eating habits
Irish food is known for the quality and freshness of its ingredients. Most cooking is done without herbs or spices, except for salt and pepper. Foods are usually served without sauce or gravy. Potatoes appear in most Irish meals, so you can see this as typical Irish food. The main meal of the day is mostly eaten at lunchtime, although that´s no longer the case in the cities. Some pubs or bars still serve traditional large dinner at lunchtime.
Traditional Irish sports are dominated by Gaelic football and hurling. Of all the Irish people who attend a sporting event, one out of every two Irish is attending a Gaelic football or hurling match. Soccer and rugby are also very popular sports. Soccer in Ireland is played generally to a semi-professional level while rugby has become professional in recent years. Other traditional Irish sports in Ireland are horse-racing, fishing, handball and of course golf.