From the time you turn up at a bar to your arrival at work, you’ll be greeted with a greeting of “Welcome to Irish culture.”
But it’s a cultural stereotype, and one that could be hurting the wellbeing of our most vulnerable citizens.
Irving College’s Institute of Culture & Heritage has released a report, The Irish Identity Crisis: Why Is Irish Culture so Important?
(pdf), which lays out a series of steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of the cultural stereotype.
We’ve compiled the report to help you identify and address the myths that you might be perpetuating.
We know that the vast majority of people in the UK still think that the Irish have a distinct culture, which has been shaped by the past 500 years.
However, in reality, it’s much more complicated than that.
As a society, we have a strong attachment to Irish identity, and a long history of co-opting Irish customs and traditions to create our own identity.
This has led to some of the most profound cultural changes in Ireland in recent history.
Here are seven things you need to know about the Irish identity crisis, which is likely to be the biggest challenge of our time.1.
The ‘Irish’ and ‘Irish culture’ mythsWe can identify three main cultural myths that are prevalent in the English-speaking world:The first myth, often referred to as the ‘Irish identity crisis’, is that Irish people are too Irish, too Irish-sounding, too American, or too Irish.
In this myth, Irish people aren’t Irish because they are Irish; rather, they are the most popular cultural stereotype in Ireland.
We’re used to the idea of ‘Irishness’ as being associated with the Anglo-Saxon people of England and the north of Ireland, as well as with the Irish people themselves.
However in reality it is a social construct, which only exists in the minds of a small group of people.
The reality is that the people who are most likely to think that Irishness is synonymous with the English and Anglo-Protestant people of Britain and Ireland are those who hold a strong religious attachment to Catholicism.
We need to stop thinking of Irishness as being synonymous with ‘Catholicism’, because this isn’t the case.
In the UK, we do not need to be Irish to be British, and we don’t need to adopt any Irish cultural traditions to be a British person.2.
The second cultural myth is that there are two cultures in Ireland: the English, and the Irish.
This myth is used by people who have no experience of living in Ireland, or who live in England and do not speak Irish.
The myth is also perpetuated by those who want to promote a cultural agenda and who want you to believe that the only way to be ‘Irish in Ireland’ is to be white, middle-class, educated and Protestant.
It’s a myth that is so damaging to our communities, that in fact we’ve already seen this form of misinformation spread in the form of memes and hashtags.
We believe that we live in a pluralistic society and that the majority of our society is comprised of diverse people, so it’s important that we keep the Irish and Irish culture in mind when thinking about our own.3.
The third cultural myth involves the Irish being ‘better than English’.
It’s also a myth we can’t avoid.
We live in an age where the British are in the process of leaving Ireland and moving to England, and there is a lot of anxiety in our society that the English will be a force to be reckoned with.
People in the north and the south of Ireland are worried that the influx of immigrants will bring about a new wave of immigration, as the people of the North have traditionally been the most vocal about their opposition to immigrants in recent times.
The reality is, there is no Irish-English culture that is ‘better’ than the English.
As long as we’re trying to separate ourselves from the English in society, the Irish will always be in a minority.
In fact, a recent poll by the Irish Times found that the overwhelming majority of respondents thought that the most successful Irish people would be those who had Irish ancestry.
In order to tackle this social and political imbalance, it is vital that we stop thinking about the ‘English’ and the ‘French’ as the most dominant cultural groups in Ireland and focus on the ‘local Irish’ in our communities.