How to adjust to life when you're Irish in the UK

3 minute read

So you've made the hop across the Irish Sea to the UK?

You're not alone. There are over 600,000 people living in the UK who were born in Ireland - and it's estimated that over 6 million people in the UK have at least one Irish grandparent. Yep, that's 10% of the population.

Whether you came for work, University or just for a visit - here's our one stop guide to the things no-one warned you about life in the UK:

The booze

Irish bar

Let's be clear - the Brits just don't do drinking properly.

Their shots are only 25ml, their Guinness just doesn't come close - and get ready to spend hours waiting at the bar. They're just not the trained professionals that you know and love in Irish bars.

What kind of amateur can't handle a few orders at the same time?

UK? Great Britain? England?

The Brits themselves aren't even sure.

And now you throw Brexit into the mix, it's even more complicated.

Check out the video above from the Foil, Arms and Hogg for some clarity (confusion).

Don't chat to... strangers?!

london train station

This one is especially true in London.

In Ireland you'd have a chat with the neighbours. Or whoever wanders past your house in the morning. In the UK? Forget it. They'll think you're crazy.

Also, people don't thank bus drivers when they get off in the UK. Which is just rude.

Practice your 'English'

english language

Brits will love ribbing you about how you talk.

Here are a few pointers to get you through the initial struggles:

  • They pronounce 'r' like 'are'. Not like 'or'.
  • Three is pronounced 'the-ree'. Not tree. (Ridiculous).
  • When you tell them your going to get the messages... just don't bother.
  • They call a 'fry' a 'fry up'. Which is odd, because compared to an Irish fry, it's anything but up.
  • While most of them know about the craic, others will think your asking for Class A drugs. Best avoided.
  • Press = cupboard. We don't know why either.

Learn to love the Tube

london underground

Another one for the Londoners.

Residents of the city love to discuss how they arrived at any given destination.

If they're not chatting weather, expect to spend the first five minutes of the conversation debating whether it might have been easier to get the Victoria Line (it always is).

The crisps


The crisp situation will have you questioning why you made the move in the first place.

Tayto or King? Forget it. It's Walkers all the way in the UK. And they've even messed up the colour system. Red = ready salted. Unbelievable.

And don't even try and make a crisp sandwich.

Potato jokes

They love them.

But it turns out most of them don't have a clue about Irish history (they don't learn it at school). Enjoy humiliating them with knowledge.

And expect odd questions about the North and the South of Ireland. A lot of them.

The Toy Show

(Image via RTE)

It's a key part of Irish heritage.

And yet, they just don't have it in the UK. How do parents know what to buy their kids at Christmas?


Welcome to life as an Airbnb/ party host

Got friends visiting the UK? Of course they're staying at yours.

90% of the time it's fun. But then you realise you double booked a few friends one weekend and suddenly you have half of Skerries camped on your living room floor.

Just make sure you pick some understanding housemates.

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