How to adjust to life when you're Irish in Australia

TransferWise content team
3 minute read

So you've made the hop across the world to Australia?

You're not alone. There are over 2 million people living down under who identify as having Irish roots.

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

The booze

Irish bar

Let's be clear - other countries just don't do drinking properly.

Their shots are only 30ml, their Guinness just doesn't come close. But the most confusing part? Getting a pint. Here's what one expat we chatted to had to say:

"While in most states if you ask for a schooner you will get a pint, in Victoria you might get a blank look, as they call it a pint there and the same goes for South Australia.
Where it gets tricky is if you are looking for a half pint. In New South Wales you should ask for a middy, a pot in Melbourne or a ten in Tasmania. But you have bigger problems if you somehow ended up in Tasmania, especially if you started the night in Melbourne."

Practice your 'English'

english language

Other nations 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.
  • 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.

The crisps


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

Tayto or King? Forget it. 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.

Sharks don't scare Australians


I guess they're just used to them?

Here's a tale from one Irishman we spoke to:

The shark alarm rang when I was at Coogee Beach, this thing was blaring. I thought we were under attack and I was about to see fighter jets flying overhead.
I swam as fast as I could to the shore and sprinted back to where my towel was. I'm not entirely sure why I decided to run the whole way across the beach but I was in full panic mood, and all logic was out the window.
I crossed paths with an Australian guy walking casually back towards the sea. I gasped out “Sharks” as I passed him he shrugged his shoulders and continued. That day I learned a valuable lesson about Australians: they love the outdoors and no shark is going to get in the way of that.

Don't chat to... strangers?!

london train station

This one is especially true in cities.

In Ireland you'd have a chat with the neighbours. Or whoever wanders past your house in the morning.

In other countries? Forget it. They'll think your crazy.

The Toy Show

(Image via RTE)

It's a key part of Irish heritage.

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


Welcome to life as an Airbnb/ party host

Got friends visiting? 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.

Sending or receiving money from home

The banks are just so expensive.

Sending or receiving money from abroad? TransferWise is the fast, fair new way to save money on transfers.

Download it for Android or iOS and start saving!

TransferWise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

Find out more