During my preparation for this trip I had planned on going in with no real expectations or many assumptions. However, there were many misconceptions and stereotypes that I was greatly interested in exploring the truth about. These stereotypes and misconceptions were not ones I held myself but, ones that many Americans have about Ireland and it’s people.
The most obvious is the stereotype of alcoholism and temper issues. We see these stereotypes in symbols such as the “Fighting Irish” for Notre Dame. However, this symbol is used to illustrate the perseverance and fight of the Irish to overcome hardships. Despite this many associate this symbol with the misconception that Irish natives are hotheaded which is not the case. It’s actually quite the contrary. During my experience I had the privilege of better understanding the link between the Irish and their association with community in pubs. TO speak further on the subject, the communities of Ireland is more welcoming than any town you will probably find in the states.
Another misconception of the Irish is their profound dedication to their religious beliefs. I have heard on many occasions that the reason Ireland is so religious is to find forgiveness for their sins of drunken debauchery. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Ireland opposed to the US dedicates their time to worship mainly for their own deep belief in mostly Christianity. This is contributed to their religious history and how it is incorporated into their culture. This form of worship is very different from the perception of religion in the US. In the US religion can more often than not be boiled down to “ritualistic tendencies.” For those who have gone to church as children we have embedded the idea of going to church as a chore or tradition. Many of us go and cannot wait until the mass is over. However, in Ireland many of the citizens go to mass in order to share and explore their own belief. They do not base it on the traditions they have grown up with.
The word “simplistic” is a word that is commonly associated with Irish culture because of their focus on non-materialistic values. Many people in the US associate Ireland as a land of farmers that do not have many technological advances. I would even go as far as them being associated in the same category as the Amish. However, this is another misconception and false myth. Yes, there are many small communities an
d they do focus on farm life. Despite this in many ways their culture and lifestyle is much more advance than ours is today. The country focuses of environmental issues and has many technological advances that in the US we still have not implemented. Their definition of community I think would be considered more advanced and accurate than our own.
Ireland focuses greatly on literature, music, storytelling, and other forms of social entertainment opposed to the US where our favorite form of entertainment is the TV in our living room. After visiting Ireland I have made some judgments on their culture. The first of which is the astounding relationships and interactions the people of Ireland all share. The joint effort to work as a single entity to create a sense of kinship on issue that is most important to them. Lastly, their perception of is considered valuable. These are all traits our country could learn from and should implement.
Although we have the same economic issues, responsibilities, religions, and traditions we have different perceptions of what is most precious. Is one or the other wrong? Not at all but, considering both sides would be ideal to come to a final determination for ourselves.