With Saint Patrick’s Day fast approaching, it’s the time of year when time-old traditions are unearthed and celebrated once again. We Irish hold certain values particularly close to our hearts, whether it’s the healing powers of a cup of tea or saying our prayers for good weather. Here are just some of our favourite, inescapably Irish traditions. But which are your favourites?

1. The rules around dinner and tea

Not to be confused with the tea we drink by the gallon, but the idea of tea-time; an Irish tradition where we have our ‘tea’ at dinnertime and our dinner at lunch. Though less popular these days, it’s a definitive feature at your granny’s house. You might only have recovered from your porridge at breakfast and you’ll be ordered to the kitchen table for your meat, potatoes and gravy, followed by a big bowl of custard and apple pie. Then, at about 6 pm, you’ll probably opt for a sausage sambo and a mug of - yep, you guessed it - tea. Often pronounced ‘tae’.

Source: RTÉ Player

2. The ‘grand stretch in the evenings’

A year-round tradition in Ireland is to begin every conversation - regardless of who it’s with - with an analysis of the weather. There is no better ice-breaker than commenting on the weather, and as far as the Irish are concerned, whether it’s hailing or splitting the stones, we’ll probably find something to complain about. The only time we’re noticeably positive, however, is when we begin to see the ‘grand stretch’, signalling the onset of spring. This change is worthy of celebration in Ireland.

Source: RTÉ Player

3. The Seisiún

Nothing beats an Irish gathering, when the TV is turned off in favour of some good old- fashioned socialising. Not one, but several, guitars will always emerge as if by magic - from where we’re not quite sure - and the full repertoire of ballads will ensue. No Irish sing-song is complete without a nod to Christy Moore, and you can always count on everyone in attendance knowing the words, no matter how old the song is or how long it’s been since we’ve heard it. What takes the sing-song up a notch is when someone with particularly sweet and dulcet tones takes to the floor without the need for any instrumental accompaniment. In this instance, to talk or even make the slightest noise is the height of rudeness. This is a sacred tradition.

Source: Republic of Comedy

4. The Full Irish

Regardless of the trends that come and go, some things in Ireland will forever remain the same. Sure, there are plenty of contemporary establishments serving continental and American style brunch, but all pale in comparison to the traditional Irish fry-up. We Irish are famous for our black and white pudding - the star player of the Full Irish - and we favour thick slices of bacon over the crispy and skinny streaky version any day of the week.

Source: Republic of Comedy

5. The St. Patrick’s Day parade

Perhaps the most famous Irish tradition of all, however, is the Saint Patrick’s Day parade. Our own parade has inspired similar parades all over the world, in celebration of ridding Ireland of all of those unwanted snakes. Today, it’s a chance to don your emerald - even the Liffey goes green for St. Patrick’s Day- celebrate our heritage and that which makes us unique. Each year the parade goes from strength to strength, bursting with energy and reminding us of the values that mean so much to us.

Source: RTE

Other unmistakably Irish traditions include drinking flat 7Up when you’re under the weather, thanking the bus driver and saying hello to strangers on the street - but only when you’re down the country!

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