Xenophobe's Guide to the Irish
The couth truth
A popular perception of the Irish is that they're all fiery, freckle-faced red-heads who'll start a fight at the slightest offence (e.g., being called British). The bit about the freckles is accurate enough, but the typical Irish person has brown hair and blue eyes. And while they may be descended from the Celts, a fearless people whose warriors were known to run naked into battle, most modern-day Irish people would think twice before running naked into the bathroom.
Avoid the void
There's no use denying it, Irish people talk a lot. They don't know why. It just seems to pour out of them. Maybe it's something to do with living on a lonely mist-covered island on the western fringe of Europe. Whatever the reason, they just can't abide silence. It's a vacuum that must be filled.
The write stuff
The Irish devotion to literature is almost a character weakness. It is said that every Irish person has a book inside him or her. Very few of them can be persuaded to leave it there.
From gags to riches
The myth of the thick Paddy-once especially popular in Britain-has waned in recent years. But the stereotype of the Irish as a charming-yet-feckless people lingers. They are seen as being ruled by their emotions, incapable of organization, and uninterested in material things. This has become very useful in business negotiations. The ability to pose as hopeless romantics with no concern for money has been a big factor in making Ireland one of the richest countries in the world.
- Oval Books, June 2008
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