Travel Log 9: “Exploring Stereotypes” by Bryan Riemer. Cork, Ireland

After being in Ireland for two months I have noticed that most of the Irish stereotypes I heard about before coming here are true. I heard that the Irish were friendly redheads who can drink ‘ye’ under the table while complaining about the weather. The only stereotype that is not true in the statement above is that not all Irish people have red hair, honestly most of them do not. When I first arrived to Cork I learned that I should not try to keep up with the Irish when it comes to drinking because a pint is 16 oz where a typical beer in America is 12 oz. Also this is the first time that I am legally allowed to considering I am only 20 years old and the Irish have been legal since 18. Something that might take a little getting used to is the speed at which the Irish speak. During orientation I probably missed10 every other word the presenters were saying because they were talking so fast. Now that I have been here for a while I have adjusted to it and can understand them perfectly now. A stereotype that I learned about the Irish during my time here is that if you say you are any part Irish the person you are speaking with will try and figure out how you two could be related. I find this amazing because it not only shows the curiosity in the Irish people but it also shows how much they know about their ancestors.

Being an American in Ireland has brought my attention to how many stereotypes there actually are about America. The stereotype that surprised me the most was that all Americans own a gun. I would have to disagree with this stereotype and say that the only reason people believe this is because all of the big news headlines in America are about gun control and how it is so easy to buy a gun. This stereotype is used by the Irish to “fill a vacuum of knowledge” (Adel). There are some stereotypes which come right from the horse’s mouth and are very true, but this is not one of those examples. An example of a very true stereotype about Americans is that we drive everywhere.Since being in Ireland I walk at least five miles a day just to get around the city. Back home if I need to get to school, which is a 15 minute walk, I would drive there and spend the time I saved sleeping. I have noticed in Ireland that although tennagers can begin driving at 16, most of them do not begin until they are a couple years older. Getting a license in America is a big deal for tennagers but it does not seem to be treated the same in Ireland. I think that this is because even with a car, people still walk everywhere. One of the big stereotypes I heard about the Irish that turned out not to be so true was how much they love potatoes. I of course see chips and fries with every meal but that is the same in America. Before coming to Ireland I was under the impression that they praised potatoes and lived off of them, but the stereotype was dispelled.

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The picture that I have chosen to convey a popular American stereotype of Ireland is a photo I took during the first week I was in Ireland. I selected this picture because there is no better place in the world to hold this convention and it is the most stereotypical thing I have seen since being here. This is the one of the only places in all of Ireland where a particular Irish stereotype was just hitting me in the face. At first I thought that they were making a joke of it, but as I walked through the convention I saw dozens of redheaded people all coming out for this event. I think that if this were to take place in any other country it would be discrimination but seeing as it is taking place in Ireland I am not entirely sure what to call it. I was and am still unsure of its purpose and whether or not it is some kind of joke convention, but either way it was interesting to see something like this after only being in Ireland for a week.

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3 thoughts on “Travel Log 9: “Exploring Stereotypes” by Bryan Riemer. Cork, Ireland

  1. I liked your point about how much the Irish know about their ancestors. It’s very apparent if you talk to someone from Ireland for long enough just how much their history means to them. Their history goes back a long time and it’s great to hear about some of it because of how interesting it is. I can’t say I agree with your opinion on the stereotype of Irish being drinkers. My blog post was mainly on how I think this stereotype is wrong. Not all the Irish drink profusely like the stereotype suggests but most of them just drink casually and to have a good time. I could see how you would think this stereotype was correct, but I think it might be mainly due to the Irish population we are exposed to; college students. The rest of the population seems to go against the stereotype in my opinion and I think it’s always best to give the college students the benefit of the doubt that they will change their ways eventually.

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  2. I really enjoyed the picture you choose and the description you gave for it. I think it is important how you mentioned that if it took place in any other country it could have been seen as discrimination. Just because it is a stereotype in our mind does not mean that it is a bad thing. This could be a part of culture or a simple fact about these countries. This is Ireland’s way of embracing their heritage.

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  3. Red hair conventions are a Dutch speciality, and have spread other countries such as Ireland in recent years. I’m confused by your comment about the red hair convention ” I think that if this were to take place in any other country it would be discrimination”
    Who exactly is been descriminated against? Red heads or non-red heads? How is a red hair convention different than a beauty contest? Also, “seeing that it’s taking place in Ireland I not entirely sure what to call it” Why would a red hair convention be more or less acceptable in Ireland than in any other part of north western Europe where red hair is relatively common.
    Regarding potato consumption, the Dutch at 90 kg per capita per annum , eat more potato than the Irish, while Eastern Europeans such as the Poles and Lithunians manage 120 kg.
    You cannot seriously believe an Irish person will try to figure out how they are related to you. You are a stranger to them, in a country of 4.5 million. Someone is joking with you there. You must understand that the Irish are not earnest and literal speakers like Americans , take everything you hear with a grain of salt, people are looking for your response and may encourage you to continue in that vein for their own entertainment, it’s a little cruel actually, but just remember the Irish rarely tell you what they really think , we are
    duplicitous that wayand very scarcastic.
    Regarding alcohol consumption, the Irish drink about 12 litres of alcohol per annum, slightly above the western European adverage but below most east European countries. According to Wikipedia, there are some 20 countries that drink more alcohol on a per capita basis than Ireland. By the way Irish people don’t think that all Americans have guns but they do know that about half of Americans do have handguns and find this very dramatic and will make a generalised statement like “all Americans have guns” to evoke a conversation point. This is one of the biggest differences between Ireland and the US. In Ireland even the police on patrol are unarmed, not even with pepper spray, Ireland is a much less violent society than America. Of course the average Irish is much more familiar with America than vise versa. Perhaps half the population under 50 have been to America on student visas or as tourists.The Irish travel much more than Americans as they have 40 days paid leave per year.

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