Business etiquette, language & culture


Whilst Irish has constitutional status as the national and first official language of Ireland, English is the most commonly spoken language.

Irish belongs to the Gaelic or Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages, along with Scottish Gaelic and Manx. In 2003, the Official Languages Act was passed, giving expression to the constitutional status of Irish as the first official language. That Act led to the establishment of the office of An Coimisinéir Teanga. In 2006 the Government issued the “Government Statement on the Irish Language” in which it affirmed its support for the development and preservation of the Irish language and the Gaeltacht – the areas where Irish is still spoken.

There are currently Gaeltacht areas in seven counties (Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Kerry, Cork, Waterford and Meath). The economic development of the Gaeltacht has, however, been accompanied by declining percentages of Irish speakers (in 2002, a government commission had reported that of the 154 electoral divisions in the Gaeltacht, only 18 divisions had 75% or more people in them who were daily speakers of Irish).

In 2007, Irish was recognised as an official working language of the European Union. Outside the Gaeltacht, Irish is spoken as a minority language throughout Ireland. According to the 2011 census, 1.77 million people (41% of the population) over the age of three defined themselves as Irish speakers (an increase of 7.1% on the figure in 2006). 77,185 people said they spoke Irish on a daily basis outside the education system (an increase of 5,057 on the figure in 2006).

There have been significant developments in Irish-language media in recent years. Since 1996, a dedicated Irish-language television channel, TG4 (formerly Teilifís na Gaeilge), has been on air. The Gaeltacht-based radio service, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, broadcasts 24 hours a day. A cross-border language promotion body, Foras na Gaeilge, was established under the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 and there are also many voluntary Irish language organisations.

[Source: The Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga (Feb 2016)]


Irish society and culture

The Family
The dominant social structure is still the extended family, even in urban areas – ties to home and family are very strong.


Meeting and greeting

Irish businesspeople tend to be informal, quickly moving to first names. When meeting, smile and shake hands firmly with everyone.


Business cards

Business cards are often exchanged after introductions, although many do not have business cards, so you shouldn’t necessarily expect one in return.


Public holidays 2016




1 January


  New Year’s Day 

17 March


  St Patrick’s Day

28 March


  Easter Monday

2 May


  May Day

6 June


  June Bank Holiday

1 August


  August Bank Holiday

31 October


  October Bank Holiday

25 December


  Christmas Day

26 December


  St Stephen’s Day





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