How to be Irish for The Gathering – do you have what it takes to pull it off?
An anthropologist expert dissects what it means to be Irish, a highly developed art form
Business people who work in an international context know that cultural differences impact on commerce. My guide to the Irish workplace shows how to get to the top of your chosen field by combining looking stressed with looking important. In Ireland, we know that work can be fun if it is kept out of the workplace. One of the most popular forms of Irish work is building: Irishness can almost be defined by our relationship to building. To be truly Irish one must go through what we anthropologists call a rite of passage: you must survive a relationship with an Irish builder who attempts to attach an extension to your house.
My guide also helps you to navigate your way through the extended holiday that is the Irish Christmas. You will learn how to make polite dinner conversation, comment favourably on the turkey, and remain upright while privately drunk. Irish Christmas can be a time when you have a near-fatal exposure to your Irish family, especially your mammy. If you don’t have an Irish mammy, one will adopt you if you ask politely.
In Ireland, all politics are local, most especially our national politics. I navigate through our complex political campaigns, which are not about espousing grandiose ideologies but are about shouting at each other in doors during campaigns. Happily, we have the most complex voting system in the world in the form of the proportional representation single transferrable vote system that guarantees we won’t know who won until a week after the election. The complex workings of this system are explained here for the first time, ever.
But it is not all about ancient rituals and traditions. We have young generations of Irish people who are helping shape a new identity for the future. You can learn how to be a young chic Irish hipster regardless of you age. Or if you want to resist new trends you can learn how to be an uncool GAA fan.
All these skills and more are provided in my life-saving, essential guide for anyone planning to fit in at our gathering for 2013.
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** David Slattery is a full-time writer and an Associate Fellow at the Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media at The National College of Art and Design in Dublin.