Irish mn'ers, how much can you relate to UK mumsnetters?(496 Posts)
I read a lot of different threads on here, and recently I have come across so many issues/practices that I think just don't happen in Ireland. Now, I could be completely off the mark here, obviously there's local/cultural differences everywhere!
I don't know any parents who attend childrens birthday parties with their children (unless family etc),
I'm not aware of any dads who work "compressed hours" to care for their children. Although I know a lot of parents who work opposite shifts I suppose.
Funerals and the culture and practices surrounding death are all very different.
I don't have an abundance of parks/softplay/childrens activities nearby. If I did I'm sure they'd be too expensive to just pop in after school etc. 2 within 40 mins drive of me are €8-10 per hr.
Most children just go to their local school (baptism barrier dependent)
New mums here all seem to be inundated with visitors in hospital after their babies are born. I've never come across a new mum who isn't having visitors for the first week/fortnight etc so that they can bond.
Just a few examples there. So, are these typical observations of Irish people? Or just where I live/work? I know that local amenities are dependent on funding etc but it just seems that despite our close proximity to the UK there are big differences in day to day life.
I hope that all comes across ok. I'm just curious really.
I've been on MN for about 10 years and I've come to the realisation that the biggest cultural difference between the British and Irish is funerals. I was astonished when I first read a thread about not attending a funeral because you weren't invited, it was beyond my comprehension! And I'm not even from the country where funerals are an even bigger deal than in Dublin. The last country funeral I attended had literally thousands of attendants and I don't think that's very unusual.
My dc are older now, but yes, I often went to Birthday parties with them when all the parents stayed, up to the age of 6-7. I quite enjoyed them especially the ones with canapés and prosecco!
I think Scotland (particularly the west coast of Scotland) and Ireland have many of the things you mentioned in common.
Having dead relatives come home until the funeral was common when I was growing up. Funerals are not by invitation and you would expect some kind of wake/food/drinks after to anyone who attended.
I can generally relate but do agree on the difference re visitors when you have had a baby. I would not have dreamed of telling my family not to visit!
Schools and ratings etc I can somewhat relate to - we have a bad and good primary near us and people do rent / fake addresses to get into the good one.
Most of the rest I can relate to - culturally we are very similar I feel.
I grew up and still live in England (so in practical terms I'm English), haven't lived in Ireland since I was a toddler. 40 years later, I am still wrong footed by the attitudes to death here, waiting three weeks for a funeral for example.
The no-one meeting a new baby for weeks thing is also odd to me. Surely family turn up to help out, let the new mum and baby get some rest, take over the chores for a bit, that kind of thing?
I seem to have more in common with Muslim friends around things like respect for older family, births, deaths, family gatherings.
I'm assuming it's 'Catholic' tradition rather that 'Irish' tradition, but it still confuses the hell out of me.
DH's family funerals in a NE England mining community most certainly haven't been invitation only. Word sent out via Facebook and the grapevine and anyone welcome.
Did have to wait 3 weeks for a funeral, mind, but the crematorium was booked solid.
Yes when ao moved to England & a work colleague's father died & no one at work went to the funeral it seemed very strange!
I don't think there's the "helicopter" parenting here. It's more off you go, see you later.
School homework is nowhere near the amount English children get. No building models at home, etc.
Yes, the death thing! I lived in UK as well as here with young kids, and never got used to the English attitudes towards death. Things like children not attending funerals, people in their 30s never having seen a dead body because they don't do wakes, etc. It was considered practically abusive by my UK colleagues for me to take my then 3-year-old to the wake of a close relative in Ireland (late afternoon part), especially when I mentioned us being in the room where the body was laid out.
Other differences that strike me are that there is far more stress about parenting in general in the UK (finding the perfect nursery, worrying about what "school gate mums" might think, loads of focus on how good/bad schools are while teachers seem to get little respect regardless, regularly hosting birthday parties for 30 kids) whereas in Ireland we just seem to get on with things without agonising so much. Or perhaps it's just that I've never seen anyone stressing here because they're quietly posting about it on rollercoaster
The helicopter parenting does seem excessive in the UK going by posts here. I'm amazed at posts asking if someone is being unreasonable to leave their 10/12 yr old overnight with an 18yr + sibling and even more amazed with responses such as "get an adult neighbour/family friend to check in on them" Wtf? Or "its ok, but tell them not to use the cooker/kettle etc"
Maybe I'm just getting old...
I've lived in Ireland and the UK, and I think the main one is death. The culture of funerals in the UK is something I've never got my head around, and its one area I feel comfortable saying I think we just have a better way of dealing with things.
The rest depend on area - I'm in Dublin and, based on friends with kids who are 6 +, attending children parties is still the norm, I know two fathers who work compressed hours to care for children (one living quite rurally) and our friends spend their weekends at activities - there aren't as many softplay type things, though they exist, but parks, airfield, imaginosity, national concern hall does stuff for kids. Baby swimming, yoga, etc. It is more expensive though, no doubt about that.
And nobody I know have had visitors other than their parents while they're still in hospital, and most of my friends have asked for a couple of weeks at home with their baby with only their respective families visiting before anyone else comes by. This might depend on the birth, but there's only one friend out of quite a large circle with children who was up for a hospital visit, I'm expecting my first and hoping for an early transfer home but will definitely play it by ear re: visitors. However I think its more normal to stay close to your extended family in Ireland, as even if you move away you won't have gone that far. Its different when people are talking about huge distances.
I also used to think school was more relaxed here than the UK but was recently talking to a friend about how much homework her six-year-old has been getting in senior infants and was appalled by it. At least UK homework seems to be due once a week or on set days: in Ireland its all things that have to be done every night and the amount they were having to get to was totally ridiculous to me, and must vary based on schools as it was totally excessive compared to what I've heard others talk about.
Ultimately I think things vary a lot based on area - I found London and parts of the North and Scotland more culturally similar, the South East felt a lot more formal to me.
I've lived in wicklow (in a very run down town) and Liverpool and they are very similar in terms of attitudes to things like not helicopter parenting and not having kids in lots of expensive baby gym type classes. Kids go to the local school, the local park/river/woods etc to play.
The death thing I think might be a Catholic thing rather than an Ireland vs English thing because Catholic funerals in Liverpool are basically exactly the same as in Ireland but the rest of them leave them hanging around for weeks.
It's possibly different in other parts of the country though
I've also lived in both places and there are some fairly big differences. My husband as a director of a company was expected to go to funerals of people he'd never met!! For example if one of the members of his team lost a near relative it was really frowned upon if he didn't attend the funeral.
Also we got invited the christening of our neighbours' new baby and apart from the priest we were the only people of more than 100 guests who weren't family.
I loved living in Ireland and miss a lot of things about it. People are very warm and friendly and funny.
I lived in London for over 12 years then moved back to Ireland. I think Ireland and UK are very similar but there are a few differences.
Funerals in Ireland are usually within 2 or 3 days with huge crowds.
In Ireland if you're offered tea or coffee you would normally get biscuit, cake or something with it. In the UK if offered tea or coffee that tends to be what you get.
Irish people tend to swear more especially in general chitchat and most of the time there's no offence in it.
Irish weddings tend not to have a free bar, the bride and groom would normally only buy guests wine with the dinner, bubbly for the toast, the bride and groom's parents would usually buy guests one drink each and guests pay for their own after that. Also Irish guests tend to give more expensive wedding presents and most guests don't mind getting an evening only wedding invitation.
It would be financial suicide to have an open bar at an Irish wedding!
I prefer English weddings. They are not as OTT as Irish weddings these days.
I find the issues all very similar. Feelings get hurt by the same insensitivities. People worry about the same things.
@JaneJeffer, that is a brilliant screen name!!
Another thing is that Irish people are more inclined to believe in woo and won't think you're mad if you say you think you saw a ghost
The wood stuff is definitely down to your personal circle of friends - not much difference between UK and Ireland!
The most woo people I ever knew were when I was in the UK. Not just ghosts, but loads of earnest discussion of positive/negative energies, healing energies, spiritual "feelings" off a place, etc. They were a largish subgroup where I lived, whom I often met as friends of friends, and I never heard anybody disagree out loud. I spent a lot of conversations biting my tongue to be polite so they probably thought I agreed with them too!
There's loads based on what i read here.
The speed at which people move in together, have children. I don't see that in real life.
There are alot of women who put up with a lot from their partners. I am not saying it doesn't happen here but it seems very common on mn.
Loads of mums work p/t or Stay at home. I think there's more flex work wise for women. I find it really hard to see common flex work available as a general thing here in Ireland.
All the soft play visits!!!!!! Hell on earth for me. I only go when it's a birthday invite.
There seems to be an awful lot more blended families.
Also more of their parents and in laws seem to be divorced with step parents and step parents in laws.
I suppose Ireland was much later legalising divorce so it hasn't had the same impact yet.
Weddings seem very different and wedding gifts paltry in comparison.
From Ireland but living in Scotland now, which isn't massively different. However Irish people are definitely warmer and friendlier I find, even random people working in shops and that, not just friends/family.
Like everyone else said, the funeral thing is very odd. Both OH's grandparents died within the last year. 3+ week wait for each and only family there. OH barely even told any of his friends that they had died. If I did that in Ireland my friends would think there's something wrong with me and be quite annoyed.
I also find some of the class issues a bit odd, like having "posh" supermarkets like Waitrose. It's just a--n expensive--
supermarket and there being certain words like were originally only used by certain classes, eg couch/settee.
This might be just a Scottish thing but there seems to be a lot of young mothers in my area (I mean very early 20s) and people seem to get married younger. I know a few people here in their late 20s that have been married and/or divorced and have a few kids. Literally none of my friends in Ireland are married or have kids. There seems to be more emphasis on young people in Ireland going to university and getting settled in a decent career before marrying and having children.
Another one I just thought of today. Santa(santy!) seems quite different from father Christmas. Everyone I know in Ireland had all the main presents from Santa and then some family presents under the tree. Father Christmas seems to bring a stocking of small presents and the main stuff from parents.
The anxiety/dislike over visitors/people calling in on MN stands out to me - obviously not everyone is the same but it seems like there is an accepted view that unplanned visitors are a Bad. Thing.
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