Dating in Ireland as an American: All You Need to Know

Irish men and women have a way with words, and they also have the warmest smiles that can get you hooked up within a second. However, dating an Irish is far different from dating in the United States as there is a significant cultural difference between these two countries. 

When you date someone from Ireland, you will need to get used to daylight pub hopping and drinking. You should also be good at picking up signals since they don’t usually voice out their feelings. Besides that, you have to be ready to go on some festivities and meet and date their whole family.

Ireland is known as the “Best Good Country” globally, and you might one day visit it to see for yourself. You might even fall in love with the country and decide to find someone you can date here and live here throughout your lifetime.

If that’s something that you’re planning about, then you have to check out these 8 things you need to know before dating in Ireland. 

The Irish Dating Culture

So you’re free, single, and looking to meet others? Many nationalities might vie for your time and your affection when traveling. If you plan on finding an Irish lad or lass to date, you must first know about their dating culture. 

1. They are very casual

Irish lad and lass won’t even talk about going out for dinner until you’ve hit the pub half a dozen times. It is just the Irish way to talk over a few pints on a first, second, or third date and get to know someone. Irish people don’t take it too seriously, and neither should you.

2. They usually won’t ask you out

Ireland’s dating culture is very different from that of other countries. Unlike Americans, Irish people would rather gnaw their arms off than approach strangers and ask them out for coffee. So, if you badly want an Irish lad or lass to go out with you, you better take the first move. 

3. They are not good at talking about their feelings

There is a tendency among Irish people to bottle up their feelings and play games with each other. Acting like they aren’t into someone sometimes ruins their chances.

When you date an Irish, you won’t know if they like you when you date an Irish because they won’t tell you. Not ever. So, make sure that you pay attention to these signs when you’re dating:

  • Irish lass and lad will constantly slag you. Seriously, if they stopped slagging you, you should be worried. 
  • Irish people will never make the first move, and they only draw their confidence from drinking more alcohol. If they are too drunk, they may have a slip that they like you. But if it goes long, you need to catch up more. Maybe you’ll wake up to a message from them asking you if you had a good night.
  • The Irish person won’t mind sharing his chips or other food with you. If they turn you down for asking for a slice of pizza, then you might as well rethink if you should keep on seeing them.
  • If it’s an Irish lad that you’re dating, you can say that they’re serious if they prioritize you over their mammy. 
  • In dating an Irish man, you can tell that he likes you when he refers to you as the missus, moth, or ball and chain. Enjoy it; it’s close to being called ‘darling’ or ‘love.’ Even if his friends say he’s whipped, he won’t care.
  • Irish lads also want to drive the person they like. He’ll come to pick you up whenever you need him and curse at your driving when you return the favor.

4. They aren’t into small talks

“‘Tis fierce mild out there today,” is the only small talk you’ll ever get from an Irish person. But, don’t worry! They never usually ran out of things to talk about.

The Irish never, ever seem to lack for something to say, as evident from the banter in any pub in Ireland on any given night of the week. Also, there is no shortage of opinions, so if you want to debate politics, sport, history, travel, or anything else, feel free to do so. The gift of gab is real, after all.

5. Don’t be surprised if you get introduced to the whole family

Families are significant in Irish society, so if the relationship progresses and you meet their families, you might find them more critical than you anticipated.

They also tend to have a lot of relatives, so they plan for an uncle’s birthday every two months. Don’t forget about weddings either. They don’t expect you to remember all the names, so don’t be afraid or feel too pressured. 

6. Be prepared for their religious side

While there has been a lot of change in the country in recent years, religion remains an essential component of their life. Those in older generations especially hold this belief.

When you visit your parents, you may have to deal with a blow-up mattress because parents tend to worry about unmarried couples sleeping together. Are you celebrating Christmas with them this year? Most likely, you’ll have to attend Midnight Mass with them.

7. Their exes might appear out of nowhere

Since Ireland isn’t all that big, people usually know each other. Your exes will pile up on you as soon as you begin dating in one city or another in Ireland. The same can be said for the person that you are dating.

You might see their exes while walking down the street and in the pub. So, if you are someone who quickly tends to get jealous about the ex, then maybe dating an Irish is not something for you? 

8. They are for the long term

The most important thing you should know about dating an Irish person is that they are fiercely loyal once they fall in love. This country has a low divorce rate compared with many other European countries. Irish people at heart are hopeless romantics, no matter how much fun they have. 

Online Dating in Ireland

As anywhere in the world, online dating is very common in Ireland.

In-person dating, especially if you are just to ask someone out, isn’t for everyone. If you aren’t a conversation starter, you might find it hard to approach someone in the pub and tell them that you would like to know them better.

Also, upfront rejection is inevitable and can hurt your confidence. Luckily, online dating is becoming a thing in Ireland. 

Due to the pandemic over the last two years, online dating has also become prominent in Ireland. To win an Irish date, Tinder is the most popular option.

The Irish Independent and Ipsos MRBI report that 200,000 Irish people have a Tinder account, giving Tinder unprecedented popularity in Ireland. Every single day, 50,000 of them swipe through a smorgasbord of potential matches.

Although there are many dating apps out there, Bumble and Plenty of Fish are top choices for those who want options, but for now, Tinder seems to dominate the market.

Using online and app-based dating has changed how we interact with other people. Technology has allowed us to connect with others without causing discomfort or embarrassment.

Dating apps are commonplace for millennials, and it makes sense that a larger pool is more likely to lead to finding someone we’re compatible with.

In a sense, online dating platforms have been beneficial. Our immediate social circle has been removed from dating, so you can date as you please without facing judgment from your peers.

Women can indulge in casual sexual relations without fear of stigmatization as sluts if they so choose. Moreover, minorities and people with specific niche interests will always be able to find what they are looking for.

Apps like Grindr allow gay people living outside of large cities to meet each other without spending years expressing themselves in a heterosexual environment. Dating apps give you a lot of options.

Dating apps such as Tinder, for example, have become very popular. It can help you find casual partners to date. While a couple of larger sites, such as Match.com and OkCupid, are great places to find a serious relationship.

Dating in Ireland vs America

As mentioned, there is a significant difference between dating in Ireland and America. Here are the essential things that you should note:

Intention

There’s no denying that young Americans are among the busiest people in the world. You barely have time to date as you juggle work hours, projects, meetings, and the like.

One-night stands are typical in American cities like New York. Moreover, Tinder usually takes place at bars at 9 or 10 PM. The American dating pool is so large that people are less likely to settle down before seeing who else is out there.

Ireland moves at a little slower pace, and people here tend to look for something more serious. 

If an Irish guy digs you, he’s more likely to show you. There will be far fewer mind games on his part than that of the typical American male, which may result in an actual relationship much sooner.

Publicity

One casual aspect of dating in Ireland is the guy will invite you into his circle. Most men here are more likely to bring you home to meet the almighty Mam or siblings at first and will introduce you to his friends – if you have good banter, of course.

Perhaps it’s the constant movie plots surrounding the subject, but “meeting the parents” is a far more serious affair in the US- a sign of the “next step.”

Additionally, a typical American male would probably be reluctant to introduce you to his friends until you can declare your relationship. If he invites you out with his friends, he will probably ask you to bring your girlfriends with you.

The date

In Ireland, most dates take place during the day. You’ll grab a pint at the pub, but it’s a tiny portion of the options. An Ireland date involves walking, talking, adventures, and savoring the moment.

Perhaps you’ll attend a festival, or maybe you’ll take the dart out to lunch in a coastal village. In this city, dates are less typical – they’re more like hangouts.

As for US dates, they are typically late at night and in a bar. It seems a little too serious for an American first date to grab a meal without alcohol. Moreover, your date will be far more direct in America about expressing interest in taking the relationship further. When you don’t go home together, they may think that you don’t care.

Meeting the mother

The Irish mother has undoubtedly a powerful force, and how can we ignore that? Unfortunately, the opinion of a guy’s mother is essential here in Ireland. Even if they are genuinely kind and hospitable, Irish mothers may be wary or suspicious of your intentions – mainly if you are not Irish. 

It’s not common for you to meet the parents right away in the US, especially if it’s just a casual date. You are bound to meet them if you plan to take things to the next level. Say, marriage, for example.

Additionally, their opinions about you wouldn’t matter to their son or daughter. As long as you love each other, it’s the only thing that matters.

Anna

Anna is an experienced expat and writer. She has been living abroad for over 6 years.

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