In 2005 I accepted Irish Citizenship and am therefore an Irish National. However, a name like Wolfgang and a distinct accent leads Irish people to believe that I’m German or some other exotic species. I’ve also been mistaken for being South African.
Irish people believe that you’re of the Nationality of your country of birth. So once German, always German.
To be honest, I don’t care. I see myself as an Irishman with a German past, or as I like to put it “I was born German and will die Irish”.
Germans are quite well liked
Okay, I’m sure there are some people out there who can’t stand Germans, but generally speaking, Germans have quite a good standing in Irish society. There’s a very strange, but pleasant mutual respect and liking.
The Irish take it easy
Germans love the Irish sense of humour and the fact that they don’t take things too serious, including themselves. Germans are always on time, which one can’t say about the Irish. I for example tend to be on time whenever there is a time to be kept. My Irish friends joke about this timekeeping of mine with the words “why are you always on time, there’s nobody there anyway?”.
Germans who have been living in Ireland long enough are often able to adapt to this way of looking at life.
German’s sense of humour
Irish people on the other hand love German efficiency and know that they can rely on their German counterparts. Irish people love putting on a German accent to make fun of Germans and they also love to ridicule their “missing sense of humour”.
As a “former German” I have to say that Germans do have a sense of humour. Germans love to laugh. I guess it’s the awkward German accent which makes Germans sound somewhat dry, but anyone who knows Germans or has lived in Germany knows that humour is very important to Germans.
Ireland is not Britain
Don’t mention the war
I’ve lived for quite a few years in the UK. Over there, people made sure to mention world war 2, or the emergency as the Irish like to call it, at every given opportunity. Well, this was in the 80s, maybe things have changed, but people of all generations picked up on this topic. It was kind of annoying. Germans are very much aware of their parent’s or grandparent’s past and do take this part of their vast history serious. Proper intelligent conversations about this stuff is important to Germans – they wouldn’t have an issue with it. It’s just this constant uninformed “going on” about this, which is annoying in Britain.
In all the years I have lived in Ireland, I’ve once been approached nastily about the fascist time of Germany and this one person happened to be British.
Irish people don’t go down this road. Not generally, anyway.
Food in Ireland
From a German perspective, the Irish have a great kitchen. The quality which is served in Ireland is next to none. Of course, you can get bad food, if you like to eat junk – but hey, where don’t you get that?
Irish food is, for German taste buds, under-spiced. “Not enough salt” is what my German clients tend to say to me.
On the other hand, German food can be very salty.
The reason – the Irish generally don’t salt their food when cooking, but when eating. Whereas Germans can be quite heavy-handed with the salt when cooking.
Great quality, but expensive
The quality of Irish food has not always been as outstanding as it is now. Over the last 15 years or so, quality and variety moved in onto the Irish menu and has remained ever since.
However, eating out is extremely expensive, compared to Germany.
I would like to invite other Germans (or people from other countries) to tell us what it is like for you in Ireland. I would also love to hear from Irish people living in Germany to share their experience.
Great article. Thank you. I have both Irish (my Dad) and German (my Mom) heritage. I would agree with Wolfgang and his comments.
I definitely agree with the nationality part. I would never go live in Germany and consider myself German even after gaining citizenship. I wouldn’t consider you Irish either. t think it’s absurd to just “give up your identity” so easily.
I think you are correct that most Irish people have a deep sense of respect for Germans. I agree that Germans do love a laugh, however the sarcasm that is easily understood in UK/France/Ireland is not as easily understood by Germans (unless it is very obvious). I personally think it is because Germans are very trustworthy people in general. They expect the truth and get confused when people are being sarcastic. Irish/British/French/Aussies etc don’t expect the truth and read between the lines a lot more. We don’t expect things to make sense in the same way I think Germans do (for historical reasons perhaps).
Irish people in general would value musical ability very highly and Germany has produced some of the world’s finest composers so there is an admiration on that front also (apart from engineering/philospophy/literature).
I agree re Irish food. I think it is second to none.
It was funny to see that you picked up on the “bye bye bye” on the phone! I wouldn’t consider the German accent awkward. Some of us find it very appealing (authoritative and clear). Germans tend to have a much better standard of English than most Europeans. We love mimicking all accents anyhow – even our own variations – am sure you’re well aware of that 🙂
Anyhow, I wouldn’t worry about the past. It’s something I notice with Germans. Guilt-tripped for WW2. I think it’s overdone. The common man (no matter what nationality) loses out in war. There are only a select few who ever prosper in war and who actively agitate for war.
Thanks a million for your thoughts. I very much appreciate your input.
I do, however, think that you got that “German humour” bit wrong. Germans do love sarcasm and Germans also understand that humour may have to do with twisting the truth.
Also, the nationality bit is a real challenge. It can of course not be denied, that we are what we are and if we were born Irish, French or German, then that’s what we are. It does get a little bit complicated so, when you’ve been living a vast amount of time in a country, take on the host-nation’s citizenship and hold the host-nation’s passport.
When I’m abroad and I should get into trouble, it’s the Irish, not the German, Embassy who would look after my interests. I enter Germany with my Irish passport, then I’m in the eyes of German law, Irish and not German. I have no right to vote in German national elections. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to be without my Irish citizenship, because it’s Ireland where I live and where I will most probably be buried. It’s here where I want to have all the rights and duties of a citizen. Do you get it? It’s a very difficult topic, especially if you’re affected yourself.
As far as I am concerned, I’m as German as I am Irish. I was born in Germany, lived in Australia, UK, Japan, Sri Lanka etc and ended up in Ireland. I hold an Irish passport and grow along with Ireland. I am Irish.
By the way, how do you know about my “bye bye bye” habit? Do you actually know me?
Thanks again for your great input.
All the Best,
I live in Donegal Ireland I love Germans I think you guys were the good guys in the war. Irish don’t trust the British or the Jews that’s why Germans get a good time here in fact I wish Germany won I believe they were the saviours of europe. In school in Ireland they teach us that Germans sent Ireland guns during the Irish war of independence and I know Hitler made movies about how the English treated the irish . Hitler was a good god fearing man like us Irish who was just annoyed by how the allies treated the Germans after world war one at the treaty of Versaille and because German was so poor and the reason they enter led Poland was because that land used to belong to Germany and it was stolen by polish and Hitler entered because they were killing all the native German people.