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.