As an Irish native, a keen traveller and an employee in the travel industry it's safe to say I meet a lot of people. For anyone who has ever travelled you'll be familiar with the routine questions; What do you do? How long have you been travelling? Where are you from? From what I've gathered the majority of people who've been to Ireland freakin' loved it. But they were surprised and almost saddened that it didn't fully live up to it's romantic Celtic reputation. So if you're planning to touch down on the Emerald Isle soon here's 33 things you'll be surprised to learn about Ireland...

33. We Don't All Have That "Top-of-the-morning-to-ya" Accent



From the rough North Dublin accent to the thick Kerry accent you may be baffled by the number of different accents that can exist on this tiny island. But it's true, we don't greet each other between the hours of midnight and noon with "top of the morning to ya". But we will greet in another in just as friendly manner because the Irish are generally social and polite people.

32. Leprechauns Unfortunately Don't, and Never Have Existed


Sorry guys but Leprechauns don't exist. Although we do enjoy telling foreigners that they do for the laugh. But in all seriousness Leprechauns are a huge part of Irish folklore, something we have plenty of, if you want to fully indulge in the Leprechaun culture you need to check out The National Leprechaun Museum in Dublin.

31. But We Do Have A Wee Fear of the Fairies



Now Leprechauns may be Ireland's most famous characters, but it's the fairies we actually fear.You see Leprechauns were known for being mischievous little feckers, but fairies are arseholes. They'd steal your babies, ruin your crops and poison your livestock. It's something we grew up being told as children, be good or the fairies will take you...

30. But the 40 Shades of Green Nickname Lives Up to the Name

49 shades of green

I bet you never even knew that many shades of green could exist in one place. But it's true, Ireland's natural side is 100% stunning. Take a trip anywhere outside of Dublin and you'll soon see what all the fuss is about.

29. We All Don't Drink Guinness



It's not a crime inside Ireland to not drink Guinness, and although it's seen as an old man's drink, we are actually the 4th largest lager drinking country in the world #themoreyouknow. However, if you are a Guinness drinker you'll be saddened to know that you literally can't get a proper pint of the black stuff off the island. But there is a huge craft beer revolution happening in Dublin if you're more a fan delicious home-brewed beer!

28. Nightclubs Aren't A Big Thing


Working as a pub crawl guide in Dublin I get asked a lot about the best nightclubs in town. My response? Dublin isn't really a night-club kind of city. There is a handful of places that serve the function of a nightclub, but really not only Dublin but Ireland as a whole has more of a bar culture. The Irish like going out for a few pints, a good chat and a cheeky bop.

27. We Really Are Happy to Help, But You May Have to Decipher Our Over-Informative Directions



The Irish friendliness may be mistaken for our overwhelming need to know why you seem so lost and the desire to help you. However, we are awful at giving directions. Your hostel may be straight down the road on the right, but we can't say that without mentioning several pubs, giving recommendations on where to eat, a story about our mate's uncle's cousin's mate making a fool out of himself there at some distant relative's Christening, and a monologue on how the country is in an awful state.

26. The Irish Certainly Do Have the Gift of the Gob



Have you heard the phrase "They can talk for Ireland"? It's a way of saying someone cannot stop talking. Personally I never realised how much Irish people can talk until I started traveling and found myself talking for half an hour straight without anyone interrupting me. I find this with other Irish people abroad too. It's almost like a sweet relief because we can talk as much and as fast as we want to.

25. We Have Our Own Language



If you can learn the sentence "An bhfuil cead agam dul go dti an leithreas?" before coming to Ireland you'll be welcomed into any group of Irish folk instantly. It means "Can I go to the bathroom", and is the one sentence every single Irish person knows from school. Ask any native to teach you some sayings, they'll be delighted to fill you in on some local sayings!

24. And A Butt Load of Idioms


Although we speak English we have our own way of speaking. "C'mere to me, do ya see yer wan over there throwing shapes like she bleedin' Beyonce" is a perfectly viable sentence in Ireland. We do have quite a bit of our own slang, don't be shy about asking us what the hell we're on about. we understand you may have no idea what we're talking about.

23. Supermacs Will be Your New BFF


Supermacs is Ireland's version of McDonalds or Burger King. What makes it better than it's international competitors? Well, it just doesn't have that Irish touch. You can find Supermacs spotted all over Ireland. Make sure you stop in for some traditional garlic cheese chips. Yum.

22. But We Also Freakin' Love Burritos


We'll never deny our love of spuds, but burritos have fast become the key to our hearts. There are a bunch of wonderful burrito bars spotted all over Dublin and Galway such as Boojum, Tolteca, Burritos & Blues to name a few.

21. You May Become the Butt of Joke, But That Means We Like You


We like to make fun of each other a lot. It doesn't mean that we don't like one another, but in fact it's mean we actually like the particular person our jokes are being aimed at. So if an Irish person makes fun of you, don't be afraid to make a joke back. We'll respect that.

20. The Craic Is Unlimited


There are approximately 7,500 pubs in Ireland, that's a lot of potential fun. It's understandable to feel a little daunted when you first arrive in Ireland to find a great place with a good atmosphere and a decent pint. But fear not! You can find loads of good places to have a pint (outside the touristy areas) with HostelCulture's Guide to the best pubs in Dublin or you can check out a pub crawl if you want to meet people from all over the world and locals at the same time!

19. And The Food Is Unreal




Ireland has the best goddamn food in the world. We may not have a huge array of cuisine but the quality of our food is top notch! We don't really believe in organic foods because our food has always been organic and homegrown. Which makes it very hard to find a bad plate of food in this country.

18. We Have Some of The Best Whiskey In The World

Irish Whiskey Museum

 And it ain't just about Jameson. If you're a bit of a whiskey-connoisseur or just enjoy the odd glass of it check out the Irish Whiskey Museum to learn some more about how this delicious sauce is made, or just enjoy the free samples ;).

17. The Amount of History on this Tiny Island Will Astonish

irish history

Druids, Vikings, the English, we had a bit of everything  in the past. For such a small island off the coast of Europe we sure had a lot going on. If you want a good summary of the past few thousand years of Irish history, along with some local insights and hilarious stories you should take a free tour, it's not only cost-effective but great if you're only in town for a few days.

16. You'll Probably Be A bit Taken A Back by Irish Superstition

irish superstitions

We have a superstition with just about everything. From the colour of the sky to walking backwards around churches. It's comes from our fairly long-standing heritage of being suspicious of just about anything.

15. You May Not Like the Cold & The Rain


And you wonder why our grass is so green...

14. But We've Got Enchanting Castles


Yeah we got a butt load of castles, ancient monasteries, old churches...

13. Ancient Ruins



This is Newgrange it's around 3200 BC, older than both the Pyramids and Stonehenge! Take that history!

12. Beautiful Waterfalls


Torc Waterall

 The one pictured above is Torc waterfall, located in Co.Kerry. It's just one of the hundreds of beautiful waterfalls located around Ireland.

11. Insatiable Beaches

 Irish beach

 As an island we have a load beautiful sandy beaches to explore. We have some of the best waves in the world for surfing on the west coast of the country. Not into surfing? Take a pony trek along the coastline or just chill out and make some sick sandcastles.

10. Basically an Endless Array of Awesome Scenery

 Croagh Patrick

That we do. Well only if you're into the beauty of nature and all that...

9. And Sheep, So Many Sheep



 They're feckin everywhere and you'll love it!

8. For All Father Ted Fans, There Is In Fact A Ted Fest!


 For anyone unaware of the 'Father Ted' television series I highly recommend you get on that. It's better than most of the stuff you'll find on Netflix!

7. There's A Lot of Accents For One Island



 Look at the graph. Memorise it...

6. The Irish Are Always Up For A Laugh

Galway Wit

This is true. We're terribly guilty of going for a pint and ending up on three day bender. We love to have a laugh and any excuse to do so is very tempting for us. It's probably why we have more holidays than any other nation!

5. Everything Is Grand, Like...


Grand is our favourite word. It doesn't mean spectacular on a massive scale, it just means it means it's all good, don't worry about it, that will suffice. You'll find yourself saying it after a few days on the island.

4. Dublin's Vibrant Atmosphere May Capture You

Dame Lane

Live music, great bars, awesome pubs, good craic everywhere!

3. Galway Is Arguably the Best to Party


People do say that the best craic is in Galway, but as a Dubliner I'll never agree with that ;)

2. But It's Really Worth Checking Out the Rest of the Country


Again, Ireland is just a stunning country!

1. You'll Find Yourself Coming Back For More

Beautiful Ireland

I have not met one person who has visited Ireland with no plans never to return to the Emerald Isle. So what are you waiting for? Come join in the craic, we look forward to seeing you!

By Catherine Munnelly.