Culture and Book Reviews

Irish Culture: Not just for Tourists

That’s only for tourists. If ever a phrase could sum up my childhood it would be that. Requests to visit the Beehive Huts and Gallarus Oratory on the Dingle peninsula, circumnavigate the Ring of Kerry and visit Muckross House were all met with this firm and final phrase. Did my elders really believe that the attractions of my native county of Kerry were not meant to be seen by the natives? Or was it simply a polite way of saying no?

Logistically, fitting all of us into a Ford Cortina was not an ergonomic impossibility – they were spacious cars. But it did contravene road traffic legislation. And so in the interests of the law, all got left behind and none of us got to see our heritage gems until we flew the nest with our own wheels.


The Cambridge Dictionary defines culture as:

the way of life of a particular people, especially as shown in their ordinary behaviour and habits, their attitudes toward each other.  


the arts of describing, showing, or performing that represent the traditions or the way of life of a particular people or group; literature, art, music, dance, theater, etc.

That is a wide ranging definition encompassing group identity and its corresponding behaviour/expression, and artistic achievement. I use the term culture regularly in this travel blog and, for the most part, I’m referring to the creative arts (i.e. books, music etc).


Sometimes in Ireland, I encounter a lack of culture in experiencing our culture. If we don’t partake and celebrate in our own culture then we are merely showing others a false construct of ourselves. Not only is our culture for us, it is us.

Thankfully, this mentality has changed. Our arts industry is vibrant with some people making a healthy living from it. We’re appreciating how important and extensive our food history and industry is. When our guard is down, we sprinkle our speech with hilarious slang words and phrases. But we still haven’t figured out what it means to be Irish!

Indigenous arts and culture are a key part of the tourism industry. But culture is not just for tourists. Culture is for everyone, everywhere. And that’s why cultural topics play a huge part of this travel blog.

Irish Culture

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