Ten Questions About Irish Culture

If we look carefully, we can see the effects of history in the culture all around us. Can you think of any historical reasons for the following things that you might notice in Ireland today?

Read through the questions and then click the link below to see some suggested answers. 


1. If you look at a food menu in an Irish pub or restaurant, you’ll see lots of dishes with potatoes… Historically, why have potatoes been so important in the Irish diet?

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Senior Touch Championships – Fears, Tears, Beers & Ten Years

Fears

Final. Sunday, October 10th. Coimbra, Portugal

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7.30am Wake Up

All the signifiers of the day of big finals are here, all so familiar and still stressful. The stiff, aching muscles, the soreness in all my body from the previous two days tournament. The tight shoulders after a restless night’s sleep. I wish I’d slept more but I can’t change that now. The feeling of anxiety in my stomach. A quiet breakfast, nodding to people, nervous joking among some of the players. I keep my head down in my muesli, in my thoughts.

A lot goes back for me to the Senior Mixed Final in 2016. The start of the bad times. Continue reading

Endgames, Origin Stories & Superheroes Inside Us: World Cup 2019 Malaysia in Review

From Infinity Gauntlets…

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With the abruptness of a Thanos finger snap, everything is reset and all the World Cup planning and hopes and thinking is done.

To Westeros…

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Irish Romance

ROMANCE AROUND THE WORLD

What countries do you think are being talked about in the five descriptions below? Match the five countries to their romantic style.

IrelandSweden – France – South KoreaArgentina

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  1. ‘Romance here is all about elegance and style. We talk deeply about love and romance, usually accompanied by good food and wine.’
  2. ‘People are passionate, hot-blooded and sensual. This is expressed in our typical dance as well as our relationships.’
  3. ‘Equality is important in relationships. Men and women adopt non-traditional gender roles. Women here are independent and usually work, while men also share the housework.’
  4. ‘Our approach to romance tends to be informal and easy-going. We’re not into melodramas. There lots of conversation and fun and then let’s see what happens from there.’
  5. ‘Couples are polite and respectful to each other and are quite traditional. Families have a big influence on your choice of partner. Couples often wear cute matching t-shirts and hats.’

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Really Useful Words – ‘Just’ & ‘Actually’

I ACTUALLY JUST ATE, THANKS.

There are certain words that are used very frequently by native English speakers. Their meaning is not always 100% clear, and sometimes they have more than one meaning, but they are very useful and can make a big difference in making your English sound more natural and authentic.   

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‘Just’ and ‘actually’ are two words that do not always have exact meanings that you will find in your dictionary. They both have very useful and sometimes varied functions. They can be used in subtle ways to connect and express attitude about things we say or write.

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Visual Ireland – Fashion

THE CULTURE OF CLOTHES

In a previous blog, we saw how the Tara Brooch and Gleninsheen Collar were worn to show social status in ancient Irish society. In the modern world, what we wear also communicates information about who we are and our place in society.

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Throughout the world, clothing and image can have multiple functions. Apart from providing protection from the elements, clothes in all cultures are used to communicate messages such as social status, intentions or belonging to a certain group. Clothes are also worn for modesty (the parts of the body that must be covered may vary around the world.) We dress differently for business and recreation.

Do you think a lot about what you wear? What do you think your look communicates about you?

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Visual Ireland – Architecture

CITIES

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What is your favourite city in the world?

Here are the top ten cities to live in, according to Forbes magazine,  in 2021: 

  1. San Francisco, USA
  2. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  3. Manchester, England
  4. Copenhagen, Denmark
  5. New York City, USA
  6. Montreal, Canada
  7. Prague, Czech Republic
  8. Tel Aviv, Israel
  9. Porto, Portugal
  10. Tokyo, Japan

Have you been to any of these cities? Do you agree that they are good places to live?

Cities may rank high as good cities to live in for their design and planning because of good infrastructure and facilities, clean public spaces, good public transport systems, the ease of getting out of the city to the countryside, good traffic management, green areas and location.

Do you think that some cities are better to visit than to live in? 

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Visual Ireland – Ancient Art

VISUAL SYMBOLS

Do you have any possessions – a phone, a bag, a piece of furniture etc. – that you’ve personalised? 

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Throughout human history, decorating our property (or ourselves) has been a way to enrich our identity, to make our mark in the world. We often decorate objects with symbols that represent our character or our beliefs, as a way of advertising who we are.

What visual symbols would you most associate with Ireland? Continue reading

Vocabulary – Word Transformations

EXPANDING VOCABULARY

One of the simplest and quickest ways to expand your vocabulary in English is learning some of the rules of changing words from one form to another: from nouns into adjectives, into verbs and back again.

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One of the easiest methods of doing this is by adding appropriate suffixes to the end of the root word to form either a noun, a verb or an adjective. Look at these examples: 

  • power (noun) changes to powerful or powerless (adjectives)
    -ful and -less are typical adjective endings. 
  • beautiful (adjective) changes to beautify (verb) 
    -ify is a typical verb ending. 
  • to educate (verb) changes to education (noun)
    -ation (or -ion) is a typical noun ending.

Read more of the rules and patterns of adjective, noun and verb suffixes below. 

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Sound like a native English speaker – ‘Linking Sounds’

Do you remember that time when Ada and Andy ran in the Dublin marathon?

Try reading the sentence. Can you pronounce it in one sound, without any pauses?

When native speakers talk, they don’t pause between words. They pronounce whole phrases and even sentences as one continuous sound. If you want to speak English more fluently and sound more natural, you should try to do this too. But how?

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The key is ‘linking’. When we say sentences in English, words are linked or connected to each other, so that two words are pronounced together.

For example:

  • that time – we only pronounce one t and the two words join together.
  • when Ada – the n and the A(da) join so it becomes one word sound.

Read more to learn about these different ways to link words. Continue reading

Past Simple vs Past Continuous

Past simple and past continuous are two of the most common tenses that English students will use when starting to use the language. When we tell stories, say what we did for the weekend, when we describe any events that happened in the past, these are the main two forms that we will use. 

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Here are the rules and the differences.

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Business Culture Around The World

Do you think it’s important to understand different cultures if you are doing business? 

Knowing how to behave and not to behave in a business context in different countries and cultures can be extremely important. Ideas of good manners and politeness can differ from country to country and knowing how to handle yourself when dealing with international clients can go a long way towards ensuring business success and making sure you don’t unintentionally offend anyone!

Should you shake hands, bow when you first meet a client or business partner, make lots of eye contact, even smile? Should you bring a gift to a business meeting?  

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Really Useful Words – ‘Get’

To get is a very commonly-used and useful verb in English and it has got many different uses and meanings. 

Here are some common examples:
1. to receive – Did you get my email?

2. to obtain – Where did you get this information?

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