Guinness in Context

The only acceptable way to end off our first week in Ireland is at the Guinness Storehouse. I am so glad we were able to get a chance to visit and further understand the prominence of Guinness in Ireland. It is not just a popular product created in Ireland but has become a staple of their culture and identity. Because of this, a lot of their advertising reflects the Irish culture of community and relationships. One advertisement that we saw today was a touching representation of the community coming together, singing “Can’t Take My Eyes off You,” and drinking Guinness in a pub. Rather than advertising the beer as a product that they want consumers to buy, they showcase the meaning behind it and the relationships that it creates. Irish culture is very relationship based and the ads that we saw go hand-in-hand with this.

The experience at Guinness was very much a tourist attraction, but as I have continued to explore Dublin from more of a local perspective, I have noticed more of the cultural differences between us and them. This is mainly seen in the restaurants and pubs that we have visited. Given that we come from a low context culture, one that provides all the information we could need to go about a situation, I have found a big difference in Ireland’s low context culture. We often walk into restaurants and are unsure whether we seat ourselves, where we order, and how we pay. It often seems like it is up to us, the customer, to decide when we want to order and inform the staff rather than the waiter coming in to check on us. I also have felt awkward or obnoxious asking questions because I seem like I am imposing. As Americans, we have certain structures and procedures that we follow in order to get something done, even something as simple as eating dinner, but they are much less structured and more go-with-the-flow here and that has been difficult to adjust to. I am curious to see if when we travel to the more rural towns this weekend if we will notice even more of a cultural difference since Dublin is still very much a tourist spot and full of many different cultures.  

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