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Racial attitudes/acceptance in rural Ireland?

Racial attitudes/acceptance in rural Ireland?

Old Feb 21st, 2003, 08:56 PM
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Racial attitudes/acceptance in rural Ireland?

I'm contemplating an 8 day trip to Ireland with my girlfriend. We're late 40's, fairly conservative in appearance and both possessed of a mannerly, easygoing temperament. She is African-American and I'm Caucasian (of Irish descent). We've traveled together before and found it easy to meet people and generally get along well with folks we meet from all walks and stations of life.

We're looking at a day or two in Dublin and the balance of trip to be a drive out to the western coast and through smaller, more rural villages. Just wishing to enjoy the landscape and culture and hoping to stay in bed and breakfast type establishments along the way.

I've done a bit of nosing around on the Web and although I've found a few references to isolated racial incidents in larger cities (quite possibly due in part to resentment of immigrants in an economy where jobs were tight), I can find no useful information on rural areas. I'm guessing that folks of color are probably not seen too frequently in amny rural areas and small towns. She has worked and lived in a predominately white environment for many years and is comfortabel with the fact that she may be the only person of colr on many of the places we travel. Likewise, I'm completely comfortable with being half of an interracial couple.

The real question is this: will we get a cool reception in the type of areas I'm expressing an interest in visiting?

P.S. - I'm looking for constructive comments - have no interest in having the thread go off on a tangent - thanks in advance!
Owen_ONeill is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2003, 09:02 PM
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I have had trouble in Columbia South Carolina USA, but not in Ireland. However, this is not to say that there is no racism in Ireland. While in Ireland, I did not try to apply for a job or tell a father that I was to marry her daughter.

When travelling with my brother in the UK, an innkeeper thought we were gay and treated us poorly. He did not know of his mistake until the day next.

In conclusion, I think it is difficult to predict with certainty whether you will be poorly treated. Some people may stare. Most innkeepers will take your money. You do not need others' approval as you are already a couple.
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Old Feb 21st, 2003, 09:21 PM
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We were in Ireland this summer. Many diverse people nowadays. I am sure you will have NO trouble. Irish are pretty friendly.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2003, 02:15 AM
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Owen,
If anyone can give you an answer, Pat can. Go to http://www.irelandexpert.com/
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Old Feb 22nd, 2003, 02:51 AM
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I would be very surprised if you encountered any racial prejudice. What is more likely is a curious look, as blacks are a rare sight in rural parts. Usually there's no hostility, and a smile from you will almost certainly elicit a smile in return. There has been some incidence of racial tension in parts of Dublin, where there's resentment towards asylum seekers and recent immigrants, but it's a very cosmopolitan place and as visitors you should be ok.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2003, 05:33 AM
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Thanks to all for the input. It sounds as though we'll do just fine - thanks!
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Old Feb 22nd, 2003, 08:27 AM
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Owen,

Like a good many countries in the EU, Ireland is struggling - both socially and politically - with the recent influx of refugees trying to make a new life for themselves. This is a particularly sensitive subject in Ireland, given the country's history of immigration. Some Irish people, not surprisingly, believe their government has an special obligation to welcome refugees. Needless to say, it's an issue of some importance in today's Ireland.

As stated by Alec, inner-city Dublin has been the background for some recent racial tensions concerning immigrants and asylum seekers. However, as today's immigrants to Ireland move beyond urban areas, the issue of asylum seekers is one that is no longer limited to Dublin.

That said, you shouldn't have any problems touring around Ireland. By most accounts, the Ireland of today, as regards racial attitudes, is a generally tolerant and forward-looking place. Indeed, I like to believe there's much to the idea, as stated by Alec, that "a smile from you will almost certainly elicit a smile in return."

Best of luck.


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Old Feb 22nd, 2003, 08:54 AM
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David - we smile a lot... both by nature and due to the fact that we're madly, wildly in love and always happy to be spending time together. I believe it's time for me to go ahead and lock in some airline tix (ouch - priuces have been going up by the day!).
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Old Feb 22nd, 2003, 09:40 AM
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You should be absolutely fine! A smile indeed is a universal passport in Ireland... I've rarely encountered anyone there that doesn't return one automatically.

Racially, you shouldn't have much of a problem. They are used to European tourists, many of which have very diverse racial backgrounds. When I was there, I shared a large B&B with a group of Italian bikers... who were of Algerian descent... who spoke French and Italian, but no english DD (they said they go there every year).

Enjoy the wonderful country that Ireland is

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Old Feb 22nd, 2003, 11:54 AM
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Owen...
I'm an American Indian, so a kind of "unidentifiable brown person." We visited Co. Antrim in NI and then Donegal, Cavan and Dublin. Didn't have any problems. I smiled about your description of being "wildly in love." How wonderful! My husband and I took our first European trip together in our 20th anniversary year. We found that we are still wildly in love. Have a grand time!
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