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Last-modified: 23 Jul 98

Frequently Asked Questions on soc.culture.irish with answers. Send corrections, suggestions, additions, and other feedback to The FAQ maintainer.

Contents of Part 8

  1. I'm considering looking for a job in Ireland. Any hints?
  2. Where can I get information about moving back to Ireland?
  3. How do I apply for Irish citizenship?
  4. Do I qualify for Irish citizenship if my great-grandparent was Irish?
  5. Which Irish embassy or consulate should I contact?
  6. I'm an American student: can I get a working visa?
  7. I'm looking for XXX from Ireland: how can I reach him/her?
  8. Who are the black Irish and the shanty Irish?
  9. Who are the Scotch-Irish?
  10. How do I pronounce "celt" and "celtic"?
  11. What's the difference between clover and shamrock?
  12. Where can I order Irish turf in the U.S.?
  13. What are Claddagh rings?

1) I'm considering looking for a job in Ireland. Any hints?

The employment market in the Republic of Ireland has improved markedly in the last couple of years. There are good jobs to be had for people with appropriate experience, particularly sales/marketing, customer support and technical/engineering. People with fluency in one or more European languages combined with other skills are particularly in demand.

The best place to look are Friday's Irish Times (in the Business Supplement) or the Sunday Independent. In a recent Friday edition of the Times (10/Jan/97) there were no fewer than sixteen pages of recruitment ads.

There are a number of websites of interest, for example


There's also a jobs fair every Christmas called the `High Skills Pool', which has taken place in Dublin for the past couple of years. They are partly funded by the IDA and will give you information on companies in Ireland for free if you have any queries. You can also get an information pack on moving back to Ireland, e.g. what the tax rate is, etc.

2) Where can I get information about moving back to Ireland?

The "Irish Emigrant" newsletter has a fairly comprehensive guide on the web at


called "Living and Working in Ireland".

Another guide can be found at http://www.amireland.com/ireland/

3) How do I apply for Irish citizenship?

Anyone who has a parent or grandparent born in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland can get an Irish passport by applying to your local embassy or consulate. If you are considering applying for Irish citizenship, you should in any case contact the nearest Irish diplomatic mission to make sure you get accurate and up-to-date information.

You need to have the following :-

i) For the Irish grandparent, birth certificate and marriage license to whoever was the other grandparent of the applicant.

ii) For the parent (child of the Irish grandparent) birth certificate and marriage license to your other parent.

iii) For you: birth certificate

ALL of the above documents must have complete details that prove the connection. In other words, the birth certificate must show the names, dates of birth and places of birth of both your parents, so that they can be conclusively identified to be the same person mentioned on the marriage license and their own birth certificate. Irish documents seem to include these details automatically, but in the U.S., you may have to contact the Vital Statistics Bureau in the state of birth to get an official copy containing more details.

ALL of the documents must be official, i.e., must bear the raised stamp of the issuing agency.

You have to fill out forms, attach photographs and have it all witnessed, not by a notary public, but by a "clergyman, high school principal, lawyer or bank manager".

It costs about $160 if you are claiming through your parent(s), in addition to the cost of getting copies of the documents. If you are claiming citizenship based on your grandparent(s) then you need to pay $270 for Registration of Foreign Birth.

There's about a one-year backlog in processing applications.

4) Do I qualify for Irish citizenship if my great-grandparent was Irish?

No, a great-grandparent is too distant a relation for you to qualify. Check with an Irish embassy or consulate for the definitive word on this.

5) Which Irish embassy or consulate should I contact?

If you're in the States, you can choose one of the following.

	Embassy of Ireland
	2234 Massachusetts Ave.
	Washington D.C. 20008
	tel. (202) 462-3939
	fax. (202) 232-5993

	Consulate General of Ireland
	535 Boylston Street
	Boston MA 02116
	tel. (617) 267-9330
	fax. (617) 267-6375

	Consulate General of Ireland
	400 North Michigan Ave. #911
	Chicago, IL 60611
	tel. (312) 337-1868
	fax. (312) 337-1954

	Consulate General of Ireland
	44 Montgomery Street, Suite 3830
	San Francisco  CA  94104
	tel. (415) 392-4214
	fax. (415) 392-0885  

If you live elsewhere, you could try looking at http://www.irlgov.ie/iveagh/foreignaffairs/embassy/index.html (if they ever get around to finishing their "update").

6) I'm an American student: can I get a working visa?

It is possible to get a work visa for 6 months. But be warned: although the market has improved during the last couple of years, jobs are usually not as easy to come by as in the States! Ireland & Britain operate exchange schemes whereby Irish & British students can work in the USA for up to six months on J-1 visas and USA students can work in Ireland or Britain.

Not surprisingly, service industries are probably your best bet. There is a fair demand for waiters/waitresses during the summer tourist season. Note that pubs usually require previous experience before they'll hire you to tend the bar. There are other jobs to be had but they are in niche areas. Whatever you look for, the best hunting strategy is often to just tramp from door to door.

Good preparation and timing are essential. In particular, if you need accommodation, it's often best to look for it after Irish students end their exams (which may be several weeks after you do). Contact an Irish consulate or BUNAC for more information.

7) I'm looking for XXX from Ireland: how can I reach him/her?

There are better approaches to finding someone than asking on soc.culture.irish. If you have access to the Web, you might look at http://www.four11.com/ (411 is what you dial in the States to get directory inquiries -- this site claims to provide a similar service). If you think the person you're looking has posted messages to Usenet, you could try the Usenet-addresses server at rtfm.mit.edu. Send an e-mail message to "mail-server@rtfm.mit.edu" with "send usenet-addresses/help" in the body of the message for details. You could also search for articles written by them on AltaVista (http://www.altavista.digital.com/) (again, if you have access to the Web).

You are not likely to be able to find someone using the Net if they don't use the Net themselves. The chances that someone reading soc.culture.irish knows them is vanishingly small.

8) Who are the black Irish and the shanty Irish?

This question has come up fairly regularly on the newsgroup but has never been resolved definitively. Neither "black" or "shanty" are used much in Ireland. They seem to be mainly used in America.

"Shanty Irish" is used to describe the poorest of the poor Irish immigrants, the kind who ended up in shanty town (the origin of the word "shanty" is not known, but it might come from the Irish "sean tí", meaning "old house"). Today it's a derogatory term for poor people of Irish descent. The opposite of "shanty Irish" is apparently "lace-curtain Irish" -- these being the people with more money and respectability.

"Black Irish" is often taken to mean Irish people with dark hair and eyes. One romantic story is that they are the descendants of shipwrecked sailors of the Spanish Armada. Unfortunately for the story, it is very unlikely that enough of the sailors survived for their genes to be in the population visible today. A variation on this theme says they are descended from Spanish Moors who traded with people on the west coast of Ireland. Another explanation is that it's common in Irish to give people nicknames based on their hair, such as Seamus dubh and "black Irish" is just a carryover of this into English. Some people say that the "black Irish" were the original inhabitants of the island and all the rest were just blow-ins.

One other interpretation is that "black Irish" refers to the descendants of Irish slaves taken to the Caribbean island of Montserrat during Cromwell's time. The descendants of these slaves and black slaves from Africa live there to this day. The surprising thing is that they still speak with an Irish accent!

9) Who are the Scotch-Irish?

A majority of Irish people who emigrated to America in the 18th century were Protestants from Ulster. Most of these, in turn, were descendants of settlers brought in from Scotland from the 17th century during the so called plantation of Ulster. (Being Protestant, it was believed they would prove more loyal than the troublesome Irish.) "Scotch-Irish" usually refers to those emigrants or to their descendants. (Note that most Scots do not like being called "Scotch" nowadays, because this word is usually used for whisky from Scotland.)

10) How do I pronounce "celt" and "celtic"?

The "c" at the start of "celtic" can be pronounced soft, like an "s", or hard, like a "k". The most common convention is to always pronounce it with a hard "c" ("keltic") except when using it as a proper noun (e.g. Celtic Football Club, Boston Celtics, The Anglo-Celt newspaper).

11) What's the difference between clover and shamrock?

Short answer: shamrock is smaller than clover.

Long answer: shamrock and clover are both used to refer to species of trefoil (genus Trifolium, from the Latin meaning "having three leaves"). Clover is used for large species and shamrock for small species. Shamrock, like clover, is common in Europe, not just in Ireland. [Answer blatantly cogged from Des Higgins, resident newsgroup expert on the subject.]

12) Where can I order Irish turf in the U.S.?

Bord na Móna are offering turf (baled briquettes and wicker baskets of sod turf) for delivery anywhere in the 48 contiguous states. They can be contacted by

phone (toll-free): 1-888 843 0924
or e-mail: turf@bnm.ie

To order, you need your full address (including ZIP code). Currently, credit cards are the only form of payment accepted.

13) What are Claddagh rings?

There are many stories about the Claddagh ring. Claddagh itself refers to a small fishing village just near Galway city. The Claddagh ring supposedly originated in this area. The ring has a design of a heart being encircled by a pair of hands with a crown above the heart.

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