Prior to studying abroad I have never gave any thought about Ireland. The only thing I knew about Ireland was St.Patrick’s day, and that it was apart of the United Kingdom from the media. Coming to the country I learned a lot about the country history, culture and people.
The Irish Culture is very unique with a deep history. In the media in America, Irish people are just seen as people with accents The media never displayed anything else. While in Belfast we took a cab tour, and learned about the tension between the Catholics and Protestants. I never knew it was such tension between the two, as well violent one where people have lost their lives. When we went to visit the sites, I did not expect to learn so much. The thing that surprised me the most is the fact that the history is not discussed much within the media.The division was very eye opening, but no matter what part of Ireland you went to all of the people shared similar customs. I noticed drinking is more of a lifestyle, compared to the states. Pubs and drinking daily all times of the day is a social norm. Beer is almost seen as a the country’s main national drink. Also, there are more pubs than there is anything else. With their agriculture, food like potatoes is very popular. Therefore I saw more menu options for chips (which are known as french fries), and fish. The biggest thing is I don’t understand how there is not an obesity problem, with how much starch which and beer is consumed.
The population of Ireland is mainly white, there was a small population of other races. Whenever our group would go out, many times the black students would get stares from other people. The reason is because many residents don’t see a lot of people of color in rural areas, especially on television. It could be because we have a hotel, and we have their cable; but there U.S. television is more divers than U.K. television. In speaking of U.K. television the media is heavily focused on the royals, more than any other celebrities or issues.
The way things are advertised here, is based heavily on culture. When we went to the Guinness storehouse factory, the Irish culture heavily influenced on how the presented and advertised their beer. They have a long ever-changing media advertisement of how they have been evolving the message they give, for their product. Guinness and beer alone is heavily associated with the country brand.
Overall the media here compared to the United States is similar but different. The Ireland media is very heavy on culture and the royalty community; compared to the U.S. which is a variety of things we focus on. It was an interesting experience, as well opportunity to compare the two.