Local Customs

Northern Ireland is a very friendly place, and you will find that people are generally pleasant and welcoming.


Students who are unfamiliar with the Western way of life may find some traditions very strange! Here are some of our customs to familiarise yourself with:

  • Politeness – ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’ are some of the most commonly used words in Northern Ireland. It is advisable to use these, especially when in the company of strangers.
  • Punctuality – It is very important to be on time. Being late is generally considered to be rude. If you are going to be late you should inform the person you have arranged to meet beforehand.
  • If you are invited to someone’s house for a meal it is polite to bring a small gift (flowers or chocolates) to say thank you.
  • Our sense of humour is based on sarcasm and irony. Therefore, you may find it difficult to understand when someone is joking and it may take you time to get used to this.
  • Queuing or standing in line is of great importance, for example, waiting for the bus, waiting to pay for a product in a shop. Cutting into a queue is viewed as unacceptable behaviour.