AU PAIR CULTURE QUESTS
The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in Ireland. Although au pairs from this country may or may not have had these experiences/beliefs, Au Pair in America wishes to share this general information with our families.
Child Care Skills
- Irish people are usually very family-oriented, so it is normal to help take care of younger children in the family or babysit for family friends.
- Preparing meals from scratch for children is very common (often preferred to eating out).
- Irish families believe in the value of positive motivation. Emphasis is placed on good manners and formality.
- Large families are common and family events are important – especially enjoying Gaelic football and hurling, as these are the traditional sports of Ireland.
- Children are taught responsibility by giving them tasks and duties from an early age.
- Parents encourage their children to spend time outside, but of course this depends on the weather!
- English is the mother tongue, but some can speak Irish.
- The Irish accent has many variations and is very different to the English accent.
- Most TV programs are in English, although many are produced in the USA!
- The minimum driving age in the Republic of Ireland is 17.
- Obtaining a learner’s permit requires passing a computerized theory test. The process of obtaining the full license requires having held a learner’s permit for 6 months and completing a combined practical and theory driving test, which covers driving, road safety and a minor amount of mechanical knowledge of a car.
- Irish drivers can experience a wide variety of weather conditions, including rain, snow and ice as well as beautiful sunshine.
- Education in Ireland is free at all levels, including college (university).
- Education is compulsory for all children in Ireland from the ages of six to 16 or until students have completed three years of second level education and including one sitting of the Junior Certificate examination.
- Parents put a lot of focus on children’s education from a very young age. Usually French is taught from age 7. Various additional courses (e.g. dancing, ballet, arts & crafts, sports, swimming, horse-riding) are often added to the extra school curriculum or studied as an after-school activity.
- All Irish residents are entitled to receive health care through the public health care system.
- Emergency care is provided at a cost of €100 for a visit to the Accident and Emergency department.
- A person may be required to pay a subsidized fee for certain health care received; this depends on income, age, illness or disability. Prescription drugs and medical appliances are available to all for free or at a reduced cost.
- Irish people are often said to have the “Gift of the Gab” (the talent of talking rings around most other people).
- The Irish are very musical.
- Irish people consider themselves passionate, funny and creative!
- The Irish flag has three vertical bands of green, white, and orange; officially the flag colors have no meaning, but a common interpretation is that the green represents the Irish nationalist (Gaelic) tradition of Ireland, orange represents the Orange tradition (minority supporters of William of Orange), and white symbolizes peace (or a lasting truce) between the green and the orange.
- Ireland covers five-sixths of the island of the same name; the remaining one-sixth of the island is Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.
- The world famous Guinness beer is from Ireland – it originated in the Dublin brewery of Arthur Guinness.
“The greatest year of my life!”– Natalie, au pair from Ireland
“I loved the family and children and made wonderful friends from around the world. The experience was even more than I hoped for!” – Michelle, au pair from Ireland
“Thank you Au Pair in America for such a wonderful year!”– Marianne, au pair from Ireland
“You can not beat the flexibility of the Au Pair program. My au pairs have been so great that my friends want to steal them and take them home!”
Catherine , host parent