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05th Sep 2017

11 things you will only know if you grew up in rural Ireland

Everyone needs to read the guide to waving in the countryside.


Potholes, potholes everywhere.

Did you grow up in the ‘back arse of nowhere?’ Do you still get made fun of by your Dublin friends because of your big culchie accent?

Heading to the big smoke can be a big change and every now and again, it’s okay to get homesick and if you still reside in the countryside, don’t ever take it for granted.

Here are some of the things you will only understand if you grew up in Rural Ireland.

The Bog 

You’d do anything to try and get out of this. You’d fake illnesses and injuries because you would rather spend a scalding hot day stuck in bed than down handling lumps of dirt.

Essentially, that’s what it is and the sight of the ‘bogman’ slowly chugging his way past your house would bring an instant tear to your eye.

If you couldn’t get out of going to the bog, you are most definitely an expert in footing and turning turf at this stage but you probably have mental scars from getting royally sunburnt and ate by midges down there.

Clip via in bloom 

The Travelling Shop Van

It started to die out in the early noughties but the shop van was once a vital part of rural Ireland. It provided a weekly service around the countryside and especially supplied old people in the area who were unable to travel into town for their weekly shopping.

Staying with your nanny for the week made it all worthwhile when you could pig out on sweets and sugary drinks from the shop van.

The ‘Big Day’ out in Dublin 

Heading up to the capital for a day of shopping was treated the same as if you were heading to outer space with NASA. You’d set off first thing in the morning and would stop off for breakfast around the half-way mark.

Once you were of age, you would be let roam the streets of Dublin by yourself and the construction of The Spire was fantastic because it became the new ‘meet-up spot’ for when you were setting off home at 4pm.

Death Notices

You could be having the all-mightiest of craic in the house with the family, but the place would come to a standstill once you heard the opening music for the death notices.

Standing there, you would hear that the death had occurred of someone in Castlebar before the presenter would proceed to name out their entire family… “brother of Tommy, son of Margaret.”

There was always one certainty regarding the death notices; your parents would know of at least one person who had died and would spend the next few minutes questioning whether they needed to go to that funeral or not.

Driving at a very early age

The roads were quiet (well, most of the time, but we’ll get to that later) and sometimes out of boredom, you’d ask your mam or dad if they’d let you drive the car down the road to the neighbour’s house.

At the age of 13, of course, you thought this was the coolest thing ever, even though you were probably only going two miles per hour and your parents had their hand firmly gripped around the handbrake.

If you grew up on a farm, the art of driving probably started even earlier than that and you would be called into action by being asked to move the quad or tractor from one end of the field to the other.

Small Primary and Secondary Schools

You’d be lucky if you had double figures in your primary school class and if the school itself broke the 100 mark, it was considered a big school.

Being in a small school had its ups and its downs. You knew everyone’s name and everyone knew yours, it didn’t matter whether you were a scary sixth year or a frightened first year, everyone got along.

However, mitching school was next to near impossible, not only would the teachers notice you were missing straight away, you’d probably meet someone on the road who knew your mam and would contact her before you had the chance to say “oh bollox”.


Traffic? In the countryside? Are you for real?

Not your conventional M50 traffic but much worse. At least on the M50, you know that the cars won’t stay there forever but in the countryside, the animals will have other ideas.

This could pan out a few different ways. If the sheep and cattle are being moved by their owners, you were in luck as the process would be quick enough.

However, the majority of the time, they were left unaccompanied and you would be left belting the car like a raving lunatic and shouting random words like ‘hup’ and ‘sca’ in order to try and move them.

The last resort would involve getting out of the car and doing star jump-like motions in the hope of getting them to clear to the side of the road or give you enough room to pass.

You wave to everyone 

If you are driving or walking in the countryside then you need to have a read of a guide on how to salute people in the country.

It’s gospel. If you don’t wave, you will be called ignorant and if you’re not from there, you will automatically be outed as an ‘outsider’.

The ultimate respect you can earn in rural Ireland is a ‘hand against the windscreen’ wave.


“LOOK OUT FOR THE POTH-, aw shite.” Many a tyre has met its death driving in the countryside. It’s also a great topic of conversation – “When did that get there?” and “Make sure and watch out for the massive one just on the right after the new house”.

Many the election campaign was built around fixing the potholes in the area.



When you have a very limited amount of signposts leading to your house, everything becomes a landmark.

“So, listen carefully. You should see this house on your left and their dog is going to come rushing out barking; if a dog doesn’t come out, you’re in the wrong place.”

The last to get the Internet

Going to your mates out in town meant that you could finally update your Bebo page because the dial-up connection at home wasn’t strong enough.

The majority of internet service providers say on their adverts that they cover 99.9% of the country. “WHY THE F**K DOES MY AREA ALWAYS HAVE TO FALL INTO THE 0.01% category?”

Even now, it’s still extremely slow compared to everywhere else. Then again, how would you expect your house to have fast internet when you can’t even get the ‘3G’ symbol to appear on your phone?

Despite the lack of internet, we still long to ramble home and spot the green grass (people outside the countryside use a white line to determine the middle of the road) on our return.

LISTEN: You Must Be Jokin’ with Aideen McQueen – Faith healers, Coolock craic and Gigging as Gaeilge