7 Traits We Can Adopt From Our Irish Friends - Bernadette McClelland

7 Traits We Can Adopt From Our Irish Friends


There is something very romantic about the Irish.

Beside the Atlantic Ocean, between Ballyvaughan and Doolin, north of the Cliffs of Moher and south of Galway Bay, is a little village called Fanore Beg.

And the ‘house on the hill’ in this charming village by the sea, albeit now renovated, is the same family home from where three siblings set sail many years ago.

Whilst they chose to lose sight of their familiar shore and cross the seas to better lands, another sibling chose to ‘hold the fort’ and because of that decision the house remains in the Carrucan family, today – a branch of my family.

This is one place in the world where, in a heartbeat, I could put down roots and effortlessly blend into the community, given half the chance.

My heritage, like many others, hails from this romantic, yet rugged, ‘Emerald Isle’ and as an immigrant into the USA nearly one year ago, it made sense for me to reflect on my journey in leaving the familiarity of Australia’s shores and tapping into the qualities of my Irish ancestory to settle into a new land.

The Carrucan Family home in Fanore Beg, County Clare - Bernadette McClelland
The Carrucan Family home in Fanore Beg, County Clare

Through my experience, family and travels, I’d love to share these 7 observations:


Irish people have a reputation for being resilient in the face of adversity.

The Peace Walls that separated the Catholic and Protestant communities
The Peace Walls that separated the Catholic and Protestant communities

Whether it’s potato famines, political conflict or personal bankruptcy, resilience is a resource we all have access to and it can also be learned. It is particularly valuable for all of us, especially for those who are experiencing huge setbacks and challenges in today’s climate.


The Irish have a well-known sense of humour (even if we’re the ones that say we’re funny – ask my kids!), but it is the simplicity of the one-liners or even the ‘dad jokes’ that will always help diffuse tense situations and build rapport with others.

Not only that but being self-deprecating by being able to laugh things off or laugh at yourself is a huge bonus, even though some may view your sense of humour as not being professional enough or you not ‘having the goods’. Leaders can often win the respect and loyalty of their teams when they’re able to use humour congruently and effectively.

Durty Nellys Pub - Bernadette McClelland
Durty Nelly's Pub


The Irish are also known for being creative. You just need to look at how they have contributed to literature or music or the arts.

Irish Murial

My music collection like so many others contains amazing artists such as U2, Enya and The Corrs and I still have some of Maeve Binchy’s books for those real tune out moments over the years and visiting the Peace Wall demonstrates real creativity that has expressed how some have really felt. We all need to tap into our own creativity today and come up with innovative solutions to solve complex problems in business and in life!


Whilst Irish people are often fiercely loyal to their workmates, friends and family, they will also distance themselves from those where they don’t feel that reciprocation, however you won’t hear them verbalise how they really feel or then again you might also hear them verbalise how they really feel!


A culture of contradiction…or passion! Whilst also highly intuitive those who can cultivate a sense of loyalty will more often build a more cohesive and dedicated team or group of friends.

Limerick University - Bernadette McClelland
Limerick University


Irish people are known for their ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

Outside of Dublin
Outside of Dublin

Whilst having a usually positive spin on the world, they’ve had to adapt to being the butt of jokes, navigate that very sticky Catholic guilt, and historically had to take the low-status or dangerous jobs other workers won’t do. As a blue collar worker I know my Dad did! The lesson here is that those of us who can remain flexible and open-minded in the face of challenges will be so much more better equipped to navigate any unexpected obstacles in today’s environment .


If you’ve ever sat in an Irish pub with their low ceilings, dim lit room, fire burning, listening to the Irish lilt that lifts the human spirit, you would know this natural charisma and charm they have that wins over others – with not a Leprechaun or 4-leaf clover in sight!

The ability the Irish have to get up close and personal is so refreshing. Not the up close, but the personal! Connecting with people on this level will always inspire enthusiasm, fun and commitment.

ODonohues Pub_Fanore Beg
O'Donohue's Pub, Fanore Beg


King Brian Borus Stone at St Patricks Cathedral Armargh
King Brian Boru's Stone at St Patricks' Cathedral, Armargh

Of course the Irish are great storytellers – they don’t shut up!

I mean there’s even a stone you kiss that gives you the gift of ‘eloquence and persuasiveness’ aka, the gift of the gab. And don’t even mention the fact that we have an example for everything, “OMG, I remember when that happened to a friend of mine…”. or ‘I’m a descendant of King Brian Boru, too’. And as someone who believes in the power of story, this is a wonderful trait – just so long as it is relevant! We all need to know how to bring story into our worlds – in business and in life…

Don’t you agree?

Which trait resonates most with you?

On that note,

Continue to Be Bold, Brave and Brilliant

[a bheith dana, croga agus thar cionn]

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