All the information below is provided by Pink Pangea community members based on their experiences abroad. Add your voice!
Feminine Hygienic Products
Kiera says: Feminine hygienic products are readily available. However, we were told before coming that tampons are different in Ireland than in the United States because most do not have applicators. So, all of us brought our own hygienic products before arriving. I have not seen a lot of pads in stores either. I would say that it is best to buy your own.
Kiera says: Birth control is legal in Ireland. It was legalized around 1980.
Kiera says: In college, many of the men are not looking for any sort or relationship–especially with a college girl who is only there for one semester. In my case, many of the men were really looking for a hook up or what they called a shift and drift. That’s not to say there aren’t any Irish guys looking to go out on dates, but its really rare for people my age. There is mainly a hook-up culture.
My Irish female friends have told me it is commonplace for the guy to text first and that women should not be the first one to initiate contact if you get someone’s number. Also, men may not necessarily pay for your meal right away. It seems the more he likes you, and the longer you are together, the more likely he will pay for meals and such.
Women need to be careful of guys looking for casual sex. Coming from a Midwestern Catholic college, this was kind of a shock for me. Men you meet at the pub will rarely be Prince Charming, looking for a nice girl to maybe take out to dinner. I know this may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. Usually, they are looking for something along the lines of a one night stand. Not all, but many. I’ve been told that during the college years, most students just mess around and do not do the whole dating thing until after they graduate.
On a positive note, grinding is not really common here. I was really relieved to find when a guy asked me to dance, he would actually twirl me around and have fun.
Types of Men
Kiera says: Irish men can be very friendly, polite and respectful. However, there are others who are not.
The first type of guy is your typical good guy. He’s nice, caring and is overall a good person. There are two different types of this guy: ones that are great guy friends but would never date because they’re only looking for casual hook ups, and ones who are not like that.
There are others though who are looking for a one night stand, especially from a visiting American they know they will never see again. Their eyes light up if you tell them you are from the States. These guys are the ones to be careful of. There is only one thing they’re looking for, and it’s not intellectual conversation or merely casual flirting.
Guys in Ireland tend to be much more forward than American men. However, this forwardness I have noticed really only occurs in settings where alcohol is consumed. While sober, they are nice and reserved. In fact, they are kind of shy. However, give them some alcohol and they will do a 180. Many will ask you within several minutes of conversation to go home with them and it can be a little startling. However, the good news is that you can tell who these guys are. You can see the thirst in their eyes.
Kiera says: As far as I can tell, women have the same position as men in society. I have not experienced or seen any misogynistic behavior. My classes are fairly even gender-wise, and I have not ever been discriminated against for being a woman.
Kiera says: The Irish in general tend to be much more slower paced than Americans. Many Americans are quick, punctual and get things done right away. However, in Ireland, there is much more of a “it’ll get done when it gets done” attitude. Many trains and buses will be a few minutes late, and this attitude is the same with people as well. It is a much more slow-paced lifestyle in that sense.
The Irish, both male and female, are very friendly and will talk to you while in line at the store and and in public places.
Perception of Foreign Women
Kiera says: If I am at a pub when people learn that I am American, men’s eyes usually light up and they say, “Ohhh America!” as if then expecting to get something. These guys are ones to be careful of.
For the most part though people say “Oh, okay cool,” and they continue the conversation. I have gotten rejected from a bar specifically for being American, however that was only once.
Kiera says: Dublin Bus, the Irish Rail, and the Luas are great ways to get around and are fairly inexpensive. I have never had any issues with safety on any of these.
Shady Areas for Women
Kiera says: There are parts of Dublin women should definitely avoid. O’Connell Street, on the north side of Dublin, can be great during the day but I would not walk there by myself at night.
Temple Bar is always a safe area to be as it is very touristy and commercial. South Dublin by Trinity College is generally safe as it is right by Grafton Street (one of the main shopping areas).
Northside Dublin is considered sketchier. However, the Southside also has its dangerous areas. I personally prefer to hang out in the Southside, though.
Maynooth is perfectly safe to walk around. I don’t like to walk alone at night but I would not imagine a woman having any problems.
Kiera says: Women generally wear tights with their skirts and shorts. They also really do not wear tall boots. While some do wear dresses, skirts and shorts with their legs showing, it is more common to see Irish women wearing them with tights.
It rains all year round so it is good to have a rain jacket. Scarves and sweaters (called jumpers in Ireland) are also a necessity. However, in the spring and summer it can get warm and sunny so make sure to bring a couple of warmer weather clothing items as well.
Irish women (at least the college girls) get very dressed up to go out, and they wear a lot of makeup. At the pubs in Maynooth, many girls look like they were going to prom regardless of how nice a place the pub was. However, it is not mandatory to dress this way and is perfectly acceptable to dress down if applicable.