• Paula Corish

Irish living in France - St Patrick's Day - #irishattitude

Well I was thinking, what can an Irish person living in France doing #marketing, post about #stpatricksday? A littl' ol' leprechaun jumping around the screen would probably do the trick! Non non non, I thought I'd write a little piece here in my blog instead about life as an Irish person living abroad, specifically in France #irishabroad #irishinfrance.

I moved to France permanently about 18 years ago, following my degree in Dublin studying marketing and a year as an Erasmus student where I spent, what can only be described as an eye opening, vision expanding, freedom inspiring, year in the beautiful South West of France in Bayonne. Can you imagine a littl' o' Irish student from Wexford descending to the South of France in all her innocence, seeing topless ladies on the beach and guilt free people living their lives??!!

In those days there weren't many international businesses in the South West of France, and being #irish with a huge love of the sea... and now the quest for sunshine... I moved to the busier area of #nice in the South East of #france on the #cotedazur #frenchriviera after finishing my studies back in Ireland.

Being Irish living in this area of France, has served me well. Anyone who hears your not so perfect French accent asks, "where are you from"? And we can safely say with a smile and a proud look about us... "I'm Irish". The French have always greeted my response with a warm... slightly relieved... response... "Ohhhh I love the Irish!!". Every time, even now, this response from the French makes me feel happy and proud of our country and the image our countrymen are giving to people across the water.

So we are greeted with open arms in this country. I wonder why that is? Obviously history comes hugely into play but I like to think it's our general attitude. My father once explained to me... while he ate pizza for the first time in his life while out visiting me years ago in a quaint French village square above #antibes... "we as Irish see others as the same". We will chat to anyone, #human2human, without automatically thinking we are better than them. I love explaining this vision of the #irishattitude abroad to the French and other nationalities. It's very simple but somehow innate for us to naturally chat without coming across as superior.

The French can often get a bad reputation for doing the opposite to this, however I've always experienced the "contraire" as an Irish person living in France. The French, to me, are usually very welcoming people who'll invite you into their homes and family, once you show respect, that Irish "we are all the same" attitude and at least try to speak their language!

I have also learned over the years as an Irish woman in France, apart from learning the language, you also need to learn the subtle mannerisms that they respect. When you walk into a shop, you always look for the person working there and say "Bonjour Madame / Monsieur"... even just a simple Bonjour won't show the correct respect, you need to add the Madame and Monsieur. Another tip I would give you especially in the South East of France, on the #frenchriviera, when you are driving, you need to be confident... approach those roundabouts with gusto and do not rise to any "road agression", as the penguins in my kids favourite movie Madagascar would say... "Just smile and wave, smile and wave"!!!

So I have managed to write way too many words already without even mentioning St. Patrick's Day!!! What's the difference celebrating St Patrick's Day as an Irish person abroad?

Well, for me, apart from the fact I am drinking cold rosé outside on a sunny day in March (obviously this photo was taken a couple of St Patrick's ago before grrrr #covidlife!)... instead of beer indoors in a pub or freezing my Irish arse off waiting for the #stpartricksparade to come up the #wexford quay as a child, St Patrick's Day as an Irish person living in France again brings out that feeling of "being proud of Ireland" #proudtobeirish #bestofireland.

Sharing our love of life together, socialising, dancing, singing and ehhhmm drinking! As I've said on my website I chose the name "#irishcorish" for my company to show the same warmth and friendliness people think of when they think of Irish people.

There are Irish Bars all over the world!! Why do you think that is? I think it's because of that #irishattitude and warm friendly atmosphere people love, the feeling of being "at home" when they are abroad... even if you're not Irish, we are all the same remember : )

To finish off, if you'd like to know some interesting facts about St. Patrick's Day... as I will be honest with you, I had to google it this morning to enable me to explain this special day to my kids, who are Irish but have lived all their lives in France... that's a whole other article on #irishkidsabroad... "mummy, where am I from?"... here you go:

- The #stpatricksdaytradition of wearing green is tied to folklore that says wearing green makes you invisible to leprechauns, which like to pinch anyone they can see!! Watch out guys, on the 17th March every year if you're not wearing green in Antibes hahaha...

- "The red-haired, green-clothed Leprechaun is commonly associated with St. Patrick’s Day. The original Irish name for these figures of folklore is “lobaircin,” meaning “small-bodied fellow.” Belief in leprechauns likely stems from Celtic belief in fairies— tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil. In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were cranky souls, responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies."**

I would suggest they were CRANKY SOLES... oh bad jokes are all part of being Irish too hahaha!

- "The shamrock, a three-leaf clover, has been associated with Ireland for centuries. It was called the “seamroy” by the Celts and was considered a sacred plant that symbolized the arrival of spring." ** Source:

Wishing you all a very HAPPY ST PATRICK'S DAY from Antibes in France.

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