Ireland flag Ireland: Business Environment

Business Practices in Ireland

Opening hours and bank holidays

General Information
Gobal Affairs Canada, Cultural Information
Commisceo Global, Ireland Guide
eDiplomat, Cultural Etiquette
Opening Hours and Days
Business hours: Mon-Fri: 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Lunch between 1:00 and 2:00 p.m.
 
 
 

Public Holidays

New Year's Day 1 January
St. Patrick's Day 17 March
Easter Monday End of March
First Monday in May, June, August
Last Monday in October
Christmas Day 25 December
St. Stephen's Day 26 December
 
 

Periods When Companies Usually Close

Christmas Between Christmas day and New Year's day
Summer July, August
 

Business culture

The Fundamental Principles of Business Culture
The Irish people are notoriously famous for their short term, profit-focused orientation and also have a reputation for being good conversationalists. Company policies and regulation are followed strictly. The Irish place a high value on facts and empirical evidence. Hierarchies are well defined and respected in Irish companies. Senior persons often have power of decision; whereas in case of junior management there may be a delay in the decision-making process as they would have to consult senior colleagues. Family and personal relationships are pivotal in Irish culture, a trace of the agricultural nature of the Irish economy, where large families were necessary to maintain farms. This factor is reflected in the Irish business culture; therefore, it is important to bear in mind that family and relationships can be as significant as the business itself. Irish people are likely to adjust their working life to  family needs.
First Contact
The Irish generally prefer to conduct business within their own network of contacts. A personal introduction is often needed to break into this circle. In general, appointments should be arranged at least two weeks in advance. It is also good practice to call the day before an arranged meeting to reconfirm.The months of July and August should be avoided when setting up a meeting, as this is the main vacation period in the country.
Time Management
Generally, being late for a meeting is seen as impolite and inconsiderate, especially in the early stages of a business relationship. However, the Irish can often be late for business or social meetings. If running late, one is expected to phone the other party to apologise and inform about the time of arrival, postponing the meeting in case of a significant delay. The Irish rarely stick to an agenda and meetings are generally unstructured. Missing a delivery deadline is not uncommon.
Greetings and Titles
When it comes to greetings, Irish businesspeople are less formal than in many European countries.  A firm and confident handshake is given at the beginning and end of meetings. In Ireland it is important to maintain personal space, so it is preferable to keep an arm’s length distance at all times.
The titles Mr, Mrs or Ms with family names should be used when first meeting, though often the switch to first name terms is very quick. In any case, it is advisable to follow the example set by your Irish counterparts. In Ireland people are generally not addressed with their academic qualifications or personal achievements.
Gift Policy
It is not common to exchange gifts in Irish business culture. If you decide to give a present, the best occasion is at the successful conclusion of negotiations.
Dress Code
Business dress code is conservative: suits and ties for men, and suits or modest dresses for women. However, the dress code tends to be less formal than in Western Europe. Meetings may occur in offices or alternative venues - like hotels, cafes or pubs - so the setting has to be kept into consideration when deciding the style to adopt (formal or less structured).
Business Cards
Business cards are exchanged after the initial introductions, without any particular formal ritual. However, many businesspeople do not have business cards, so when exchanging cards you may not get one in return.
Meetings Management
Business meeting often start with a humorous or casual ice-breaking conversation. Therefore, avoid being silent during the initial period of a meeting, as it may be perceived as rude and unfriendly to your Irish counterparts.

Presentations should be straightforward, emphasising both the positive and negative outcomes. All the required attendees should be informed on any necessary work or document they may need to consult before the meeting. Exaggeration or aggressive sales techniques should be avoided. Price is usually bargained.

Irish like a direct communication style. During the negotiations, you should speak plainly.  Always be sincere and keep the presentation simple and to the point.  It is customary in Ireland to allow other people to speak, and not to interrupt them when they are speaking. When the meeting is coming to an end, take some time to recap what has been discussed and decided.

Most Irish are used to discussing business in the informal environment of a restaurant, café or even pub (in a later stage of the relationship). Business lunches are more common than dinners. It is usually the Irish counterpart who offers to conduct a business meeting in this environment and who also recommends a suitable place to go. If invited out for a drink, business subjects should be brought out only if the host does so first. In most cases, the person that invites is the one who will take care of the bill.

Sources for Further Information

Commisceo

Business Culture

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Latest Update: September 2022

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