Hooked on Irish men


Judging by dating websites, Irish men have a good reputation among foreign women. But does the fantasy match the reality of dating an Irish man? We ask three women for their experiences

‘I want to marry an Irishman.” So says one American female who has posted her profile on one of thousands of internet dating sites. Elaborating, she says that her ideal Irishman will be ready to have babies, will be family- oriented and hard-working.

“He should also be open to the idea of a long-distance relationship that will lead to marriage. Oh, and one other thing, he must be able to play the bagpipes, or at least enjoy its beautiful sound.”

Eh, good luck with that . . .

A casual browse through dating websites, particularly those based in the US, and you will see many similar posts from women looking for an “Irish prince” or a “gorgeous Gael” to come and sweep them off their computers. Generally the stereotyping of the Irish male is stuck somewhere in the 1950s, a land where the men are tall, quiet and gentle, and excel in a natural chivalry. But how does the perception of Irish men by overseas women compare to the realities of dating an Irish male?

Mary Kenny, a relationship counsellor who also runs a dating website, says that her service has noticed a large increase in overseas women seeking Irish men for relationships.

“I would say a quarter of all our females are now non-Irish,” she says.

Kenny also believes that many Irish men have to alter their dating techniques and behaviour in relationships because of the influence of other nationalities. “Often, I find overseas women can be quite upfront if they are out there and single-minded about what they want and how they want to be treated.”

Despite the increasingly multicultural nature of Irish society, some male dating techniques remain firmly embedded within the culture. “Men here still hunt in packs, and often go out in big gangs and stick together,” says Kenny. “It’s often only when they get very drunk towards the end of the night that they have confidence to approach women. Despite the changes in Irish men, that mentality is still very prevalent.”

Below, three non-Irish females describe their experiences of Irish men in relationships:

Fabiola Galeziewska, 24, (pictured above) from Poland, has been in a relationship with an Irish man for the past eight months

“There are different approaches with Irish men. For instance, when I was in college in Poland I was dating a Polish man. He was already planning to get married, and when we were going to have kids and move in together. It’s like that in Poland after a certain age, everybody settles down.

“Of all my former classmates in Poland, I am probably one of only three people not married, and I am only 24. Irishmen are more into parties and a see-how-it-goes approach. They are more fun. One thing though, I notice the manners are different. Polish guys always open the door first. That’s not the same with some Irish guys. I think men here drink slightly more.

“But apart from that we have similar backgrounds because of the religion and that. Irish guys are very friendly. I lived here for four years and I feel at home.”

Australian Lisa Domican (41), living in Greystones, Co Wicklow, and married to an Irishman, Bill Domican

“I met my husband when I was 18 and living in London. I didn’t have a single pre-conception about Irishmen.

“To be honest, I thought he was Canadian, as he had a very pure Dublin accent. Australian men have a real bloke culture. They prefer to spend most of their time with other men. For me, the standard Australian male is too blokey.

“In Australia, men are more conscious about their hair and clothing. You only have to look at the mixed-rules series every year to see the difference between the Australian males and the Irish.

“Here, some of the GAA lads look like they’ve been hit with a hurley a few times too many. Some Irish men still look like little boys when they grey up.

“My experience is that Irish lads are more gentlemanly than many other cultures. Perhaps it’s the education, or else it’s the fact that the Irish mammy is a very strong part of society here. That can sometimes be a bad thing, though.

“You see almost helpless men who have been raised by their mammy until they are 40 or 50. I wouldn’t like to be marrying any man who had that.”

American Clare Kleinedler (37), recently moved to Ireland and is testing out the dating scene

“I briefly dated a couple of Irish guys in San Francisco when I lived there for college, and I am just starting to date here.

“The biggest difference I notice between American men and Irish men is that Irish men don’t seem to ask women out on dates. There seems to be a general lack of dating culture here in Ireland. Even my Irish female friends admit that it’s rare for an Irish guy to actually go up to a woman and ask her out on a proper date.

“It seems a guy gets really drunk, stumbles into you and hopes for the best – that has definitely happened to me on more than one occasion! Of course not all Irish men are the same.

“It’s impossible to sum up an entire nationality of men. But from what I’ve observed, Irish men seem to feel the need to prove their manliness in front of their mates, and that type of macho behaviour is telling of insecurity.

“Most of my friends are from small towns, and they don’t have many choices when it comes to dating.

“They meet someone in school, date that person for 15 years and then have kids and/or get married to them. If that relationship doesn’t work out, they’ll likely date someone else from the same circle of friends.

“I am just starting to date here and am generally optimistic about it.

“Although I’ve kissed a few frogs, I have no doubt in my mind that there are a lot of great Irish guys out there.”