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CROSS-CULTURAL ENQUIRY

SPAIN-IRELAND

Written by Noemi Gomez, Patricia Barbero, Anabel Caballero, Ana Hidalgo, and Beatriz Rocher.

MEALS

In Spain, we have four different meals:
Breakfast: 7.30 - 9.30 a.m.
Lunch (main meal of the day): 2.30 - 3.30 p.m.
Tea time ("Spanish merienda"): 6.00 - 7.00 p.m.
Dinner ("the lightest meal"): 9.00 - 10.30 p.m.
If you had to choose between the Spanish meals' timetable and the Irish one, which one do you think is the best and healthiest?

Well… in Ireland the meal-timetable is very much influenced by the weather and the daylight hours. The main difference between the Spanish and the Irish meals is in the quantity of food, more than the time they are eaten. In workplaces, people have only a short break for their lunch so it must be light meal, something to eat quickly. Thus, the Irish dinner is the heaviest meal of the day due to the number of hours between lunch time and dinner and because it's the time to be at home at relax yourself.
On one hand, some people think that the time of Spanish meals is the healthiest one because of the number of meals they have. On the other hand, others prefer eating to the Irish timetable because they have enough time to digest their dinners before going to bed. However, it must be said that depending on the individual way of living in each meal country, each timetable will best suit its own culture.

BARS

In Spain, young people usually to go to bars about 10 p.m. for a drink and to get a free "tapa" (i.e. chips, hamburgers, sandwiches, …) with it. Afterwards, we go to a pub to meet
with our friends. Around 2 a.m., we go to a disco to dance until we get tired. Pubs usually close at 4 a.m. and discos about 7 or 8 a.m.

Why do Irish people go out earlier than the Spaniards?

Certainly, the reason why people go out earlier in Ireland is because pubs close at 2 a.m. If they want to have some pints, they also have to have dinner earlier than the Spanish . As well as that, we can say that the weather conditions influence the habits of every culture.
Spaniards can go out in the way mentioned above only at the weekends when we don't have any "homework" for the following day.

OPENING & CLOSING TIMES

What are the opening and closing times of the shopping centres and shops in Ireland?
Generally, all shopping centres are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday to Saturday, they are open until around 9 p.m. Most shops open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. You can also find that some shopping centres, such us Tesco or Sainsbury, are open until 11 p.m. or even 24 hours before Christmas.

COFFEE TIME

Irish people in pubs seem to be very astonished when Spaniards approach the barman or the barwoman to ask them for a cappuccino at 4.30 p.m. Spanish people are used to having a coffee or a cappuccino just after having their lunch, sometimes at home and other times in bars. Why don't people here ask for a coffee in bars?

Well, some people prefer going to a restaurant or a café to have a coffee or a tea since it is more usual to have alcoholic drinks in bars. However, if you want to drink a coffee in a bar, you can.

Nowadays, it is possible to find some pubs that serve food and coffee. It is a new trend because ten or fifteen years ago pubs only served alcoholic drinks and women were not allowed to enter them especially because of the dirtiness of the toilets.

PLUGS

In Spain, we have plugs in all rooms including the bathroom. Is there any reason why plugs are not allowed in the Irish bathrooms?

In fact, there is a law that prohibits the installation of electric plugs in bathrooms since it is considered very dangerous. There have been many electric shocks in the last few years, so this law takes into account people's safety. Many people have died of these electric shocks.

SHUTTERS

In Spain, we have shutters in every room of the house in order not to be waken up by the first daylight hours and to keep us warm in winter. Also, they prevent us from being disturbed by the noise coming from the streets. Why don't you put shutters on your windows?

 

Because there is not really too many sunny days so people prefer the light coming through the window to keep them warm without using the heating. They are used to sleeping, and can sleep, in the sunlight.

TAKING RUBBISH OUT

Due to the warm weather we have in Spain, especially in summer, we are accustomed to taking rubbish out every day, except Sundays. How often is rubbish collected from every house in Ireland?

 

It is collected once a week because people have a wheelie bin in each house. There is a blue bin in some houses for recycling paper and it is collected every two weeks. Although the weather is cold, some people think that it should be collected more often.