在愛爾蘭的異國情侶 – interracial couples in Ireland

There are certain things you don’t expect when you move to Republic of Ireland. Like nice, warm, sunny imageweather or sky scrapers. You also don’t expect that the country with population of only four and a half million people will be so opened for interracial and international couples. I guess that’s why there’s a character for ‘love’ – 愛 – in the name translation!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s just both Poland and Ireland are very Catholic and conservative countries comparing to the rest of Europe. Just last year Ireland legalized same-sex marriage and Poland still doesn’t recognize same-sex unions, and the constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples.

I was very eager to move to Ireland from the US, but on the other hand I was bit worried. What if we will get bullied? What if someone attacks us just because we are in love? Should we really move?
In America, especially in San Francisco Bay Area when we used to live, you could see interracial couples on nearly every corner. AMWF couples everywhere. You cannot feel like a special little snowflake anymore, but it also made me very happy to see other couples like us.image (2)

Comparing to the US, I can say the Asian community here is pretty… tiny. There are around 10 000 Chinese nationals in Ireland, 12 000 Filipinos, assuming around another 5-8 000 are Asians of other nationalities we get a number of just 30 000. That’s not even 1% of the population. To make it funnier, my Polish folks including myself are group of more than 120 000 foreigners living and working in Ireland. Finally, we are number 1 at something (thanks Portugal, but we played better – losing at penalties is not really a loss! 😉 ).

Prior to our relocation, I did some research on other people’s most interesting experiences and observations on mixed relationships and racism in Ireland and I want to share it with you, so in case you think about moving here.

  • Miss Ireland was verbally abused over her relationship with a Nigerian man
  • It is pretty much a generational thing, I can’t remember any comments being made by anyone under say 35. But go above that and it seems, by my limited experience, that there is certainly a underlying accepted racism.image (4)
  • I’ve found that the Irish only tend to find others odd or actively dislike them when they can’t speak English. Initially if they see a Chinese man, for example, he’ll stick out in their heads, and the Irish will try to talk slowly and clearly to him (I stress *try*). If/when the Chinese man then pipes up with a big Dublin accent (or any other kind of clear English, even with a Chinese accent), it’s suddenly, “Ah Jaysus you’re alright!”. And he’s not even Chinese any more in their eyes.
  • I’m Irish and my ex-gf was British Asian and she loved visiting Ireland with me – she never felt uncomfortable (unless she had a couple of pints of Guinness the night before….) Just don’t tell anyone you’re American…
  • My best male friend is ethnic Chinese. When we were first friends I noticed considerable unintentional racism against him which really upset me, this seems to have died down a lot in recent years which is a huge relief but some people still make comments. He is now happily dating an Irish girl and will be living back here eventually
  • My closest female friend is the result of a mixed relationship (Indian and Irish), she has never once spoken of any racism. My father would have loved me to date my male friend mentioned above but we were just friends!
    I and my family and my husbands family have no problems with mixed relationships, I do think that Ireland has moved on sufficiently.image (1)
  • There are a lot of interracial couples in Ireland, not just Irish marrying Indians but many other nationalities ethnic groups too. I am of Indian descent married to an Englishman and now living in Ireland. In the last 6 six years that we have lived in Ireland, I have never had anybody even remark on our relationship. They did not find it strange or unusual. When I visit my parents though there are times when guys on the street make a comment because we are walking together, not holding hands or anything just walking, but on the whole I am pretty resilient to such things.

And here’s my personal experience after nearly 1.5 year in Ireland: never ever have I heard any comment about us. Yeah, some people would stare but they would never say a thing. Irish people were always lovely towards us, helping us if we needed. Sometimes little kids would ask ‘Is he your boyfriend’, but who would mind this? Oh, and have I mentioned sh*tload of other AMWF couples? I swear to you, I’m now like AMWF stalker – I see one, I take a snap and send it to Sing with caption ‘Look, us!’. 
Immigration officers were really helpful and never let us feel like we were not welcomed.

Maybe I’m very naive, but I think nowadays Ireland is a lovely place, very ‘colour-blind couples’ friendly. Especially our lovely city of Limerick. I only once heard a racist comment, but it was only towards me and it came from like an 8 year old. Cannot punch kids.

image (5)Once my coworker said Ireland is getting more opened minded because it was closed up for foreigners and the genes pool was not big enough so now they encourage interracial and international relationship. I honestly don’t know if that’s really true, but I’m so glad even such a conservative society can open, that gives me hope that one day we will be allowed to love whoever we want, wherever we want. 

Have you ever had any problems from being in interracial, international relationship? Is your country mixed-couples friendly? Share your knowledge and experience, we would love to read it!

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47 thoughts on “在愛爾蘭的異國情侶 – interracial couples in Ireland

  1. LOL — “just don’t tell anyone you’re American!” What a bad reputation we have.

    Like you, Andy and I haven’t experienced any overt racism. Not even in more rural areas in the U.S.

    I think the under 35 is key in many areas of prejudice. The musician Will.I.Am once said, “Americans under forty aren’t usually racist.” Hopefully Trump won’t prove him wrong. C’mon, Millennials!

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  2. Haha, I love your posts, Lina!! So humorous, witty, intelligent. I am married to a Chinese woman in Taiwan. I find that the people here in Taipei are extremely open-minded about interracial couples (particularly the pair of Caucasian and Asian) because they often say, “Mixed kids are so cute!!” It often comes down to that. As far as entering into one of those relationships, Taiwanese men and women, although open-minded about others, are extremely cautious about having this type of relationship themselves. They tend to think of what others, especially their family members, would think of them in that situation, that family members might and probably would not only judge them, but also have strong opinions about what they should do with that relationship. This is typical Chinese culture as you know.

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    1. Sadly I was in an interracial relationship with a Chinese man and it ended because the family was unable to accept me due to my appearance. I just give up at this point and am crawling in my cocoon. I think that people can be open to some interacial dating and not others.

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  3. This sounds great, at least much better than Germany or Finland (from my experiences in those two countries!). In both countries we got often some racist comments and it is probably not hard to imagine what political parties those people are voting for…
    Really would love to visit Ireland but then again it always depends on how crazy our business is going 🙂

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    1. The Irish nationals , I met(except for that one racist who stalked me in the supermarket in China just to make racist and condescending comments to me. What a lovely lad) have seemed very open minded. They didn’t instantly persecute me because of my appearance. So I have to say so far Irish nationals on the whole have been the kindest to me.

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  4. I’m in a AMWF relationship here in Hong Kong and don’t get a lot of negativity but a ton of stares and double-takes, mostly from older HKers. I suppose because it’s still very rare to see here. Maybe also because we’re a bit different looking (tattoos, way of dress, I’m quite blonde/fair, etc.)? I was in several long-term BMWF relationships in the US & Caribbean and would get a lot of negative comments, mostly from BF. I learned to tune it out there. Here in HK it’s still a bit nerve-wracking as I hate being stared at ALL the time (the bf doesn’t care). I feel like we walk into a busy local restaurant and everything stops for a second lol. Sometimes you just want to blend in 😉

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    1. I guess that might be tattoos or you’re very pretty 😀 because for some reason people don’t care about us in HK but once we cross the boarder to China we are instant sensation 😀 my MIL never took me to the market because if they seen me with her the people there would assume her son (therefore her) has to have money to be with a white girl so she wouldn’t get any discount on the veggies and meat 😀 maybe that’s the stare? but I hope you love it in HK 🙂

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      1. Interesting! Not looking to take a trip to the mainland anytime soon then 😉 Still not clear what the stare is. Must just be that we’re so opposite in colouring that it stands out more, or maybe the tattoos and multiple earrings/nosering, I dunno! Getting less annoying with time 🙂

        Your MIL sounds like an interesting character! I met the parents the other week who luckily are laid back and very kind. I had a tooth extracted and his mom made me a feast of soft foods to eat!

        Yup, love HK. Hope you’re enjoying Ireland – another place I wouldn’t mind living myself 🙂

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    2. By personal experience, I don’t think we get stared by people here in HK too much. Maybe l’ve learnt to ignore them. Or people would assume I’m not a Hongkongese. Often people would comment and be shocked when I speak Cantonese with them.

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        1. Haven’t been told I was a Korean. When I got a new job, the girls in he office had a secret bet amongst themselves to guess where I was from. Their guesses included Thai / Malaysian / Indonesian / Vietnamese/ Taiwanese / Filipino / Japanese / Australian /some kind of European born Asian. Of course all of them lost their bets when one of them plugged up her courage to ask me.

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      1. Yeah I notice when with me, people first speak to my bf in English. I guess it’s the safest bet considering he’s with me. He also looks a bit more Japanese than local.

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  5. I think this is true not just in Ireland but all over the world. Even with Brexit you could detect, “unintentional” racism is more prevalent among the older generation folks. They grew up with WW1 and WW2, and later mainstream media without the internet, so I suppose it is hard for them to grasp the concept of “The Turks/Japanese are no longer bad guys” or “black people are not thieves and rapists and crooks”.

    The internet has really changed our world views as it removed the shackles called government controlled media, I think give it another 10 or 15 years, when all the unintentional racist people dies, then interracial relationship would no longer be a topic at all.

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  6. This makes me want to move to Ireland. It’s one of the countries we are considering moving to. In South Africa, despite the fact that same-sex marriage is legal, interracial relationships, especially AMWF ones are kind of taboo. People stare… a lot. And occasionally make comments. We have learned to ignore them though. I won’t forget, this one lady looked at us and said “hold up. What the heck is a white girl doing with a chink?” I felt like slapping her silly. Thankfully most people are rather accepting or at least try to be. I’ve had the odd comments while dating Derek, such as “does he eat cat?” but then yet again, people are oblivious because they are stuck in their own conservative bubble.

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    1. “Only on Sundays”

      is the best reply you can give there. Play with the stereotype, show how ridiculous they sound.

      As for the old racist lady, next time that happens respond with “yes, have you tried one?”

      Always make the situation more light hearted than it is. As you can tell I’ve had my fair share of these encounters in life.

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  7. I can’t remember getting any bad comments when I was out and about with my husband in Austria, but I got one or the other when I took my son out. Usually in smaller towns. But for one ignorant comment there are much more people who point out how cute he is, so overall it doesn’t seem too bad. I’ll see what it will be like this time around.

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  8. So this was the week of the “Interracial couples in XX” posts 😛 We could make a series, haha.
    Were you also inspired by that video? I saw you commented on it 😛

    In China I never noticed much staring at us. They might stare at you because you are blonde 😛

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  9. Ask your husband’s perspective…because he is Asian. And ask if it’s any different when you are not beside him. I believe that’s part of the real test.

    I have heard until Brexit for Great Britain, some of the Brits don’t the Polish moving into their country…

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    1. He was in Ireland few months before me settling the Irish branch of the company we work at and he said he feels safer than in America but that’s probably due to the fact it would be easier to run away from a guy with a knife than a guy with a gun hah 😉

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  10. Im polish, my husband turkish, muslim so yeah… i have problem with polish people. Sometimes i hear really bad things about me and about my husband. And I can understand that now people can be scary because terrorism, they can be scary islam, but its just not fair. I havent ever met better, sweeter and nicer man than my husband. Almost everyday i see something not nice about muslims on facebook. So i just try to ignore this. On other side i see that still in Poland are good and open people and they dont judge him because of his religion.
    We are living in Turkey in big modern city and there isnt any problem with interracial couple. Turkish people are usually so open and warm for forgein people. But on vilagge, where people are hmm more close, they didnt finish schools, they think that forgein women, especially polish, russian and ukrain are… easy girls. My husband’s family never let anybody “touch me”, say something bad, same my husband. My husband was in army and one day one stupid boy asked him about my past…: “do u know about your girlfriend past sex-life?” My husband almost punch his face. It because in Turkey people still expect from girls stay virgin till marry. In real life so many of turkish girls dont be a virgin when they marry, but pssss… nobody has to know, its secret 😀 so generaly in Turkey I feel so good be polish girl who married with turkish man. I just dont like stupid and not educated people 🙂

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  11. I am Malaysian chinese and grew up in Singapore. My bf is French and i knew him while he was in Singapore. Now i’ve moved to France. It is becoming more and more common in Singapore to for Inter-racial union, but usually a ‘white’ male with asian female, the other way round is rare but it happens. The latter gets more stares definitely. White male, asian female combi sometimes invites finger pointing from others who judge the female as white goer, we have a nickname for this (SPG, Sarong Party Girl) and it’s quite degrading. There’s vast spectrum of how much people accept interacial union, some doesn’t bat an eyelid, others would say, oh don’t date the Indians for eg.

    Since i arrived in France 6 months back to join my French bf, i’ve (or we) not received any sort of racism. I think what’s interesting is when i am out with my bf’s mom alone. She doesn’t speak English and my French is pathetic. I think by logic, people would find this interesting or amusing but nobody really bother to take a 2nd look. Sometimes kids would look at me for a long time, i guess trying to figure out what i am, why do i look different. It’s pretty cute to me. I’m not staying in Paris, but a little city called Le Havre in Normandy. Maybe there’s a little different between Paris and here. I’m not sure. But i’m glad i haven’t met any unpleasant situations. I guess the French are not unfamiliar with seeing inter-racial relationships as it seems like many of them married outside their own race.

    Incidentally i would be visiting Dublin and the west side in Sept, hope to have a good time and no racism as it’s just 2 of us Chinese girls!

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  12. the world is changing. as more and more countries are getting internationalised and more people travel internationally, you see more interracial couples happening. and that’s good to see, because that tells you more people are getting more open minded and able to embrace and appreciate differences.

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