The Irish namaste!

There is a custom here in rural Ireland. A quaint one, which speaks of a time when everyone knew everyone else. It is the culchie* salute – the greeting of country dwellers. Every driver greets every other driver, cyclist, pedestrian by raising their hand as they drive by. It is a custom of which I am very proud. It means we acknowledge each other, watch our speed, offer lifts to those who need them, flag down a friend for a brief chat or exchange of pleasantries…

It made me think of the namaste bow – the Buddha in me greets the Buddha in you but Cork-stylie…-the culchie in me greets the culchie in you!

*In Irish-English culchie is a term sometimes used to describe a person from rural Ireland. In Dublin, it is often used to describe someone from without the bounds of the ‘M50’ motorway. It usually has a pejorative meaning, but is also reclaimed by some proud of their rural origin, and may be used by either side in banter between town and country people. Generally the term is more humorous than abusive in rural areas, as opposed to the more offensive term “muck-savage”. (Wikipedia)

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  1. Jenn @ Monkey Butt Junction
    Jenn @ Monkey Butt Junction07-04-2011

    I never fail to do this when I’m riding my bike or walking – it just seems like the right thing to do. I like that I can have a word for it now.

    Any advice on how to pronounce it? 🙂

  2. Dreamingaloudnet

    CULL-chee or na-mass-tay?

  3. Patrick

    Bog trotter…

  4. Anonymous

    I’ve been living here (Ballycotton) approx 10 years and often visit suburban Cork where my mum lives. I didn’t realise I was waving to everyone until my daughter pointed out that I had just waved to a dog (culchie style)!!

  5. Dreamingaloudnet

    Haha! Love it Anonymous!

  6. Laura

    here in west cork it’s even more subtle…just one finger. I always feel like a child playing at being a grown up when I do it, but like you feel proud to be a part of it 🙂

  7. Anonymous

    Thank you for your post, I am feeling a bit home sick now reading about how everyone waves to each other, when my husband first visited Ireland he was amazed by this greeting and 15 years on and many many visits later it still brings a smile to his face. Bee

  8. Man of Many Contradictions
    Man of Many Contradictions07-08-2011

    As a born culchie, steeped in the traditions of all that is culchie, I might explain that it is a grievous insult to not salute another person from the same parish as you. For this reason, while driving around your own patch, you salute everyone on the off chance you know them, your mother knows them or your respective grandfathers built civil war arms caches together. Outside the parish the compulsory salute rule no longer applies but may be applied sporadically. For example, if you see a car that may belong to someone from the parish the finger off the steering wheel salute may be applied. Variations on this driving salute are allowed. Eg thumb instead of finger, palm up roman salute-style or. my favourite, full back of hand slapped against window screen. I miss it.

  9. Dreamingaloudnet

    Hehe, thanks Dave!

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