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Northern Irish Language and Culture

Learn about the language and culture in Northern Ireland. Find out how it compares to the rest of the UK and discover the local foods, community events and notable figures that make Northern Irish culture unique.

Oct 2, 2020
Northern Ireland Language and Culture

English is the most spoken language in Northern Ireland. However, the Irish language and Ulster Scots (a local variety of Scots) are spoken regionally.

While the divide between nationalists and unionists continues to punctuate Northern Irish life, the overall culture is defined by a love for music, as well as a lively social life that celebrates conversation and which revolves around international sports like rugby, football and boxing (alongside traditional sports like Gaelic football and hurling). Community festivals are also important - St. Patrick’s Day being the most famous, of course.

Traditional meals include the Ulster Fry, a classic breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausages, black pudding defined by the presence of both potato and soda bread. If, however, you have a sweet tooth you might enjoy Yellowman Candy. Similar to pulled candy, this Northern Irish version is customarily sold at the Auld Lammas Fair in County Antrim, but nowadays you can find it in sweet shops around the country.

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Notable figures in Northern Irish culture include author C.S. Lewis, actors Liam Neeson and  Kenneth Branagh, musician Van Morrison as well as rock bands like Stiff Little Fingers and Snow Patrol.

Northern Ireland served as a backdrop for much of the HBO television series Game of Thrones, whilst sitcom Derry Girls was shot in and around Londonderry (as it's officially known) and Belfast.

Must see tourist sites in Northern Ireland include Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, the Giant’s Causeway, the Ulster Museum, Derry city walls, the Old Bushmill's Distillery and the Gobbins Cliff Path.

Northern Ireland has not declared a national animal. But with the Shamrock identified as its national plant, perhaps it doesn't need one.

Learn more about studying in Northern Ireland:

The Higher Education System in Northern Ireland

Want to learn about how the higher education system works in Northern Ireland? A popular study abroad destination given its history and its fascinating culture. Find out more about the education system in Northern Ireland!

Tuition Fees In Northern Ireland

Tuition fees for higher education programs in Northern Ireland can vary. Many international and domestic students pay different tuition fees, depending on where they are from. In this section you'll find all the information on how this works in Northern Ireland.

Living Costs In Northern Ireland

No matter where you study abroad, it’s important to create a budget in advance so that you’re prepared. Therefore, we’ve detailed average living and housing costs so that you can get a better idea of what you would be paying as a student in Northern Ireland.

Entry Requirements for UK Universities

Learn more about the United Kingdom's national application portal and how it applies in Northern Ireland. This section covers what you'll need to do when applying as an undergraduate and postgraduate.


Don't let international student tuition fees stop you from studying abroad in Northern Ireland. Find out more about some of the scholarships available to international students here! 

Student Visas for the UK

Do you need a visa to enter Northern Ireland to study? Learn more about the student visa process, and what you need to enter the country, depending on your citizenship. Don't worry! We've gathered the information you'll need to make it happen.

Programs in Northern Ireland

Ready to browse higher education courses in Northern Ireland? Use our search engine to find and compare top programs in Northern Ireland today!

Photo of 59 Arthur St, Belfast BT1 4GA, UK, Belfast, United Kingdom by Kaeli Hearn on Unsplash

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The Keystone Team is comprised of experienced educators and advisors dedicated to providing valuable resources and advice to students all over the world.