We love to hear about those who have joined our team’s experiences and traditions of our employees. As we have numerous people from different nationalities and backgrounds, we love wanted to get their take on what an Irish Christmas means to them. Niall gives us an insight into his favourite traditions and experiences of a typical Irish Christmas. And Guruprasad tells us of his experience with moving to Ireland and beginning to celebrate Christmas here.

Meet Niall, a DevOps Engineer here with us at Neueda Technologies Athlone.

What are some of the most popular Christmas traditions/experiences that you uphold each year?

Christmas time every year we decorate our house inside and out, this started out small and has grown into add family tradition over the past number of years. Another tradition we have in Ireland is midnight mass (not at midnight), where the priest gives a lovely service, and the mass has Christmas carols at place playing throughout. We also have a tradition which marks the end of the Christmas period called little Christmas where the men of the house prepare a Christmas dinner while the women rest.

Is there anything about a Christmas in Ireland that differentiates it from other countries/cultures

I would say two things that differ in Ireland at Christmas time would be the 12 pubs of Christmas and Wren boys. The 12 pubs are where a group of people travel from one pub to another consuming a single beverage in each pub while following some rules for fun. The Wren boys are normally only seen in rural Ireland where people dress to represent the wren and going to pubs singing, dancing and playing music.

What’s your favourite thing(s) about Christmas or the festive period?

My favourite thing about the festive period is getting to spend more time with my family and reconnecting with at my friends from the local village from where I grew up.

If you got to show someone from other cultures how the Irish do Christmas… what would be the top things you would do?

I think everyone should experience the 12 pubs at least once in their lives, as it’s not for the faint hardhearted. The other thing I would like them to experience is the Christmas dip where people go for a swim in the ocean on Christmas Day followed by a hot whiskey to warm up.·

What is your favourite thing about Christmas dinner or food you have at Christmas time?

My favourite thing about Christmas dinner is we prepare it as a family, we are a family of 3 kids and my sisters and I each do something to help mum I.e. set the table, prep the veg, make dessert …

What traditional Irish food do you have at Christmas time?

At home, we have the traditional Turkey and ham with potatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots and stuffing, the stuffing been the most important.

What things will be different this year due to COVIDcovid? (good & bad)

This year is going to be a little different with COVID, normally on Christmas Eve we would visit both mom and dad’s families and exchange Christmas wishes and see how everyone is doing, but this year it will be all virtual.

Next, we meet Guruprasad, another DevOps engineer here at Neueda Technologies Athlone.

Prior to coming to Ireland had you celebrated Christmas before?

Frankly speaking, Hindu’s don’t celebrate Christmas. But I used to visit the church with my friends on Christmas Day. My Christen friend-circle was very small so never had the opportunity to celebrate it at scale.

What was your first experience(s) of Christmas?

After coming here into Ireland, Christmas felt like a festival of meeting and greeting people – friends and family. Gifting tradition felt amazing to me. The vibe of happiness and care feels amazing.

Do you enjoy partaking in the Christmas celebrations?

Of course, I do enjoy partaking in Christmas celebrations now.

Do you now celebrate Christmas to the full extent? Decorations, dinner, gift-giving?
Indeed, I started celebrating Christmas as just another festival that I celebrate my religion. Decorating Christmas tree, preparing food for Christmas Dinner are my favourite activities. Secret Santa remains the most liked.

What has become to be your favourite part or parts of Christmas?

No doubt, its meeting friends over Dinner, Traditional Christmas Turkey Dinner wearing Christmas Jumpers.

Saying all this, this year’s Christmas is going to be far different than any other. As Covid-19 restrictions are in place, family/friends gathering won’t happen which is sad but to stop the spread of Covid-19 it’s important too. Hoping the Virtual/Online Christmas celebration will be as fun as when we do it the normal way.

A big thanks to Niall and Guruprasad who participated in this blog.

Wishing you a very happy holiday season from all of us at Neueda!