As I have already told you, many phrases in Ireland begin with « I have a cousin who ». … For irish people in Ireland, I have a cousin who means that blood ties matter a lot… and this often includes close friends and neighbors. Thus by extension, it can also be « I have a friend who », or « I have a neighbour who »..
But for Irish people, I have a cousin who also means that blood ties matter a lot, sometimes more than skills… and this often includes close friends and neighbors. Some people are hired just because they have studied, (or even been at high- school) with somebody else. In case there is an issue to solve, the Irish first address somebody in particular because they know him/her, and so on. Nationwide, this creates a kind of fascinating spider web to observe. Thus,
Rule number 1: in Ireland NEVER say bad things about anyone, even in Dublin there is a real chance (or risk) that your interlocutor will know the person in question, or at least has a cousin who.. knows the person in question.
Rule number 2: even in the professional environment, keep the rule of « I have a cousin who » in a corner of your head, it will help you understand a lot of things, believe me.
Rule number 3: assume that absolutely ALL Irish « have a cousin who » lives in the USA and/or the UNITED Kingdom, even Australia. It must be understood that traditionally, Irish families were numerous, and a part of the offspring was due to emigration. This explains why in 2021, all Irish people have family in another english-speaking country. Because, well let’s face it, they are the champions of emigration, but not of multilingualism, they go to semi-familiar territory, where people speak the language of Shakespeare (which is also the language of Swift and Joyce, that’s convenient!)
Rule number 4: in case of problems, also assume that your neighbors have a cousin who can potentially help you/them. Being a neighbour is a real status in Ireland, and gives you unconditional access to neighbourhood solidarity, nothing to do with French neighbourhood chicanery or the rigour of German residents.
Rule number 5: this solidarity lasts from the beginning of kindergarten to the cemetery. I have a cousin who.. the grandmother/boss/the best friend etc. has just died, means you will have to go tot he ceremony. One of my colleagues had even said to me once with a smile « In Ireland you get a lot to funerals »
It’s a two way street as you say it here…food for thoughts..