Animal Crossing City Folk Music Extended Essay

Tom Nook is a rogue Tanuki elder from Pom Poko keeping the protagonist trapped...forever.

With his mystical energies and magical tanuki testicles, Tom has ingeniously trapped the human protagonist, for his own perverted pleasure. Thanks to Tom, they are stuck in a lie, an illusion, nothing is real here. All the residents are a clever deception of Nook. They'll be living and working in a pointless grind with Tom forever. Even when they wake up and realize there is no way to "win" this "endless game", they cannot hope to leave. The entire village is an inescapable physical trap. But best of all, Tom traps them with the greatest illusion of all - the illusion of debt.

This essay

    It's very long. 

If you have a Nintendo Gamecube, chances are, you have played Animal Crossing, and if you get through all of the quests Tom Nook sends you on, you will be forced to let the Happy Room Academy, or HRA, go into your house and give it a rating based on how well-designed it is. For most gamers the HRA is nothing more than an annoying group of people who examine your house and then give you a rating. For some gamers, impressing the HRA is an important quest because they want that elusive manor model to finish their re-creation of their town that they have in the basement. However, the HRA is not just this RPG’s “Evil Empire.” The HRA is actually a major symbol in Animal Crossing; the HRA symbolizes the main character’s insecurity. The main character, who we will call Spike for his Viking helmet, pays off tons of Bells to get his house remodeled and re-furnished so that he can get a high HRA score, but as he gets closer to having the required score of 100,000 HRA points needed to earn the respect of the HRA, and of course the manor model, Spike’s insecurity continues to make the HRA stronger. This analytical essay will take you all the way through the inner workings of the HRA and how these villains create the symbol of Spike’s insecurity flawlessly. When a new file is created, the first character in Animal Crossing Spike meets is Totakeke, also known as K.K. Slider. Like the HRA, K.K. Slider is also a symbol, but K.K. Slider is a symbol of a being a free man; he does not play his guitar to look “cool,” and he does not play his guitar to make money, which is demonstrated by the fact that he gives Spike his music for free. He represents an ideal of breaking free from inhibitions and insecurity. However, after Spike meets him and takes the train into town, Spike goes into town where he meets the main villain of Animal Crossing, Tom Nook. When Spike meets him, he has Spike pick one of four houses to live in, and then after Spike selects his house, Nook charges him 19,800 Bells, even though Spike only has 1,000 Bells. As a result, he forces Spike to fall into his trap by making Spike work at his store until he has enough money to pay off 1400 Bells of this huge 18,800-Bell debt. This part of the game makes Tom Nook seem less evil than the rest of the game does because he is the character who is running the “tutorial level” of Animal Crossing, thus gaining Spike’s trust. However, as soon as Spike finishes his part-time job, Tom Nook then waits at his store in ambush, and the next time he goes in to buy something, he forces Spike to represent the town in HRA inspections. This event is a turning point in the plotline of Animal Crossing because as soon as Spike gets his first letter from the HRA, he loses that free personality that is represented by K.K. Slider and then Spike is filled with the insecurity that is represented by Tom Nook and the HRA. The events of the beginning of Animal Crossing make this game an epic story of insecurity and breaking free of one’s inhibitions. Tom Nook and the HRA dominate Spike’s life for most of the game, as best seen in the mail that Spike receives. Every few days, the HRA sends a letter telling Spike his HRA score, a score based on the appearance of his house. This score raises Spike’s insecurity, especially if the player knows that the house model can be obtained by getting a score of 70,000, and that the manor model awaits for the great gamer who has a house that has a score of 100,000 points. While these letters already portray the HRA very well as a beast of insecurity, another series of annoying letters from Tom Nook himself truly reinforces this portrayal of the HRA as the ultimate symbol of Spike’s insecurity. Sometimes, Tom Nook sends a letter to Spike advertising some furniture that he carries at his store. When the player receives Nook’s letter and the HRA’s letter on the same day, a realization occurs; the HRA tells Spike that his house is nothing more than a smoldering pile of garbage, but then Tom Nook’s letter tells Spike that this problem can all be fixed by spending a few thousand Bells on some piece of furniture that Tom Nook carries, so the HRA and Tom Nook, the masters of Spike’s insecurity, are working together to control Spike. In addition, the mail also continues to be a means of binding Spike’s life to the insecurity that is the HRA through Pelly and Phyllis. Pelly and Phyllis run the counter at the post office, where Spike can pay off his debt on his house, making this house bigger. This relates to the HRA being a representation of Spike’s insecurity in a few ways. Pelly, Phyllis, and Pete, the post office staff, have no intentional connections to the HRA themselves. However, Pete carries the mail, including the letters from Tom Nook and the HRA, and also, in order to pay off his debt, Spike must go to the post office and talk to Pelly and Phyllis. Spike pays off his debt to Tom Nook, and in return, Nook gives Spike a larger house and more debt. Early in the game, Spike gets letters from the HRA telling him that his house is too small to have a high HRA score, so as a result, Spike’s insecurity is made stronger by the mentality that “bigger is always better,” and as a result, Spike gives his hard-earned money to Tom Nook, the master of his insecurity. Because of this, without even realizing it, Pelly, Phyllis, and Pete are actually puppets of evil, working for the HRA despite not being evil themselves. Like the mail, the very ways of raising one’s HRA score also demonstrate the HRA’s symbolism of Spike’s insecurity. For example, to have a high HRA score, Spike almost absolutely MUST have a theme to at least one floor of his house. This quest for a theme leaves Spike trying to find about ten different pieces of furniture as well as matching flooring and wallpaper. This quest, which can take a gamer a few months to complete without time travel and universal codes, conveys the idea that Spike’s insecurity leads him to always need more. It does not matter if Spike manages to collect every NES game and then the player uses Action Replay to get Spike copies of impossible-to-obtain games like Zelda and Super Mario Bros. The HRA will still tell Spike that he will never have a good gaming-themed house unless he gets his hands on Cyberball for the Sega Genesis (which was NOT put into Animal Crossing, so don’t go and try to use a universal code there). Spike’s insecurity is also seen in the quest for a high HRA score because of the fact that to get the highest possible HRA scores, he must have a theme, and cannot deviate from that theme. Why can’t Spike blast some sweet tracks from his retro stereo in the same room that has cabana flooring? I’ll tell you why. It is because they are from different themes, and Spike’s house can only have one theme; Spike needs to be labeled! Surprisingly, this form of HRA-driven insecurity is not just a form of insecurity that exists exclusively in Animal Crossing; it exists in the real world as well, despite the fact that there is no HRA in the real world. In middle school and high school, while the HRA does not actually exist as a formal organization, the same pressures exist as students try and maintain a label. These students will try to look like punks, goths, jocks, emo kids, skaters, preps, rappers, geeks, nerds, or all-around popular kids, all to gain the acceptance of their school’s HRA, the cliques that are in the school, and as a result, the quest to fit into a clique makes it so that many students give up their individuality to fit a label instead of being themselves, much like Spike is forced by the HRA to abandon his own idea of a house design in order to fit the label of the themes, series, and sets that will give him a high HRA score. The fact that insecurity exists in this form so commonly in the real world is surprising, but the fact that a real form of insecurity that is so remarkably similar to that of the HRA in Animal Crossing exists further strengthens the HRA’s appearance as the embodiment of Spike’s insecurity. Another thing that demonstrates the way the HRA symbolizes Spike’s insecurity is the fact that if Spike designs a wallpaper or floor design himself, he only gets a few HRA points for it, which once again demonstrates the fact that the HRA is forcing Spike to live with a label instead of being an individual. In addition, if in a town there is more than one player, the players in the town may compete with each other to get the highest HRA score, and since HRA scores are given in a measurable unit, Spike may end up competing with other human villagers in town in order to get the highest HRA score, once again giving Spike a “bigger is better mentality” that puts him on a quest to catch as many red snappers, barred knifejaws, and coelacanths and slam his shovel against every money rock in order to get the Bells needed in order to complete those themes and get any other valuable items that can maximize his HRA score. Also, the method by which the HRA looks at Spike’s house also relates to the HRA being a symbol of Spike’s insecurity; the HRA is able to go into Spike’s house at any time, and then they just keep looking at his house to determine a score based on the appearance of the house. The HRA employees are completely invisible to Spike, so there is nothing Spike can do about them coming into his house, rating his house, and then mailing him an HRA score. This further strengthens the HRA’s depiction as a symbol of Spike’s insecurity; the insecurity has complete access to his mind, much like the employees of the HRA having complete access to his house, and because of this, his insecurity could do anything to him. Therefore, the letters from the HRA, a symbol of Spike’s insecurity, represent Spike’s insecurity strengthening itself. The ideas of labeling one’s character and Tom Nook and the HRA symbolizing Spike’s insecurity are also further extended into Spike’s life in Animal Crossing when Spike leaves his town to go visit another player’s town. Tom Nook exists in every Animal Crossing town, which symbolizes the idea that Spike cannot escape the insecurity that haunts him even as he leaves his town to visit a friend. In addition, sometimes in order to get more furniture to complete a set and ultimately have a higher HRA score, some players choose to take Spike out of town to Animal Island and collect the island furniture, which can only be obtained using a Game Boy Advance. This is a particularly interesting symbol, as the Game Boy Advance costs money in real life. Since you control Spike and you are buying that Game Boy Advance, the act of getting Spike to Animal Island symbolizes Spike’s insecurity becoming so powerful that it reaches out as far as Spike’s Higher Self. However, the biggest example of the idea of labeling one’s character that exists when Spike leaves his town in Animal Crossing actually is related to a character that has absolutely nothing to do with Tom Nook or the HRA. This character is none other than Blanca, the faceless cat. Most of the time when Spike goes to another town, he meets Rover, the cat that he met at the very beginning of the game who he talked to on the train ride into town. However, occasionally on the ride into another town Spike will meet Blanca, a cat who has no face. The symbolism is obvious here. Blanca has Spike draw her a new face, which could be just about anything. In other words, she is letting him force a label onto her, much like Spike is insecure, and is therefore letting the HRA force a label onto his room design. Spike and Blanca have this similarity: they are both insecure characters who let others make their decisions instead of thinking for themselves in order to gain the acceptance of others. Earlier in this essay, I mentioned how K.K. Slider is a symbol of Spike being a free man. Because of this, I will now elaborate a little more about how he fits into the symbolism of Animal Crossing. K.K. Slider’s appearances in the game are mostly the appearances on Saturday nights to play his guitar at the train station. Saturday night itself is connected to Spike being a free man because Saturday is part of the weekend, so with Spike now enjoying the weekend, he can go to a K.K. Slider concert and enjoy being free from the evils of Tom Nook and the HRA, even if it is only for a little while. As I mentioned before, K.K. Slider has the cool personality of a guy who is just being himself. At the very beginning of the game, K.K. Slider talks to Spike about the beginning of a new life as a free man, and being the first character in Animal Crossing that the player and Spike meet, K.K. Slider takes the appearance as a role model and a hero. Even after K.K. Slider’s message of freedom is destroyed by Spike’s encounters with Tom Nook and the HRA, K.K. Slider still enters the town on Saturday nights, which symbolizes him entering Spike’s mind and reminding Spike that he is a free man and that he should not let the HRA, Tom Nook, or any other forces of evil defeat him and create a new and insecure Spike. Tom Nook and the HRA are two of the most evil villains in the history of gaming, as well as the ultimate symbols of Spike’s insecurity, Blanca’s insecurity, and even the insecurity of real people. They clash with K.K. Slider, Animal Crossing’s symbol of freedom from inhibitions, so that they can try to control Spike and force him to work in the quest to live under a label, compete with other human villagers to have the best looking home, and throw away individuality, all in the name of one pointless and evil number: Spike’s HRA score. The fact that there is no escape from Tom Nook and the HRA even if Spike goes into a friend’s town or Animal Island as well as the fact that the HRA employees can waltz into Spike’s house at any time demonstrate that Spike has a quest to break free of his inhibitions, but that this quest is very difficult to succeed in. The quest seems impossible, but the fact that Spike is a human villager in a town of animals conveys the idea that Spike is an individual, and that no matter how powerful Tom Nook and the HRA are in Spike’s mind, Spike will not give in to his insecurity and become less of an individual just to please the villains of Animal Crossing. Animal Crossing is not about having a theme for Spike’s house and the quest to get the 100,000 points needed to get the coveted manor model. That is just what the villains of the game are telling Spike so he gives up his individuality and gives in to his insecurity to get a six-digit HRA score. Animal Crossing is a man’s quest to break free of an insecurity that has dominated his life, no matter how far he has to escape to. This symbol is seen most strongly in the fact that whenever Spike listens to K.K. Slider play his guitar; the credits roll, which symbolizes Spike’s victory. Maybe someday in a later game, Spike will have a boss battle with Tom Nook and finally defeat this insecurity that has left players trying to impress the HRA for three games, but until that game is released, just fill Spike’s house with whatever furniture you want, get out an Action Replay, use the C-Stick to grow, and Z-button jump over Tom Nook and the HRA once and for all!
  • I've seen this as vandalism on the Animal Crossing Wiki
  • That has a lot of detail

The villagers are furries, and the player is a closeted furry.

Notice how you are human, yet the others are animals. Over time, as you become more comfortable with your inner furry, you gain more and more animal traits.
  • This makes both a lot of sense and no sense at all.
  • Traits such as?
    • What animal traits? You interact with the animals the same way from your first day to the last time you turn off the game. Besides, I do not think it's possible to be a "closet furry," you ether like upright animals or you don't, unless you are into the freaky "furry lifestyle" thing or worse... yiff...
      • It's completely possible to be a 'closeted furry,' just as it's possible to be a 'closeted homosexual'— It doesn't mean you're not a furry, it means you're in denial about or disgusted at relating to/being attracted to anthropomorphic animals.
      • Um... not all furries are lustful or into the porn aspect of the fandom. Many just "Like anthropomorphic animals"
  • See... the truth is a sort of Lighter and Softer version of The Terrible Secret of Animal Crossing. Moving to town, you meet a bunch of furry animals. None of them seem to think it's odd that they're all furry animals, or that you're the only human on the island. In fact, they're very friendly and accepting of you! Gradually you become more comfortable around them, helping them out with odd jobs, choosing friends and favorites. Eventually, however, you'll probably stop playing. When you've truly abandoned your town, your character transforms into an animal just like the others, becoming just another animal resident, just another NPC. But as long as you keep playing, you'll stave off the transformation.
  • This would sort of tie in with a WMG about Cheburashka.
  • You know, even though I am a furry, I wish people would stop labeling every single thing that has to do with anthropomorphic animals with furries. Remember when anthropomorphic animals were an innocent concept for kids? I can't look anywhere without people comparing any form of anthropomorphic animals to yiffing. Not all furries do that, and it's insulting when we're "all" labeled as perverts.
    • By definition animal-centric works are furry. The most common definition of "furry" is someone who enjoys animal characters.

Your human character is a stranded and lonely schizophrenic with a split personality.

Your human character is actually not living in an animal village; rather, he/she has been lost in the woods for so long, that he/she has begun to hallucinate into thinking that the animals can talk, walk, and interact with each other like humans. The six basic personalities that the animals have are your own split personalities talking to you. The letters; the city; the buildings; the festivals? All figments of your imagination. The other humans that live in your village? That's just the same human you, thinking that you are someone else. The humans that visit your town? Imaginary friends. Whenever an animal moves out; either you killed and ate them or some other animal did. The whole game is just you, lost in the woods, away from society, trying to compensate for your loneliness.
  • That would explain why the snowmen can talk.
  • And why the Wii version of the game lacks split-screen, despite increased CPU power and resolution vs. the DS. The other humans in your town can't show up at the same time as you because they are you.

Animal Crossing takes place in a mostly-isolated village after the events of Undertale - maybe a few years in the future.

The anthromorphic animals are really monsters who were freed from the Underground in the Pacifist ending. The reason they don't react to a human, and you don't react to them, is because this happened a few years ago and people have gotten used to it. Perhaps the village the player moves to is one mainly inhabited by monsters, but they don't mind taking in a friendly young human.
  • Plus, the protagonists of both games are both children who rarely speak, predominately have one expression, and have the power to mess with time and RESET. Heck, Resetti and Sans are similar in that regard.

The humans in Animal Crossing are just Tom Nook's indentured servants.

Despite being welcomed in as new "residents", they are all quickly put to work. Whether it's delivering mail or various packages for the 'real' residents, handing Tom Nook almost all of your hard-earned cash (there is no way putting in an extra room should run you nearly a cool million) and acting as the town gardener for no compensation, you do it all for very little. Only when Nook feels he's made enough off of you, are you truly free.
  • Adding a room might cost a million bells when 1 bell is worth an estimated 0.01 USD.
    • It IS just a leaf with a punch taken out of it, after all. I'd be hard pressed to trade even a dozen leaves for a penny in this economy.
      • Bells == leaf is Jossed since Wild World, let alone City Folk. In Wild World, one can pull coins worth 100 bells out of the wallet, which show up as metallic-looking coins in the inventory. So unless they're made from the leaves of a money tree planted with a golden shovel...
    • Alternatively, bells are real but Nook's bells are leaves. Being a tanuki, he's already messed with physics by changing furniture and stuff into leaves- why not make money from them too? That doesn't mean he can't get free labor from unsuspecting new kids, though. On the subject of 'overpriced' rooms, they ARE based on yen- closer to pennies than dollars.

Animal Crossing is a hallucination of Shinji Ikari.

It had to be done.
  • A happy-happy village composed of animals and no human being for a whole mile? Yes, totally Shinji Ikari's dream.
    • Shinji is secretly a furry? *claps slowly* Nice.
      • Not exactly, just suggesting he hates people.

The "glasses cases" you deliver are just carrying cases for a mind-altering drug produced by Nook to compete with the illicit turnip trade.

Have you ever seen anyone who asks for their glasses case actually wear glasses?
  • They could wear reading glasses.

Tom Nook is the leader of the mob.

You know it's true.

The town of Boondox does not actually exist. All the money you donate to it goes straight to the mayor's pockets.

Repeatedly hinted at in-game, but never quite confirmed. All but confirmed in the Wii game, which replaces the option to donate to Boondox with the option to donate to your own town's civic fund.
  • Money donated in the Wii version goes to the building of a bridge, fountain and windmill/lighthouse, not the mayor's pocket.
    • It does raise the interesting question over why the village is a ghetto when you first step foot into it with over half of the shops in the town center shut down and a lot of public amenities missing, and yet Tortimer can afford to retire comfortably to a paradise island, in New Leaf
      • Some special characters will occasionally tell the player how they consider them a much better mayor than Tortimer ever was, which only continues to raise questions of his tenure in office.

Gyroids are Soul Jars

You know those animals that write letters saying they're going away? This is actually some sort of funerary ritual, in which the deceasing member of the community sends a goodbye letter one day before his predicted death. Then their bodies are disposed on the sea, and the natives bury a funerary statue somewhere. And here comes the creepiest part: the soul of the deceased never leave the village! They come back to haunt the same funerary statues that have been buried in honor to them. And that's why the gyroids can move and... boink. Or whatever sound they make.
  • To make matters worse, the gyroids look similar to a Haniwa, clay figures which, in Japanese rituals, would be buried with the deceased.
    • In the Animal Crossing Movie, they call gyroids Haniwas.
  • But in the DS game, they sometimes just move to another person's town (probably one of your "friends"). When you go to their town, he/she will recognize you and say, "Hey I haven't seen you in a while" or something like that.
    • This is also true for the Gamecube game. If you have two memory cards, you can get rid of villagers you don't like (or who don't like you) by visiting your second town. However, sometimes you'll lose well-liked villagers this way.
      • Taken further in New Leaf where new villagers can even arrive from a town of a player you only streetpassed. And they will talk about their previous town occasionally.
      • Not to mention in New Leaf, animals that move away will randomly appear downtown to visit.
  • This is probably made worse in the DS game. Just before the villager moves out, he/she/it packs up their things, and you can convince them to stay and not move out. Between the vague memories and the above suggestion, the conversations with moving-out villagers sound quite a bit like you just stopped them from commiting suicide.

The village is a Secret Test of Character .

  • The entire game is a trial period as mayor to see if you're fit to be the real mayor. Because let's face it, real mayors don't spend their time socializing with random citizens, doing their errands for them, and installing mostly useless things such as fire hydrants.

The player is an artificial human.

  • Humans are rare in the Animal Crossing world and the player's mother and father are some of the last humans left but could not reproduce on their own, so they got the animals to clone one of them, when the player is of age they are shipped off to live in the town. Rover is waiting on the bus to serve as your guide and the reason you have to work for Nook is to understand how to live properly in this world, It also explains why the player dosn't know any emotions besides that smile they have.
    • Why couldn't a clone feel emotions?
    • Errors in the cloning process*
    • Getting stung by a bee certainly seems to get a reaction, as well as the joy shown when getting out of debt and the like...

Tom Nook is actually a former contractor who founded the island with a partner who perished long ago, and harvests the organs of the residents for his wife Penny to use to replace her own.

  • And this is why Chewbot is the man.
  • You should also warn people that reading that will probably make you terrified to sleep at night, because you're secretly living in a large, real-world equivalent of Camp and you don't even know it. Or worse— you do.

Adding to the above: Gyroids slowly turn you into an animal.

Which is why it's called "Animal Crossing".

You play a retired secret agent.

  • You wake up one day in a mysterious house. You're the only normal person in town. The others seem to come and go at random. The whole place is shut off from the outside world except for a well-guarded exit controlled by the town and a shoreline that has, at most, one active boat, and is the site of odd things, or half-dead people, constantly washing up onto the beach. Both of these routes only take you to another near-identical village, and even then you inevitably return to your home town anyway. The nominal leader is rarely if ever seen and does nothing at all, but the "second" most powerful figure controls absolutely everything, and yet only ever seems to do any business with you, nobody else. The only buildings are oddly decorated houses, a single clothing store, a single other store that sells everything else, a town hall, which does everything, and a museum, which also revolves entirely around you for no apparent reason. There is only one source of news for the town, and it only ever covers local things. Very local things. And personal ads. Violations of the rules are enforced by an unstoppable entity who will attack you at the drop of a hat when summoned. Incredibly often, the whole town breaks out into a random bizarre celebration. And the most popular fashion accessory? Bizarre parasols.

    What am I describing: Animal Crossing, or The Prisoner?
    • "Who are you?" - "The new Tom Nook." - "Who is the mayor?" - "You are the player." - "I am not a player, I am a FREE MAN!"

Animal Crossing is Purgatory. (Someone had to say it.)

When you are first taken there, it's dark and rainy outside. You then have to pay the taxi driver, like Charon across the River Styx. Once there, you're forced to perform repetitive tasks to pay off an arbitrary debt. And even after you pay it off in two months, you still can't escape. And have you ever thought why you have to collect Bells? It's a pseudo-reference to the 108 bells that must be tolled before you can enter the cycle of reincarnation in Buddhist mythology.
  • Funny you should mention it...
    • And like I mentioned on a WMG near the bottom, when the animals move out, it's because they were so friendly to you they earned their wings and ascended to heaven.

Tortimer is just a puppet ruler

Tortimer is just a figurehead. The real ruler is Tom Nook. He controls the economy, as he is the only one who gives out bells, and he puts all incoming residents to work for him. Nook maintains an iron-fisted stranglehold on the town, no products go in or out of town unless he sells it in his store.
  • This isn't canon?
  • In one of the games, one of the animals even pretty much told me along the lines that "Tom Nook's shadow stretches across the entire village"

Gyroids are the worker-slaves of a long dead civilization, singing to ease the pain of eternal life with no meaning.

Golems. Also Ood. Long ago, the Gyroids worked for the civilization that built and knew how to control them. The civilization died out, either by landslide/volcano or by plague. The Gyroids that were inactive simply stayed where they were, and those that were preforming a task when their controllers died either stopped, kept going until the task was complete or the object of the task was destroyed, or still wander the earth to this day. After a few hundred million years, they started singing (either because they're sick of immortality, or the humming is a sort of "check engine light".)

Dung beetles adapted to making use of snowballs in the Animal Crossing world.

Wild World and City Folk have dung beetles. They're dung beetles, so they're found pushing balls of dung, right? Wrong. They always push snowballs and never appear in seasons other than winter due to this. Why is this? Well, take a look around you. Before you moved in, your new hometown was inhabited entirely by sapient animals. Sapient, like you and me. Thus, they are obviously capable of knowing not to do their business out in the open. Dung beetles, being beetles who make balls of dung, will have a hard time finding any dung, so they use snow instead. Apparently it works fine. Oh, and those snowballs you find sitting around your town? Dung beetles made them, because everyone knows that snow doesn't spontaneously form into balls.
  • But a dung beetle in a cage/box/whatever pushes a brownish-grey ball of... something that's not snow.
    • Clearly, dirt. It has to be put on the floor of the cage for the insects to live more comfortably!

Tom Nook secretly lives in your house.

The animals go inside your house all the time and bring up in conversation that they did some cartwheels on your floor when you weren't home (creepy, yes). Tom Nook doesn't sell any sort of locking mechanism because "he" likes to go in your house. He's just waiting for when you get bored and stop playing. Then he moves in. He keeps the house spic and span while you are gone, except for the cockroaches, which are his primary source of food (he buys your bugs, people!). He wants you to keep expanding your house because he wants more room. He purposely makes the game repetitive so that you will get bored and allow him to move in. If you play for eternity without taking breaks, YOU WIN.
  • In Rune Factory, and Rune Factory Frontier. There's this crazy girl named Mist who sometimes you can find inside your house... just standing there... though what you said is ten times creepier than this.

Tom Nook is secretly a superhero!

Sure, he could be a mob boss, but think about it... He owns the most profitable business in town, is never seen at night, is an animal that is primarily associated with shadows (except in Japan, since that's the only place where people know he's a Raccoon Dog), has two kids hanging around with him, and has a well-known symbol as his logo. Thus, he is.. The Tanuki Avenger, bringer of justice and cheap furniture! He has a "Nook Cave" under his store with a Nook Mobile that drives out of a hidden tunnel entrance, and he only does his crime fighting at night (which is why the player never sees him after closing time). The observatory in the museum doubles as a Nook Signal. Also, Phyllis killed his parents.
  • This made my day.
    • It's jossed in New Leaf. He shows up in The Roost after Midnight if you have it built.
  • it does raise an interesting point regarding his modus operandi when he upgrades your house (and this is based on true observations on my copy of Animal Crossing):
    • 1. Why does he wait for the player to leave the house before he upgrades it?, and
    • 2. How is he able to finish the upgrade in between 20-30 seconds flat (depending on whether you're using a class 4 or class 6 SD card)?

Tom Nook has connections with the Psychonauts

He runs a summer camp and he has you do meaningless tasks and dig up things in exchange for token rewards. No way that's a coincidence.
  • Did you mean Holes?
    • New theory! Tom Nook is Ford and your town is Whispering Rock in disguise and Psychonauts is Post-Apocalyptic Holes.

Tom Nook is a philanthropic magical forger.

He uses the bells to buy things and trade up so he can replenish his mana pool in order to make more bells out of leaves, in order to add to the local economy. He's a creep about it because repeatedly using almost all of your mana while trying to keep your philanthropy a secret tends to do that. If he didn't, the animals would have little modern convenience and be stuck out in the middle of nowhere while the humans live it up in their city of invisible people (...philanthropomorphic?). Going to all this trouble is also why he wants you to help so much: it's either to make at least one human atone by working for the other animals, make himself believe that humans aren't all bad, or (my preferred version) begin bridging the gap between the humans and Animal Crossing species/breeds/races/whatever.

Ruby Quest is canon in the Animal Crossing universe.

Hey, why not?
  • A rabbit named Ruby, a cat named Tom, a fox named Red(d), a bird named Ace, and a squirrel named Filbert.

Tom Nook is not the bad guy.

  • Most other ideas on Animal Crossing assume that Tom Nook is evil because he's the one in charge of all the money, and the one constantly giving you debt. Not true. There is another force constantly trying to get you to redecorate your house and improve it. The HRA. By the time you've got enough money to pay off your initial debt (which is just Nook being selfish), you've probably got a house the HRA can approve, if reluctantly, and now that they've noticed the town, Nook has to keep upgrading your house and his shop so that he can avoid angering them. If they decide that your house is unsatisfactory, or the town is unsatisfactory, they remove it. Tom Nook is the only thing preventing them from completely destroying the town.
    • Jossed in New Leaf, Tom Nook is working alongside the HRA. Sure Lyle is a sleazebucket who is heavily implied to have been scamming you along with Redd in Wild World. But Tom Nook and Lyle in the same building together? Who knows what diabolical schemes those two are planning when they're alone...
    • Except Word of God says he's not a bad guy. So...

The Gyroids are peace offerings from aliens.

A long time ago, let's say a couple centuries, a race of alien creatures came to Earth hoping to form an alliance, maybe even a friendship, with the people of our planet. They began executing their plan by leaving gifts of small, mechanical statues that sing and dance buried deep within the ground. Eventually, when all the Gyroids are dug up, they will return to Earth and try to directly contact our civilization.
  • Alternately the Gyroids are the contact message and once one of every type is assembled the noises they make will play the message with instructions on how to contact the aliens. Or they are pieces of a mathematical equation for faster then light travel that humans will decode when they are ready.
  • These aliens may be from the same race as Gulliver, because he also gives tokens of peace between their two planets to the player for helping him.

The villagers speak Japanese with English thrown in

Translation Convention with Gratuitous English. The talking sounds like gibberish in English but you can make out certain words that were changed to sound more En. In JPN it also sounds like gibberish but the syllables make more sense since it's translated JPN.
  • Listen closely enough to Rover in City Folk. He almost sounds Australian.
  • I've heard "nani?" when some villagers say "What?"

The Gyroids are controlling everything.

The game was an experiment by the Gyroids to see how animals and/or people would react to living in a situation were they had little to no contact with the rest of society or something similar to that. The Gyroids in the game are actually cameras used to monitor everyone, like the spy dolls in Coraline. The Gyroids are actually planning everything down to the last detail. What? Don't look at me like that, this is a WMG.

The village of Animal Crossing is located in a totalitarian Crapsaccharine World. (Inspired by the previous WMG)

Think about it. Tom Nook (the actual leader of the village) has near-complete control of the village's economy and when he tells the player about the HRA (which is actually a government organization which aims to keep tabs on the town's citizens), he either persuades him/her to join it (if the player says yes) or signs them up anyway (if s/he says no). Tortimer is just a puppet leader so the locals don't get suspicous of what is going on. Boondox is a hoax (as stated in a previous WMG) in an attempt to get citizens to donate to the government, funding the further oppresion of the people and the facade of a Sugar Bowl. Resetti appears so the player does not interfere with the governing of the country by resetting the game. After all, the government can't have citizens being granted god-like powers over the town! Crazy Redd is actually a freedom fighter who sells counterfeit goods to raise money for the anti-goverment resistance. ...And that's about it.

Blathers has narcolepsy.

He gets excited telling people about filling up the museum with exhibits. Then he falls asleep.
  • Not narcoleptic, just nocturnal. Visit the museum after the sun has set and he'll be alert.

Sonic the Hedgehog and Animal Crossing are set in the same world.

Both feature humans living alongside large-headed anthropomorphic animals, with nobody considering this unusual. Sonic is a distant relative of the Able Sisters, but doesn't often visit because he interferes with people's fishing by running everywhere.
  • Or he doesn't because.. everyone is dead. The game may take place thousands of years ago.
    • So based on the in-game calendar, that'd make it a reverse The Village.
    • Maybe Tom Nook led to the city's downfall...

NPC houses are built Welsh style.

In the game, a sign transforms into an NPC villager's house overnight. Such Ridiculously Fast Construction is plausible even in our world; see Welsh one-night houses.

Brewster is somehow secretly related to Sanae from The World Ends with You

Think about it: they both run coffee shops, have a rather laidback attitude towards life, Brewster is an animal and Sanae can transform into Panthera Cantus.

Rover is God.

Think about it. In City Folk, he's the one you talk to to change the time (without using the system clock that is). If you do it through him, the consequences are far worse than just time traveling using the Wii clock, thus implying that Rover is the cause of all of these things being so much worse. Also, he has the power to destroy your town, kill (delete) another player, and create a whole new town in general. Finally, when your character starts out, Rover is the first thing you see, and by choosing certain reactions in your conversation with him, it affects your character's appearance. Thus, Rover is God!

Kapp'n is married to Leilani

Kapp'n is a boat driver from a tropical island in the Tortimer Sea. He is a Kappa who drives a boat and sings about a girl who he liked when he was a teenager (And cucumbers) His name is a combination of Captain and Kappa. With a ocean accent people pronounce captain, cap-in. Anyway enough about his name origin (I will do another chapter on him later in the book (Is this even a book? I dunno) It's revealed that the girl is in fact Leilani

The culture of Ireland includes customs and traditions, language, music, art, literature, folklore, cuisine and sports associated with Ireland and the Irish people. For most of its recorded history, Ireland's culture has been primarily Gaelic (see Gaelic Ireland). It has also been influenced by Anglo-Norman, English and Scottish culture. The Anglo-Normansinvaded Ireland in the 12th century, while the 16th/17th century conquest and colonization of Ireland saw the emergence of the Anglo-Irish and Scots-Irish (or Ulster Scots). Today, there are notable cultural differences between those of Catholic and Protestant (especially Ulster Protestant) background, and between travellers and the settled population.

Due to large-scale emigration from Ireland, Irish culture has a global reach and festivals such as Saint Patrick's Day, Halloween, are celebrated all over the world.[1] Irish culture has to some degree been inherited and modified by the Irish diaspora, which in turn has influenced the home country.

Though there are many unique aspects of Irish culture, it shares substantial traits with those of Britain, other English-speaking countries, other predominantly Catholic European countries, and the other Celtic nations.

Farming and rural tradition[edit]

As archaeological evidence from sites such as the Céide Fields in County Mayo and Lough Gur in County Limerick demonstrates, farming in Ireland is an activity that goes back to the very beginnings of human settlement. In historic times, texts such as the Táin Bó Cúailinge show a society in which cattle represented a primary source of wealth and status. Little of this had changed by the time of the Norman invasion of Ireland in the 12th century. Giraldus Cambrensis portrayed a Gaelic society in which cattle farming and transhumance was the norm.

Townlands, villages, parishes and counties[edit]

The Normans replaced traditional clan land management (Brehon Law) with the manorial system of land tenure and social organisation. This led to the imposition of the village, parish and county over the native system of townlands. In general, a parish was a civil and religious unit with a manor, a village and a church at its centre. Each parish incorporated one or more existing townlands into its boundaries. With the gradual extension of English feudalism over the island, the Irish county structure came into existence and was completed in 1610.

These structures are still of vital importance in the daily life of Irish communities. Apart from the religious significance of the parish, most rural postal addresses consist of house and townland names. The village and parish are key focal points around which sporting rivalries and other forms of local identity are built and most people feel a strong sense of loyalty to their native county, a loyalty which also often has its clearest expression on the sports field.

Land ownership and land hunger[edit]

With the Elizabethan English conquest, the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, and the organised plantations of English and Scottish settlers, the patterns of land ownership in Ireland were altered greatly. The old order of transhumance and open range cattle breeding died out to be replaced by a structure of great landed estates, small tenant farmers with more or less precarious hold on their leases, and a mass of landless labourers. This situation continued up to the end of the 19th century, when the agitation of the Land League began to bring about land reform. In this process of reform, the former tenants and labourers became land owners, with the great estates being broken up into small- and medium-sized farms and smallholdings. The process continued well into the 20th century with the work of the Irish Land Commission. This contrasted with Britain, where many of the big estates were left intact. One consequence of this is the widely recognised cultural phenomenon of "land hunger" amongst the new class of Irish farmer. In general, this means that farming families will do almost anything to retain land ownership within the family unit, with the greatest ambition possible being the acquisition of additional land. Another is that hillwalkers in Ireland today are more constrained than their counterparts in Britain, as it is more difficult to agree rights of way with so many small farmers involved on a given route, rather than with just one landowner.

Holidays and festivals[edit]

Main articles: Gaelic calendar and Public holidays in the Republic of Ireland

The majority of the Irish calendar today still reflects the old pagan customs, with later Christian traditions also having significant influences. Christmas in Ireland has several local traditions, some in no way connected with Christianity. On 26 December (St. Stephen's Day), there is a custom of "Wrenboys"[2] who call door to door with an arrangement of assorted material (which changes in different localities) to represent a dead wren "caught in the furze", as their rhyme goes.

The national holiday in the Republic of Ireland is Saint Patrick's Day, that falls on the date 17 March and is marked by parades and festivals in cities and towns across the island of Ireland, and by the Irish diaspora around the world. The festival is in remembrance to Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Pious legend credits Patrick with the banishing of the snakes from the island, and the legend also credits Patrick with teaching the Irish about the concept of the Trinity by showing people the shamrock, a 3-leaved clover, using it to highlight the Christian belief of 'three divine persons in the one God'.

In Northern Ireland on The Twelfth of July, commemorates William III's victory at the Battle of the Boyne is a public holiday. The holiday is celebrated by Irish Protestants the vast majority of whom live in Northern Ireland and is notable for the numerous parades organized by the Orange Order which take place throughout Northern Ireland. These parades are colourful affairs with Orange Banners and sashes on display and include music in the form of traditional songs such as The Sash and Derry's Walls performed by a mixture of Pipe, Flute, Accordion, and Brass marching bands.

Brigid's Day (1 February, known as Imbolc or Candlemas) also does not have its origins in Christianity, being instead another religious observance superimposed at the beginning of spring. The Brigid's cross made from rushes represents a pre-Christian solar wheel.[citation needed]

Other pre-Christian festivals, whose names survive as Irish month names, are Bealtaine (May), Lúnasa (August) and Samhain (November). The last is still widely observed as Halloween which is celebrated all over the world, including in the United States followed by All Saints' Day, another Christian holiday associated with a traditional one. Important church holidays include Easter, and various Marian observances.

Religion[edit]

Main article: Religion in Ireland

Christianity in the form of both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism is the most widely practiced religion in Ireland.[3][4] Christianity was brought to Ireland during or prior to the 5th century[5] and its early history among the Irish is in particular associated with Saint Patrick, who is generally considered Ireland's patron saint.[6] The Celtic festival of Samhain, known as Halloween, originated in Ireland and is now celebrated all over the world.[7]

Ireland is a place where religion and religious practice have always been held in high esteem. The majority of people on the island are Roman Catholics; however, there is a significant minority of Protestants who are mostly concentrated in Northern Ireland, where they make up a plurality of the population. The three main Protestant denominations on the island are the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and the Methodist Church in Ireland. These are also joined by numerous other smaller denominations including Baptists, several American gospel groups and the Salvation Army. As well as these Protestant Churches, other minority denominations include Eastern Orthodox, Jehovah's Witnesses and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). In addition to the Christian denominations there are centres for Buddhists, Hindus, Bahais, Pagans and for people of the Islamic and Jewish faiths.

In the Republic of Ireland, the last time a census asked people to specify their religion was in 2011. The result was 84.16% Roman Catholic, 2.81% Church of Ireland (Anglican), 1.07% Islam, 0.54% Presbyterian, 0.9% Christian, 0.99% Orthodox, approximately 2.07% other religious groupings and 5.88% identified as having no religion. About 1.59% did not state their religious identity.[8] Amongst the Republic's Roman Catholics, weekly church attendance dropped from 87% in 1981 to 60% in 1998, though this remained one of the highest attendance rates in Europe.

In Northern Ireland in 2011, the population was 40.8% Roman Catholic, 19.1% Presbyterian, 13.7% Church of Ireland (Anglican), 3% Methodist, 5.8% other Christian, 0.8% other religion and philosophy, 10.1% with no religion and 6.8% religion not stated.[9]

Folklore[edit]

Main article: Irish mythology

The Leprechaun has been estimated to figure to a large degree in Irish folklore. According to the tales, the leprechaun is a mischievous fairy type creature in emerald green clothing who when not playing tricks spend all their time busily making shoes, the Leprechaun is said to have a pot of gold hidden at the end of the rainbow, and if ever captured by a human it has the magical power to grant three wishes in exchange for release.[10] More acknowledged and respected in Ireland are the stories of Fionn mac Cumhaill and his followers, the Fianna, form the Fenian cycle. Legend has it he built the Giant's Causeway as stepping-stones to Scotland, so as not to get his feet wet; he also once scooped up part of Ireland to fling it at a rival, but it missed and landed in the Irish Sea — the clump became the Isle of Man and the pebble became Rockall, the void became Lough Neagh. The Irish king Brian Boru who ended the domination of the so-called High Kingship of Ireland by the Uí Néill, is part of the historical cycle. The Irish princess Iseult is the adulterous lover of Tristan in the Arthurian romance and tragedy Tristan and Iseult. The many legends of ancient Ireland were captured by Lady Gregory in two volumes with forwards by W.B. Yeats. These stories depict the unusual power and status that Celtic women held in ancient times.

Halloween is a traditional and much celebrated holiday in Ireland on the night of 31 October.[11] The name Halloween is first attested in the 16th century as a Scottish shortening of the fuller All-Hallows-Eve,[12] and according to some historians it has its roots in the gaelic festival Samhain, where the Gaels believed the border between this world and the otherworld became thin, and the dead would revisit the mortal world.[13]

In Ireland, traditional Halloween customs include; Guising — children disguised in costume going from door to door requesting food or coins – which became practice by the late 19th century,[14][15]turnips hollowed-out and carved with faces to make lanterns,[14] holding parties where games such as apple bobbing are played.[16] Other practices in Ireland include lighting bonfires, and having firework displays.[17] Mass transatlantic Irish and Scottish immigration in the 19th century popularised Halloween in North America.[18]

Literature and the arts[edit]

Main articles: Irish literature, Irish poetry, Irish fiction, Irish theatre, Irish mythology, Modern literature in Irish, Music of Ireland, and Irish dance

For a comparatively small place, the island of Ireland has made a disproportionate contribution to world literature in all its branches, in both the Irish and English languages. The island's most widely known literary works are undoubtedly in English. Particularly famous examples of such works are those of James Joyce, Bram Stoker, Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde and Ireland's four winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature; William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney. Three of the four Nobel prize winners were born in Dublin (Heaney being the exception, having lived in Dublin but being born in County Londonderry), making it the birthplace of more Nobel literary laureates than any other city in the world.[20] The Irish language has the third oldest literature in Europe (after Greek and Latin),[21] the most significant body of written literature (both ancient and recent) of any Celtic language, as well as a strong oral tradition of legends and poetry. Poetry in Irish represents the oldest vernacular poetry in Europe, with the earliest examples dating from the 6th century.

The early history of Irish visual art is generally considered to begin with early carvings found at sites such as Newgrange and is traced through Bronze age artefacts, particularly ornamental gold objects, and the Celtic brooches and illuminated manuscripts of the "Insular" Early Medieval period. During the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, a strong indigenous tradition of painting emerged, including such figures as John Butler Yeats, William Orpen, Jack Yeats and Louis le Brocquy.

The Irish tradition of folk music and dance is also widely known. In the middle years of the 20th century, as Irish society was attempting to modernise, traditional Irish music fell out of favour to some extent, especially in urban areas. Young people at this time tended to look to Britain and, particularly, the United States as models of progress and jazz and rock and roll became extremely popular. During the 1960s, and inspired by the American folk music movement, there was a revival of interest in the Irish tradition. This revival was inspired by groups like The Dubliners, the Clancy Brothers and Sweeney's Men and individuals like Seán Ó Riada. The annual Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is the largest festival of Irish music in Ireland.

Before long, groups and musicians like Horslips, Van Morrison and even Thin Lizzy were incorporating elements of traditional music into a rock idiom to form a unique new sound. During the 1970s and 1980s, the distinction between traditional and rock musicians became blurred, with many individuals regularly crossing over between these styles of playing as a matter of course. This trend can be seen more recently in the work of bands like U2, Snow Patrol, The Cranberries, The Undertones and The Corrs.

Irish Nobel Prize in Literature laureates

Languages[edit]

Main article: Languages of Ireland

Irish and English are the most widely spoken languages in Ireland. English is the most widely spoken language on the island overall, and Irish is spoken as a first language only by a small minority, primarily, though not exclusively, in the government-defined Gaeltacht regions in the Republic. A larger minority speak Irish as a second language, with 40.6% of people in the Republic of Ireland claiming some ability to speak the language in the 2011 census.[22] Article 8 of the Constitution of Ireland states that Irish is the national and first official language of the Republic of Ireland.[23] English in turn is recognised as the State's second official language.[23]Hiberno-English, the dialect of English spoken in most of the Republic of Ireland, has been greatly influenced by Irish.[24]

In contrast Northern Ireland, like the rest of the United Kingdom, has no official language. English, however, is the de facto official language. In addition, Irish and Ulster Scots have recognition under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, with 8.1% claiming some ability in Ulster Scots and 10.7% in Irish.[25] In addition, the dialect and accent of the people of Northern Ireland is noticeably different from that of the majority in the Republic of Ireland, being influenced by Ulster Scots and Northern Ireland's proximity to Scotland.

Several other languages are spoken on the island, including Shelta, a mixture of Irish, Romany and English, spoken widely by Travellers. Two sign languages have also been developed on the island, Northern Irish Sign Language and Irish Sign Language.

Some other languages have entered Ireland with immigrants – for example, Polish is now the second most widely spoken language in Ireland after English, Irish being the third most commonly spoken language.[26]

Food and drink[edit]

Main article: Irish cuisine

Early Ireland[edit]

There are many references to food and drink in early Irish literature. Honey seems to have been widely eaten and used in the making of mead. The old stories also contain many references to banquets, although these may well be greatly exaggerated and provide little insight into everyday diet. There are also many references to fulacht fia, which are archaeological sites commonly believed to have once been used for cooking venison. The fulacht fia have holes or troughs in the ground which can be filled with water. Meat can then be cooked by placing hot stones in the trough until the water boils. Many fulach fia sites have been identified across the island of Ireland, and some of them appear to have been in use up to the 17th century.

Excavations at the Viking settlement in the Wood Quay area of Dublin have produced a significant amount of information on the diet of the inhabitants of the town. The main animals eaten were cattle, sheep and pigs, with pigs being the most common. This popularity extended down to modern times in Ireland. Poultry and wild geese as well as fish and shellfish were also common, as were a wide range of native berries and nuts, especially hazel. The seeds of knotgrass and goosefoot were widely present and may have been used to make a porridge.

The Potato in Ireland[edit]

The potato would appear to have been introduced into Ireland in the second half of the 16th century, initially as a garden crop. It eventually came to be the main food field crop of the tenant and labouring classes. As a food source, the potato is extremely efficient in terms of energy yielded per unit area of land. The potato is also a good source of many vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C (especially when fresh). As a result, the typical 18th- and 19th-century Irish diet of potatoes and buttermilk was a contributing factor in the population explosion that occurred in Ireland at that time. However, due to the political rule of the time, the majority of Irish produce (root crops, cereals and animal produce) was exported to Britain, leaving few strains of potato as the sole food source for the Irish. This, along with the spread of potato blight led to shortages and famine, the most notable instance being the Great Irish Famine (1845–1849), which more or less undid all the growth in population of the previous century. The cause of which is attributed by some to an adherence to laissez faire economic policies by the government which kept food exports at the pre famine level leading to disease and emigration.[27][28]

Modern times[edit]

In the 20th century the usual modern selection of foods common to Western cultures has been adopted in Ireland. Both US fast-food culture and continental European dishes have influenced the country, along with other world dishes introduced in a similar fashion to the rest of the Western world. Common meals include pizza, curry, Chinese food, and lately, some west African dishes have been making an appearance. Supermarket shelves now contain ingredients for, among others, traditional, European, American (Mexican/Tex-Mex), Indian, Polish and Chinese dishes.

The proliferation of fast food has led to increasing public health problems including obesity, and one of the highest rates of heart disease in the world.[29] Due to the current "anti-meat fad", the government has broadcast television advertisements to discourage meat consumption. In the Northern Ireland, the Ulster fry has been particularly cited as being a major source for a higher incidence of cardiac problems, quoted as being a "heart attack on a plate". All the ingredients are fried, although more recently the trend is to grill as many of the ingredients as possible. These advertisements however, do not explain the health and vigor of native Irish people while eating their traditional diets high in both fat and meat.[30]

In tandem with these developments, the last quarter of the century saw the emergence of a new Irish cuisine based on traditional ingredients handled in new ways. This cuisine is based on fresh vegetables, fish, especially salmon and trout, oysters and other shellfish, traditional soda bread, the wide range of hand-made cheeses that are now being made across the country, and, of course, the potato. Traditional dishes, such as the Irish stew, Dublin coddle, the Irish breakfast and potato bread, have enjoyed a resurgence. Schools like the Ballymaloe Cookery School have emerged to cater for the associated increased interest in cooking with traditional ingredients.

Representative Irish Foods

Pub culture[edit]

Pub culture pervades Irish society, across all cultural divides. The term refers to the Irish habit of frequenting public houses (pubs) or bars. Traditional pub culture is concerned with more than just drinking. Typically pubs are important meeting places, where people can gather and meet their neighbours and friends in a relaxed atmosphere; similar to the cafe cultures of other countries. Pubs vary widely according to the clientele they serve, and the area they are in. Best known, and loved amongst tourists is the traditional pub, with its traditional Irish music (or "trad music"), tavern-like warmness, and memorabilia filling it. Often such pubs will also serve food, particularly during the day. Many more modern pubs, not necessarily traditional, still emulate these pubs, only perhaps substituting traditional music for a DJ or non-traditional live music.

Many larger pubs in cities eschew such trappings entirely, opting for loud music, and focusing more on the consumption of drinks, which is not a focus of traditional Irish culture. Such venues are popular "pre-clubbing" locations. "Clubbing" has become a popular phenomenon amongst young people in Ireland during the celtic tiger years. Clubs usually vary in terms of the type of music played, and the target audience. Belfast has a unique underground club scene taking place in settings such as churches, zoos, and crematoriums.The underground scene is mainly orchestrated by DJ Christopher McCafferty .[31][32]

A significant recent change to pub culture in the Republic of Ireland has been the introduction of a smoking ban, in all workplaces, which includes pubs and restaurants. Ireland was the first country in the world to implement such a ban which was introduced on 29 March 2004.[33] A majority of the population support the ban, including a significant percentage of smokers. Nevertheless, the atmosphere in pubs has changed greatly as a result, and debate continues on whether it has boosted or lowered sales, although this is often blamed on the ever-increasing prices, or whether it is a "good thing" or a "bad thing". A similar ban, under the Smoking (Northern Ireland) Order 2006, came into effect in Northern Ireland on 30 April 2007.[34]

National and international organisations have labelled Ireland as having a problem with over-consumption of alcohol. In the late 1980s alcohol consumption accounted for nearly 25% of all hospital admissions. While this figure has been decreasing steadily, as of 2007, approximately 13% of overall hospital admissions were alcohol related.[35] In 2003, Ireland had the second-highest per capita alcohol consumption in the world, just below Luxembourg at 13.5 litres (per person 15 or more years old), according to the OECD Health Data 2009 survey.[36] According to the latest OECD figures, alcohol consumption in Ireland has dropped from 11.5 litres per adult in 2012 to 10.6 litres per adult in 2013. However, research showed that in 2013, 75% of alcohol was consumed as part of a drinking session where the person drank six or more standard units (which equates to three or more pints of beer). This meets the Health Service Executive's definition of binge drinking.[37]

Sport[edit]

Main article: Sport in Ireland

Sport on the island of Ireland is popular and widespread. Throughout the island a wide variety of sports are played, the most popular being Gaelic football, hurling, soccer, rugby union and hockey. Gaelic football is the most popular sport in Ireland in terms of match attendance and community involvement, and represents 34% of total sports attendances at events in the Republic of Ireland and abroad, followed by hurling at 23%, soccer at 16% and rugby at 8%.[38] and the All-Ireland Football Final is the most watched event in Ireland's sporting calendar.[39] Swimming, golf, aerobics, soccer, cycling, Gaelic football and billiards/snooker are the sporting activities with the highest levels of playing participation.[40] Soccer is the most popular sport involving national teams. The success of the Ireland team at the 1990 FIFA World Cup saw 500,000 fans in Dublin to welcome the team home.[41] The team's song "Put 'Em Under Pressure" topped the Irish charts for 13 weeks.[42]

In Ireland many sports, such as rugby union, Gaelic football and hurling, are organized in an all-island basis, with a single team representing the island of Ireland in international competitions. Other sports, such as soccer, have separate organising bodies in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Traditionally, those in the North who identify as Irish, predominantly Catholics and nationalists, support the Republic of Ireland team.[43] At the Olympics, a person from Northern Ireland can choose to represent either the Great Britain team or the Ireland team. Also as Northern Ireland is a Home Nation of the United Kingdom it also sends a Northern Ireland Team to the Commonwealth Games every four years.

Media[edit]

Main article: Media of Ireland

Print[edit]

In the Republic of Ireland there are several daily newspapers, including the Irish Independent, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Times, The Star, The Evening Herald, Daily Ireland, the Irish Sun, and the Irish language Lá Nua

Lough Gur, an early Irish farming settlement

St Brigid's Crosses are often made for St Brigid's Day

Shamrocks are often worn on St Patrick's Day

A traditional Irish Halloween turnip lantern
An Irish-language information sign in the Gaeltacht
Hurling ball (sliotar) and hurley (camán)

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