One of the key aspects that distinguishes Ireland from the rest of Europe is its culture. It maintained a traditional or folk culture long after many others had lost theirs through modernization. Irish culture is also increasingly popular outside Ireland, probably at the same time as it is undergoing the same forces of change within Ireland that other countries saw much earlier. For many, culture means the arts. But culture can also be thought of as the behavioural norms of a people — it is what people do, how they act and what they expect of others. The popular arts make up a good deal of what people do and how they act — people sing, dance and tell stories, and they consume culture by reading literature, listening to music and watching drama on TV, in cinema or the theatre. But people do more than just what we might mean by the arts. It includes the sports people play, the food they eat, who, where and how they meet and socialize — their lifestyle.
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