An Irish “Cuppa” Tea… Just Try and Say No

Having a “cuppa” is an Irish expression I learned to love during an extended stay a few years ago.  The question, “Will you have a cuppa?”, whether it was asked by the waitress in the pub or the next door neighbor carried with it a non-negotiable response.  In other words, if you are invited for a cup of tea, then you best sit down and take a sip!


photo courtesy of Marless House B&B, Galway, Ireland

I learned from the Irish “having a cuppa” means so much more than the words.  We sat, we sipped tea, we talked, we laughed, we learned about each other, we garnered a new point of view, we planned, we sympathized, we shared ourselves, we were living better with a cup of tea.

Thankfully, I understood the concept of a “cuppa” just in time. I made my second rent payment to the landlord of our lovely house in Galway, Ireland. Arriving at her beautiful bed and breakfast, Marless House, with my cash in hand, I had just planned to drop off the money and be on my way. Well, I was whisked into the kitchen with my three children in tow and offered a “cuppa” as well as some digestives for the little ones.

I think one of the big differences between our cultures is that in America we do a lot of offering that we don’t mean. It seems that invitations are given out of obligation with an inherent understanding that you will politely refuse.  In Ireland we learned that this is not the case, refuting someone’s generosity is not polite, it is in many ways offensive.

Sitting having a cuppa in the kitchen of the Marless House with Mary was an unexpected highlight of our trip. She generously fed my hungry children and filled our heads with all the great places to see and things to do in Galway. Not only could I not refuse the cuppa but I was also handed packages of cookies that to quote Mary, “your children seem to really like these”. Normally I would have been embarrassed that my children devoured her cookies, but the warmth with which she insisted we take some home with us made me feel as welcome in Ireland as I would have been in my grandmother’s kitchen… perhaps they are on to something here.

A “Cuppa” Message

To learn more about the Irish tradition of a cuppa read a post from one of my favorite Irish bloggers, Tric:  The truth behind a cup of tea.

cuppa_lblivingbetterMy “cuppa” messages are my way of keeping those tidbits, quotes, mantras and more, alive and well, for me and hopefully for you as well to enjoy.  I even take my new-found red mug (that matches my website color…can you stand it?) with the chalkboard paint to the awesome places I get to work, but more importantly I like to feature quotes/phrases or the things I’m saying to myself in the hope that sharing these thoughts will help someone else to be living better.  Enjoy.

P.S. I just learned to make a picture slide…genius here I know, please enjoy the “cuppa messages“.  If you have any messages to suggest please do share!

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About LB Living Better

Lisa Bates has a Master's degree in Counseling Psychology, Certification to teach Behavioral Sciences and a degree in Business Administration. From school administrator and non-profit executive, to teacher, coach, counselor and mom, Lisa has extensive experience, knowledge and training working with children from toddlers to teenagers. Currently, Lisa owns and operates LB Living Better an organizational and educational services business. Lisa has just released her first book, Barbies in the Horse Bin, Living Better with Organized Children and she is a seasoned, energizing, humorous, workshop presenter with extensive experience. As a mother of three teenagers including twin boys, Lisa maintains her sanity by writing, travelling and playing with her dogs. Read more about Lisa Bates at or contact her at

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