“Top of the morning to you!”
is a greeting that Irish people never use, unless they are American with an Irish great-great-great-great grandmother. But we do ask on a daily basis: “How are you?” or a long number of variations:
‘How’s it going?’ (How’s it goin’)
‘How are you doing?’ (Howrya doin’)
‘What’s up?’ (Whatsup. Can you see where the app comes from now?)
“How’s she cutting?” (From Kerry)
And my favourite Dublin greeting (said in a rich masculine grunt): “Story?”
And the answer to these questions about your health and well-being? “Fine”, always “fine.” Because unless the person looks deeply into your eyes and changes their tone to: caring and concerned, they do not actually care!
“How are you?” And all its variations, are greetings not questions.
This is often not understood by non-native-speakers who start to answer the question:
“Well I’m a bit tired, didn’t sleep well last night because of the party next door and my sore toe which I banged into a lamppost yesterday and it’s quite swollen now, I hope it’s not infected…”
When we ask you “How you are?” it is just a greeting: it means “Hello” and when you ask it, it is fine to keep on walking…
Your response (which may not be heard by a greeter who has kept on walking) should be positive:
Positive and polite: “Fine, thanks and you?”
Or: “Grand!” (Very Irish)
And the response to: “Story?” ?
And all of these responses mean: “Hello, to you too!”
So, “Have a nice day!” “See ya!”