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It's common in the Irish language to use phrases like that. An Irish man I recently met was constantly shaking people's hands and saying, "God bless you!" It was as natural to him as saying, "Nice to meet you." Of course, the next moment he was complaining about the weather by saying, "Jesus! It's hot!" It's just the way they talk.
But when the first man met the strangers and greeted them, they gave him a quick sneer and one finally replied, "Conas ata tu?" (How are you?) Whether the old ways of seeing God in everything is passing away, or whether this person was anti God or something, I'm not sure. Perhaps my friend's greeting is no longer politcally correct.
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