50 Fascinating Facts about Ireland

Ireland is a beautiful green country located in northwest Europe. It is an island that is separated from Great Britain by the Irish Sea. The island is considered the 20th largest island in the world, and encompasses 84,421 kilometers squared of land. It is home to 6.4 million people, and the capital city of Dublin has a population of 1.273 million people. The island has a hilly geography with numerous plains and rivers cutting through the land. Its currency is the Euro. The country’s official language is both English and Irish. Most people speak a dialect of English, however many families who have lived in Ireland for generations understand and speak Irish. Ireland does not have an official religion, but the primary religion that is followed in the country is Christianity. Its flag is a horizontal flag with green, white, and orange vertical stripes.

Ireland Facts

1
The nominal GDP of Ireland is $217.3 billion, while its per capita GDP is $47,478.
2
Ireland runs under democratic nation, and established their present constitution in 1937.
3
The country’s major exports include food products such as potatoes, lamb and beef. They also export a large amount of zinc, lead, machinery and pharmaceuticals. Their imports include oil, aircraft parts, vehicles, and petroleum gases.
4
Ireland has made many trading partners over the last few decades. Today, the United States accounts for 20% of Ireland’s exports, while the United Kingdom accounts for 38% of the country’s imports.
5
Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle, this is because of its lush greenery and rolling hills. The country receives a lot of rain each year, which keeps the grass green and the plants blooming.
6
Northern Ireland is governed by the United Kingdom, while the rest of Ireland is an independent nation.
7
Ireland is known throughout the world for its vast amount of castles. Ireland’s history is dotted with wars and violence, so castles were built to protect families from invaders. Today, most of the castles are still standing and some can even be visited by tourists.
8
Irish people speak English, but Irish school children are still taught Irish, which is a Gaelic language.
9
Most Irish people believe that fairies exist. In their culture, fairies have magical powers and bring happiness and great things to families.
10
When children are little, each birthday it is traditional to pick up the child, turn them over and bump their head gently on their birthday cake. The child’s head is bumped once for each year they have lived. It is believed that partaking in this tradition brings good luck and good fortune to the child.
11
Any person who is born on St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is considered to be very lucky.
12
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated grandly in Ireland. People eat traditional Irish food which includes beer, pink bacon, and savory chicken.
13
Irish weddings are elegant and large celebrations. Grooms dress in kilts that signify their family’s clan, while brides dress in white to signify their purity. Family members travel far and wide to attend weddings, and the receptions are always massive celebrations involving beer and music.
14
Funerals are sad occasions in Ireland, but they are very seldom a sad event. Family members use funerals to speak about the deceased life and share memories. Funerals are held in churches, and often include food and drinks. Many churches tried to ban alcohol years ago, but failed in doing so, and now allow alcohol at each funeral and wedding.
15
Leprechauns are a huge part of Irish tradition. In Irish folklore, they are tiny men who can fit on top of your shoulder. They are completely harmless, and are believed to have buried numerous pots of gold throughout Ireland.
16
Guinness Beer is widely popular in Ireland. It first originated in the country, and can be found throughout the country in Pubs and grocery stores.
17
Sports are huge in Ireland. Irish people take their sports seriously, and get very into soccer, hurling, camogie and handball.
18
The average family size in Ireland is four, two kids with two adults.
19
Ireland is one of the best countries in the world for gender equality. They have had two female presidents.
20
The story of Dracula is said to have been inspired by the Irish legend of Abhartach. Bram Stoker was Irish born and raised, and learned the legend of Abhartach when he was young.
21
Ireland has been inhabited for approximately 7,000 years.
22
A peace agreement between Northern Ireland, Ireland, and Britain was signed in 1998. Ireland gave up control of Northern Island to the United Kingdom as part of this agreement.
23
The country has had a high birthrate for the last 50 years, and because of that, Ireland has one of the youngest populations in the world.
24
The Irish famine in the 1840s led to a population decline of two million people because of emmigration and starvation.
25
Over 80% of Ireland's people are Roman Catholic.
26
The patron saint of Ireland is Saint Patrick, who was said to have rid the country of snakes.
27
The Titanic was built in Belfast, Northern Island.
28
Hook Lighthouse is believed to be the oldest working lighthouse in Europe and possibly even the world.
29
The population of Ireland still has not bounced back from the famine it faced years ago. During that time, the population was 8 million. Today, the population lingers below 7 million.
30
Because Ireland is isolated, many species of animals that are commonly found in Europe do not live here. This includes moles, polecats, and weasels.
31
The Royal Cork Yacht Club is the oldest in the world and originally began in Ireland.
32
Only about 9% of people in Ireland have natural red hair, contrary to popular belief.
33
Even though he is considered their patron saint, Saint Patrick was not born in Ireland. He was actually born in Britain, according to research, and some believe that he was kidnapped as a teenager and brought to Ireland.
34
Ireland is home to what could possibly be the oldest pub in the world. It was opened in 900AD.
35
A native of Dublin designed the iconic statuette presented to Oscar winners.
36
The Celtic cross and shamrock are both associated with Ireland, but the national symbol is actually the harp.
37
Rotunda Hospital in Dublin opened its doors in 1745. It is the longests-running maternity hospital in the world.
38
James Hoban, an Irishman, was the designer of the U.S. White House.
39
A law was enacted in 2009 that makes it illegal to be drunk in public in Ireland.
40
Even though legend says that St. Patrick cleared Ireland of snakes, the truth is that these slithering creatures were never able to make it from Britain to the island.
41
Ireland's flag has three colors for a reason. The green represents the Gaelic tradition of Ireland, the orange is meant to represent those who followed William of Orange, and the white stripe in the middle represents peace between both.
42
In 2007, Ireland saw 40 straight days of rain.
43
The longest river in the country is the River Shannon.
44
Abortion is illegal in Ireland unless keeping the child would put the mother's life at risk.
45
The Irish perform in the Tailteann Games, Ireland's version of the Olympics.
46
Ireland has mounds of dirt that are known as "fairy forts" Legend has it that those who disturb one of these mounds will be riddled with bad luck. These mounds are actually ancient dwellings from the Iron Age.
47
The guillotine was used in Ireland before it was used in France. The earliest use dates back to 1307.
48
Many Irish names begin with "Mac," which translates to mean "son of."
49
Some Irish surnames begin with "O." This translates to "grandson of" in Gaelic.
50
Croaghaun in Ireland is the second highest cliff in Europe.

Ireland is a mystical and wonderful place to live and to visit. The country has been plagued by numerous fights for power, but today it is thriving as an independent nation. Many people flock to Ireland each year to learn about their magical culture and history, and never go home upset. The Irish people are relaxed and full of fun and celebrations. They have made a name for themselves in the economic world.

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