When one thinks about Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day and shamrocks typically come to mind. However, there is so much more to the beautiful green country than what meets the eye! Here are some of the best facts about the land of the Irish:
The spooky American holiday, Halloween, is derived from the Gaelic festival of Samhain, a harvest festival held on October 31st to mark the end of summer. The Celtics saw Samhain as the time when our realm and the spirit world were most connected to each other. Samhain became associated with All Saints Day (November 1st), and Halloween is still known as the day when the spirit world crosses over into our world.
St. Patrick wasn’t actually Irish! St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was the son of Romans living in Britain. Legend has it, he was kidnapped and taken as a slave to the Emerald Isle where he helped herd sheep.
Only 9% of the Irish population are natural redheads. Scotland holds the largest concentration of redheads – 19% of the world’s population to be exact.
A perfect pint of Guinness takes 119.5 seconds to pour. It doesn’t stop there, the perfect pint is done in 2 shifts to let the stout settle. After a pause, long enough so the Guinness in the glass is a perfect black, the rest of the pint is poured. The perfect pint should have a creamy head and should be served at exactly 42.8F degrees.
Ireland is a snake-free island. The popular myth says that St. Patrick cleared the Emerald Isle of snakes; however, that’s completely untrue since snakes never slithered into Ireland in the first place. According to researchers, the last time Ireland had snakes was probably millions of years ago. However, the Ice Age killed all of the snakes, and by the time the ice melted Ireland was separated from other countries that still had the creepy serpents. Snakes never coexisted with humans in Ireland’s history.
There are more Irish people living outside of Ireland than inside.
Cats were vital workers in the old Jameson Whiskey distillery in Dublin! Cats were used in the old distillery to keep the rats away from the barley warehouse.
The ancestral language in Ireland is Irish Gaelic. Nowadays over a million Irish people could speak Gaelic; however, only about 77,000 fluently speak the language on an everyday basis. As one may have noticed, many Irish family names start with “Mac” or “O'”. In Gaelic this means respectively “son of …” and “grandson of …”.
There are more mobile phones in Ireland than there are people.
The Irish may have discovered America first. Some say Christopher Columbus, others say Vikings or the Chinese, but there’s another legend that Irishmen were the first to sail to America. According to one legend, an Irish monk called St. Brendan set out on an expedition to find paradise and after seven years discovered an island that was so large that even after forty days they could not reach the other end of the island. The monks returned home with the news. This voyage is recorded back to the 6th century – much earlier than many of the other first discoveries of America.