We're keeping things simple today. We're not gonna focus too much on the Irish language; instead we'll drill down deep into facts about Ireland! My personal favorite is this: Saint Patrick, Ireland's patron saint, wasn't even Irish!
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Facts About Ireland
Ancient Ireland had a strange homicide law! The victim's family either had the choice to kill the murderer of their loved one or alternatively have the murderer become a slave for life.
The Irish flag is an interesting metaphor for the religious dynamics of the country. The green stands for the catholic majority, the orange symbolizes the protestants who followed William of Orange, and the white in the middle that divides the two is 'peace.'
The official national color of Ireland is blue, not green (which slightly makes a mockery of St Patrick's day).
The Celtic harp is Ireland's national symbol (not the clover, as many people believe). It is the only country with a musical instrument as a national symbol.
The patron Saint of Ireland, St Patrick, wasn't Irish. In fact, he was Welsh.
Only 380,000 fluent Gaelic speakers remain.
The Irish diaspora (people with Irish roots) is much bigger than the current population. Five million people currently inhabit the republic of Ireland, but around the world, 70 million people are of Irish descent.
Blasphemy is still illegal in Ireland; however, the last conviction was in 1855.
Contrary to popular belief, only 9% of the Irish are redheads.
The oldest pub in Ireland is called Sean's bar and opened in 900 A.D.
The guillotine was actually invented in Ireland and first used in 1307. History still remains unclear whether Murcod Ballagh was the victim or the executioner.
The Whitehouse (yes, that Whitehouse) was designed by an Irishman called James Hoban.
Ireland has won the Eurovision song contest more than any other country.
Ireland was the first country in the world to introduce a public smoking ban.
Ireland was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage.
According to legend, Giant's Causeway was created by two giants, one Scottish and one Irish, throwing rocks over the sea at one another.
The RMS Titanic, the famously unsinkable ship (which sank in the North Atlantic), was built in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Dublin has the 12th busiest airport in Europe.
Ireland is renowned for its wet weather. However, if you prefer somewhere drier, go to the capital Dublin. It receives half the rainfall of some places on the West coast. FYI the wettest month is October.
Dublin Trinity college is one of the best universities in the world. It was founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1590. Its full name reflects its status: THE PROVOST, FELLOWS, FOUNDATION SCHOLARS & THE OTHER MEMBERS OF BOARD OF THE COLLEGE OF THE HOLY & UNDIVIDED TRINITY OF QUEEN ELIZABETH NEAR DUBLIN.
St Valentine, the man who inspired the day, is actually buried in Dublin. However, the story is a little more complicated. The Saint was buried in Rome until the 19th century when a visiting Irish holy man persuaded the Pope to return his remains back to Ireland.
Dublin's Phoenix Park is the largest enclosed city park in Europe.
The Irish crown jewels were housed in Dublin castle until 1907, when they mysteriously disappeared. Still, to this day, no trace has been found. It's estimated the gems are worth $ 20 million in today's money.
If you visit Ireland, you'll notice that certain buildings have bricked-up windows. This was to avoid paying taxes back in the 18th century. The more windows your building had, the higher you'd have to pay.
When an Irish person invites you out for a pint, they generally mean more than 1. My advice is don't get into rounds because the pace is always dictated by the fastest drinker, which generally means you'll be drinking a pint every 20 minutes
The Royal Cork Yacht Club, founded in 1720, is the world's oldest.
The term 'slagging' means to make good-natured fun of your friends.
Queuing is just as much an art in Ireland as in England. If you cut, the queue, Irish people will assail you with many disapproving tuts!
The head of the Irish government is called the Taoiseach. The current Taoiseach is Micheal Martin. (I feel that isn't how Michael should be spelled).
Ireland is known as the Emerald isle because of its fantastic greenery; however, in terms of woodland, it has relatively low coverage compared to other areas in Europe
Ireland joined the European Union in 1973 and, unlike the U.K, is set to remain a member in the future.
A weird one to finish. Ireland had many ancient Kings, and one way to pledge loyalty was to kiss their nipples! In turn, an act of revenge might be to cut a fallen King's nipples off so nobody could pledge allegiance in the future.
Learn Gaelic Irish With Ling
We hope you enjoyed these fun facts about Ireland. Irish culture is as extensive as it is magical. In terms of its cultural clout, Ireland has a tiny population that has had a massive impact. Like a lightweight boxer that can punch as hard as a heavyweight!
As someone with Irish ancestry, I've realized how important it is to connect with my roots and learn Irish! Luckily, Ling makes that easy with a well-designed user interface and a graduated course that takes you through all aspects of Irish learning.