ONLY IN IRELAND: Quirky Things To Do In Ireland ONLY IN IRELAND: Quirky Things To Do In Ireland
Top Funny Facts About Ireland Top Funny Facts About Ireland
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17 magical facts about Ireland. Photo: TripSavy

Ireland! The land of leprechauns, river dances, and Guinness! But Saint Patrick wasn't even a native Irishman! Where did Halloween come from, anyway? Do you think you have what it takes to pronounce Ireland's longest place name? There are 25 of them in total!

These 17 amazing facts about Ireland will answer all your questions and more.

1. Ireland is very successful in the Eurovision song contest

It’s the only nation to have won Eurovision seven times, and the only nation to win 3 times in a row. Niamh Kavanagh – In Your Eyes might be the most famous Irish winner.

2. The earliest evidence of the human presence in Ireland is dated at 12,800 BC

In a cave, a bear bone was discovered with obvious cut marks from stone tools. The radiocarbon dating for the bone was 12,800 B.C. The bone was discovered in 1903, but it wasn't until 2010 that it was studied using modern techniques.

This proves that Ireland had a population even throughout the Paleolithic period. The earliest evidence was formerly estimated to be 8000 years old.

3. More Irish people live abroad than in Ireland

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Irish People. Photo: The

It's actually estimated that between 70 and 80 million people globally identify as having Irish heritage. Famine-related mass emigrations and the pursuit of better prospects overseas, particularly in America in the 1800s, are the main causes of this number.

Together with the United Kingdom, some of the nations having the largest percentages of Irish ancestry are Australia, Canada, Argentina, and South Africa.

Of course, there are not 80 million Irish citizens who were born abroad. There are around 1 million Irish nationals living overseas.

4. English was first introduced here in the 12th century

Although English is now the language spoken by the majority of people, this wasn't always the case, and native Irish is still taught in schools.

Irish, a Gaelic language from the Celtic branch of the Indo-European language family, is very different from English. In tiny parts of Waterford, Mayo, and Meath, as well as Galway, Kerry, Cork, and Donegal, it is still the primary tongue spoken.

5. There are more than 30.000 castles and ruins on the island

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Photo: Homestratophere

Castles are scattered across the island in vast amounts, and numbers point to a total of 30.000 castles and ruin. Some of the castles are open for tourists to stay in, and in some cases, it’s even possible to rent the whole castle!

6. Irish people are heavy drinkers

However, it’s not alcohol that people drink the most of, but tea. Only Turks drink more tea per capita and person than the Irish. When it comes to alcohol, they come in short at 4th place.

The average Irish person consumes 2,19 kilos of tea per year (4.83 lb).

7. Only about 9% of people in Ireland have natural red hair

It's a frequent misconception that Irish people have red hair, pale skin, and freckles, however this is not true. Although though this region has the highest average number of persons with naturally red hair on the planet, that number is still only 9%.

8. Ireland is an island divided into two political areas

The Northern part of the island is called Northern Ireland and is part of the United Kingdom. The majority of Ireland’s area belongs to the Republic of Ireland, which is a sovereign state.

9. The oldest pub opened already in 900 A.D.

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Photo: The Drink Business

The oldest still-open bar in Ireland is thought to be Seans Pub in the town of Athlone. It was recognized as the oldest tavern in Europe by Guinness World Records in 2004.

10. Polish is the second language most commonly used at home.

In comparison to Polish, which is spoken at home by more than 119.000 people, Irish is only spoken at home by about 2% of the population.

11. St. Patrick Wasn't Irish

He was born in Great Britain, though historians aren't clear if he was actually born in Wales, Scotland, or England. When he was 16 years old, Irish invaders kidnapped him. He spent six years as a slave in Ireland, working as a sheepherder. He returned home and continued his religious studies to become a priest after six years. Later, as a missionary, he visited Ireland once more. On March 17, the anniversary of his passing, we observe St. Patrick's Day.

12. Postal Codes

Ireland is one of the few countries in the world, and the only country in the EU, that does not have postal codes (with the exception of Dublin city). However, the country is in the process of designing and implementing a nation-wide postcode system for 2015.

13. The first St. Patrick’s Day Parade

The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in the United States, not in Ireland. In 1762 (technically, it was called the colonies at this point), Irish soldiers serving in the English army celebrated the day by marching through New York City streets. Today, the parade is an official city event.

14. Muckanaghederdauhaulia

That is the name of a small village in Connemara in Co. Galway. It is the longest place name in English with 22 letters. Try saying that 5 times fast…or really just once is hard enough.

15. Halloween comes from the Celtic harvest festival of Samhain

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Halloween in Ireland. Photo: Traveling in Heels

Do you celebrate Halloween? Then you should say thanks to the Irish, and especially the Celtic harvest festival of Samhain, where Halloween is supposed to have originated from.

16. 82% of Irish citizens are nominally Roman Catholic

While a growing number of citizens refer to themselves as atheists with a Christian backgrounds, Ireland still has one of the highest church attendances in Europe, and about 82% of the total population are nominally Roman Catholics.

17. The story of the world-famous vampire Count Dracula was written in 1897 by Bram Stoker, from Dublin.

His real-life friend, actor Sir Henry Irving, served as the model for his character. Twenty years of vampire tales in Victorian literature culminated in Count Dracula. The early Irish legend of Abhartach, a wicked chieftain who was betrayed by his subjects and killed by the hero Cathrain, is thought to have served as Dracula's inspiration. Abhartach emerged from his tomb each night to drain the blood of his subjects.

Ireland Facts for Kids

• Saint Patrick is the Patron Saint

• The Irish hare is considered as the national animal

• The Harp is the national symbol

• Muckanaghederdauhaulia is the longest place name in Ireland, however, Sruffaunoughterluggatoora has been claimed as the longest place name as well with 25 letters

• The country’s name in Irish is Eire

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