15 SURPRISING Things You Didn’t Know About Ireland

Ireland is a small, island country located in Northwestern Europe. The endless, rolling hills contain fifty shades of green and countless sheep. There are more pubs than the average person could count and historic castles decorate the scenic landscape.

But there are many things about Ireland’s history, culture, population, and scenery that most people do not know. Here is a list of the top thirteen things that you probably did not know about Ireland.

15. Guinness Brewery and the Guinness Book of World Records

It is hardly a secret that Guinness is largely the beer of choice in Ireland. Guinness was introduced in 1759 by a man named Arthur Guinness, but it wasn’t until the 1950’s that the Guinness Book of World Records was first published by a set of twins.

The twins, Norris and Ross McWhirter wrote an article about a Guinness employee, athlete Christopher Chataway, which was a catalyst for the partnership between the brewery and the famed book.

14. The Irish Invented The Guillotine

The French are widely known for their use of the guillotine during the French Revolution, but this macabre, killing instrument was first used over 450 years prior in Ireland. On the 1st of April in 1307, a man named Murcod Ballagh used the guillotine to execute his victim near Galway.

13. Rain, Rain Go Away

Most people know that rain, particularly on the West coast of Ireland, is not uncommon throughout the lush, green Emerald Isle.

However, in the summer of 2007, some Irish might have considered building an ark. It rained for forty straight days. An old Irish folklore came true during this wet summer; whatever the weather on St. Swithin’s day, the 15th of July, will predict the weather for the next forty days!

12. Irish around the world

More than 80 million people of Irish descent live outside of Ireland, primarily in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, the Caribbean and the United Kingdom. This staggering number is 14 times that of Ireland’s population.

11. The Irish had a massive influence in Nigeria

There are many Irish influences in the country of Nigeria. Saint Patrick has been Nigeria’s patron saint since 1961. Nigeria has also overtaken Ireland in Guinness sales, making Nigerians the world’s largest drinkers of the famed stout.

10. The Irish are Tech Giants

Ireland produces 25 percent of Europe’s computers and they are one of the world’s largest exporters of software. Ireland has recently emerged as Europe’s leader in technology.

9. The timing of a Perfect Pint of Guinness

It takes exactly 119.5 seconds to pour a perfect pint of Guinness, which is demonstrated daily at the Guinness factory in Dublin.8. Plenty of Pubs

8. There’s plenty of Pubs

You probably knew that Ireland had a load of pubs but did you know the actual amount? Dublin boasts one pub for every 1,000 people living in the city. Liscannor in Clare has the most pubs per person in the whole of Ireland with one pub or hotel for every 26 residents!

On the other end of the scale, Greystones has the highest ratio of people per pub with at 2,750 people per pub. There certainly is no shortage of pints in Ireland, and it is largely for this reason that many travel to the city during holidays.

7. Strolling Marriage

Until the 1920s, there was a strange, inexpensive way to become legally married in Teltown, County Meath. Couples simply had to walk towards one another on St. Bridget’s Day. To get a divorce, the same couple would have to walk away from one another in the same spot.

6. Guinness Cap Baby

A strange medical mystery emerged in 1974 when a baby was born with a Guinness bottle cap stuck to its scalp. Though it baffled the parents and doctors, it was determined that the mother must have somehow swallowed the cap which was miraculously adhered to the infant.

5. Saint Patrick’s Blue

Green is the colour most think of when considering Ireland, but Ireland’s patron saint, Saint Patrick, was originally associated with the colour blue. There is even a shade deemed ‘Saint Patrick’s blue’. Green was later associated with Ireland during the nationalism movement in the 1840s.

4. Become a Bestseller

Writers and musicians might want to consider moving to Ireland if they dream of becoming bestsellers. To become a bestselling musician, one only needs to sell 5,000 copies of an album. Similarly, writers only need to sell 3,000 copies of their book.

3. American Presidents

The amicability between Ireland and America might be at least partially due to the fact that about forty percent of America’s presidents have claimed to have Irish heritage. Given that James Hoban, an Irish-born American, designed the White House, this should be of little surprise.

2. Red Hair doesn’t originate in Ireland

Although red hair (or also called ginger hair) is often associated with being Irish, the gene marker carrying red hair can be traced back to the Norse and Vikings that visited Scotland and Ireland. Only about 10 percent of Ireland’s population has red hair while a majority of people have darker hair.

1. The Vikings founded Dublin

The Vikings founded Dublin in 988, calling half of the city ‘Dyflin’, which was from the Irish ‘Duiblinn’. This translates to ‘Black Pool’. The other half of the city was occupied by the Gaelic and was called ‘Áth Cliath’.

*Originally published in 2017.

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