Top 15 bizarre things you didn’t know about Ireland

Well-known for its stunning landscape of rolling hills, rugged cliffs, and historic castles. We can bet there are a few things about the Emerald Isle you never knew.

For all the things you know about the Emerald Isle, we bet these are 15 things you didn’t know about Ireland.

Ireland is a small island country located in northwestern Europe. The endless, rolling hills contain 50 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 15 things you didn’t know about Ireland.

15. Guinness Brewery and the Guinness Book of World Records – an unlikely connection

One of the things you didn’t know about Ireland is about the Guinness Book of World Records.

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

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

14. The Irish invented the guillotine – not our proudest invention

The Irish invented the guillotine.

The French are widely known for their use of the guillotine during the French Revolution. However, this macabre killing instrument was first used over 450 years prior in Ireland.

On 1 April 1307, a man named Murcod Ballagh used the guillotine to execute his victim near Galway.

13. Rain, rain go away – the time an Irish superstition came true

One of the things you didn’t know about Ireland is about our weather.

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 people might have considered building an ark. It rained for forty days straight.

An old Irish superstition came true during this wet summer; whatever the weather on St. Swithin’s day, 15 July, will predict the weather for the next forty days!

12. Irish around the world – we live everywhere

14 times more Irish people live abroad than on the Emerald Isle.
Credit: Flickr / Mike Maguire

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 current population. We bet this is one of the things you didn’t know about Ireland.

11. The Irish had a massive influence in Nigeria – the biggest consumers of Guinness in the world

One of the things you didn’t know about Ireland is their huge influence on Nigeria.
Credit: Flickr / NAPARAZZI

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 consumers of the famed stout.

10. The Irish are tech giants – a forward-thinking nation

Ireland is a tech giant.

Ireland produces 25 per cent 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’s an art

One of the things you didn’t know about Ireland is how long it takes to pour the perfect Guinness.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

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

8. There are plenty of pubs – for our favourite pastime

There are plenty of pubs in Ireland.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

You probably knew that Ireland had a load of pubs, but do 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 2,750 people per pub.

There certainly is no shortage of pints in Ireland, and it is largely for this reason that many people travel to Dublin during holidays.

7. Strolling marriage – a strange tradition

One of the things you didn’t know about Ireland is the strange tradition of marriage in Teltown, County Meath.
Credit: Pixabay / StockSnap

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 mind-boggling occurrence

Have you ever heard of the 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 that miraculously adhered to the infant.

5. Saint Patrick’s blue – a lesser-known colour

One of the things you didn’t know about Ireland is St 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. This is one of the most interesting things you didn’t know about Ireland.

4. Become a bestseller – a much easier feat in Ireland

It is much easier to become a bestseller in Ireland.
Credit: Pixabay / klimkin

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 – Irish roots

One of the things you didn’t know about Ireland is how many American presidents claim Irish roots.
Credit: Pixabay / skeeze

The amicability between Ireland and America might be partially because about forty per cent 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 – a shocking revelation

Red hair doesn't actually originate in Ireland.

Although red hair is often associated with Ireland, the gene marker carrying red hair can be traced back to the Norse and Vikings that visited Scotland and Ireland.

Only about 10 per cent of Ireland’s population has red hair, while most people have darker hair.

1. The Vikings founded Dublin – their legacy lives on to this day

One of the things you didn’t know about Ireland is that the Vikings founded Dublin.
Credit: The National Museum of Ireland

One of the bizarre things you didn’t know about Ireland is that its capital city was, in fact, founded by the Vikings.

The Vikings founded Dublin in 988, calling half of the city ‘Dyflin’, 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’.

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