15 Exciting Fun Facts about Ireland
Looking for some fun facts about Ireland to satisfy your curiosity? Whether you’re moving here or have already been in the country for a while, there may still be some new, amusing things to discover.
Ireland is full of fun and interesting facts, from the origins of Halloween to being completely free of snakes! There are plenty of other things about its history, culture, music, and art that are well worth finding out.
Check out some fun, exciting facts we’ve compiled for you to enjoy below.
Spooky Surprise – Halloween Originated in Ireland
If you like Halloween so you can wear costumes, wigs or eat enough candies to earn yourself a trip to the dentist, you might love it more if you’re Irish.
Despite being celebrated worldwide by youngsters in costumes and made famous by Mexico’s Day of the Dead, Halloween actually has Irish roots.
Samhain (pronounced as ‘saw-when’) was the origin of this event, and its customs date back countless years.
The Samhain festival, typically observed from October 31 to November 1, marks the conclusion of the annual harvest season and the arrival of winter.
Samhain was a holiday celebrated with lavish feasts. But, the ancient Celts also had a custom of lighting massive bonfires to drive away the ghosts who were believed to ‘awaken’ at this time of year.
Ireland Has the Most Redheads
Do you know anyone who’s a fiery redhead? The percentage of redheads per capita in Ireland ranges from 10% to 30%, making it the highest in the world – only 0.06% of people live outside of Europe and have red hair.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the gene MC1R, which is recessive, relatively uncommon, and only found in roughly 2% of the world’s population, is linked to having red hair.
This means for a child to have red hair, both parents must have a copy of the gene, and the feature frequently skips generations.
St. Patrick Wasn’t Irish!
Although St. Patrick’s Day is often linked to Irish pride, the saint who bears the holiday’s name wasn’t even Irish!
As per Catholic Online, St. Patrick was actually born in Roman Britain. As a young boy, he was taken by Irish pirates and transported to the nation to tend to sheep.
Ireland at the time was predominately druidic (a druid is a member of the high-ranking class in ancient Celtic cultures). St. Patrick eventually fled Ireland and returned to Britain a few years later.
Now, on March 17, which is thought to be the day he passed away, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated. Some churches in Ireland observe the day as a religious holiday and organise special services in honour of the saint.
This is even though the festival is mainly considered a celebration of Irish culture in the US.
You Can See The Northern Lights in Ireland
If you’re looking for the perfect date view, Ireland’s Northern Lights are most visible in September, October, March, and April.
That’s a result of how the Earth tilts during these months, as well as the solar wind that comes from it. But under the best circumstances, you may also see the lights from November to February.
The ideal time of day to view the aurora borealis is at night. Additionally, it’s preferable to stay away from areas with urban light pollution.
It would also help to consider the weather. The Northern lights are more visible on a clear, starry night with no clouds.
Friendly tip: facing north is the best chance of spotting the Northern Lights. Finding a location along the coast with a clear view of the north will increase your chances.
Guinness Beer Originated Here
Should there be one thing to know about the Irish, it would be their love for alcohol. Many things in this country are well known, but few are more legendary than a pint of Guinness beer in Ireland.
Enjoying a creamy pint of ‘the black stuff’ is one of the first things tourists do when they arrive in Ireland.
Guinness’s history is fantastic, spanning more than two centuries. From its modest origins in Dublin to its success on a global scale, this beer is marketed in more than 150 countries.
Muckanaghederdauhaulia Is Ireland’s Longest Place Name
Photo source: www.thisisgalway.ie
The mouthful Muckanaghederdauhaulia, which has 22 letters and is pronounced as ‘muk-an-hand-ra-do-dauter-hal-i-a’, is regarded as having Ireland’s longest one-word place name.
It’s a 470-acre townland in Ireland’s Co. Galway’s Kilcummin civil parish. And when translated, it means ‘ridge shaped like a pig’s back between two expanses of briny water’ or just ‘pig-shaped hill between two seas’.
But for the million-dollar question, could you say ‘Muckanaghederdauhaulia’ perfectly on the first try?
You Probably Won’t Run Out of Irish Castles
Another fun fact about Ireland is its seemingly never-ending castles. Ireland is thought to include over 30,000 castles, including all kinds of fortification remains and operational and rebuilt castles.
For such a tiny country, this sure is a lot – it’s unlikely many will visit them all in this lifetime.
There were a few simple stone walls in Ireland when only the Gaelic people were there. These defenses were typically home to small towns or clans in houses made of wood and mortared with plant, animal waste, water, and clay pastes.
The stone walls served as a fundamental safety element and defense against unforeseen attacks by competing clans.
Ireland Is One of the Most Religious Countries in the West
Do you consider yourself religious? Studies say non-practising believers outnumber churchgoers in Ireland, one of the most Christian nations in western Europe.
Apart from Portugal, Ireland has the largest percentage of residents who identify as Christians (4 out of every 5 ) in all of Europe. We have a 1 in 3 church attendance rate, just behind Portugal (35%) and Italy (40%).
Still, according to studies by the Washington-based Pew Research Centre, there’s significant support for legal abortion and same-sex marriage among church-going Christians in western Europe.
Here’s some data related to Ireland’s religious practice from irishtimes.com:
|Chruch-Attending Christians||Non-Practicing Christians||Religiously Unaffiliated||Other Religions or Lack Thereof|
Note that church-attending Christians refer to those who attend church at least once per month.
There Are No Snakes Here!
Unfortunately for Irish snake enthusiasts (the courageous – or strange – few of you), there aren’t any and never have been any snakes in Ireland.
The Emerald Isle, Ireland’s nickname, has no native snake species. This contrasts with Great Britain, which is home to at least 3 different kinds.
According to Irish tradition, Ireland formerly had snakes, but St. Patrick drove them all into the sea hundreds of years ago. But according to fossil records, snakes have never existed in Ireland.
Ireland used to be connected to the rest of Europe via land and was also ice-covered. One item was missing from the island after the last ice age when all the ice vanished, and rising sea levels separated Ireland from the rest of Europe.
Since then, the island has been free of slithering snakes. This is thanks to cold weather and an environment unsuitable for snake life.
Snakes can’t keep their own bodies warm since they are ectothermic. They must rely on the sun’s heat instead.
The climate in Ireland is never warm enough to sustain a healthy snake population. Therefore, even if snakes did arrive on the Emerald Isle, they most likely wouldn’t stay there for very long.
The Titanic Was Built in Ireland
Photo source: www.cdn.britannica.com
Were you one of those who screamed for Rose to make space for Jack in one of the highest-grossing movies of all time, ‘Titanic’?
Or if you’ve ever wondered where the famous, multi-million dollar ship was built, the shipbuilding company Harland & Wolff began work on the Titanic in Belfast, Ireland, in 1909.
Harland & Wolff and the British shipping business White Star Line jointly constructed 3 ships, and the Titanic is one of them. Eight shipbuilders lost their lives building the Titanic, a massive structure that took 2 years and countless hours to construct.
The Titanic was scheduled to embark on its first voyage in early April when the ship was completed in 1912.
County Cork Is the Land of the Pubs
Going out for some drinks in Ireland? Contrary to popular belief, Dublin doesn’t have the most pubs in Ireland – County Cork, with almost 900, wins that prize.
Ireland has a 5,000-year history of brewing, and in addition to the 3 biggest, there are approximately 400 independent brewers. The little island nation has a vast number of facilities that sell alcohol.
Irish pubs have played a significant role in Irish social culture for many years. Similar to how a local church would be, the neighbourhood bar serves as a pillar of the community in Ireland.
The Irish Are Potato Lovers
Potato lovers unite! Ireland has a more unique bond with the potato than any other European country.
The Irish were the first Europeans to embrace it as a staple food in the 18th century after accepting it as a field crop in the 17th.
Ireland was a stronghold for the potato because of how well it adapted to the local soil, temperature, and way of life.
The simultaneous social ills of unemployment, poverty, overcrowding, and land hunger were viewed as being protected by the potato.
St. Valentine Rests in Dublin
Photo source: www.irishtimes.com
For those seeking romance, it may interest you that the heart of hearts could be in Ireland. The Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin is where St. Valentine’s martyred remains are kept.
Visitors flock to Dublin’s Carmelite Church on Whitefriar Street to pay respects to St. Valentine every February 14 and in the days and weeks preceding Valentine’s Day.
The shrine consists of an altar with a life-size figure of St. Valentine positioned above it. It contains the martyred saint’s remains and a container holding some of his blood, which is housed in a casket under the altar.
This place is set up in front of the church’s main altar once a year on St. Valentine’s Day for special sermons and ring blessings for engaged people.
With churches in Rome, Terni, and Glasgow also claiming to have St. Valentine’s relics in them, the issue of whether the relics may truly be attributed to him has come up recently.
However, only Ireland’s claim has been acknowledged by a pope.
Dracula Was Inspired by a Dubliner’s Roots
Dracula fans, did you know that Bram Stoker, a Dubliner, released this well-known book in 1897? There’s a lot of proof that Irish horror tales inspired his masterwork.
This work is regarded as a pinnacle of the Gothic horror subgenre. It has long been a part of popular culture, theatre performances, and movies.
It might also surprise you that Ireland has a penchant for bloodsucking monsters. Many factors may have influenced Stoker’s imagination for the book.
For instance, various elements from Stoker’s childhood in Ireland may have influenced the author’s conception of blood-sucking in his early imagination.
Bram was a very sick boy. And though it’s not known what ailment he had or why, he suddenly recovered at the age of 7.
However, bleeding a sick patient was standard practice by doctors in Ireland in the 1840s. So, it’s likely that little Bram was bled to treat his condition.
Ireland Dominates the Eurovision Song Contest
Photo source: www.dublinlive.ie
The Irish are also known for their musicality. Ireland has triumphed in the inaugural Eurovision song contest the most out of all the nations that have competed – it has won the title 7 times as of 2021.
In 1956, 7 countries participated in the contest. A total of 52 nations have taken part in it since it began in the hopes of winning the coveted prize.
Millions of people also tune in to watch the competition across Europe.
This shows how the Irish love songs as a source of entertainment from music stores, restaurants, bars, clubs, and the like.
And there you go! We hope you find these fun facts about Ireland just as interesting as we did.