Fun facts about Ireland

For the month of March, Big Blue Marble students are hopping over the pond and discovering the magical country of Ireland! In light of their studies and upcoming St. Patrick’s Day, here are 17 fun Irish facts that’ll have you looking for your own pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

  1. Muckanaghederdauhaulia is the actual name of a small village in Ireland. With an astounding 22 letters, it’s the longest place name in the English language.
  2. In Ireland, an unusual birthday tradition includes lifting the birthday child upside down and giving their head some bumps on the floor for good luck. The number of bumps correspond to the child’s age plus one.
  3. Titanic, the ill-fated ship that sunk in 1912, was built in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
  4. In 1447, moustaches were illegal in Ireland.
  5. The submarine was invented in Ireland.
  6. Although the Irish are traditionally associated with red hair, only about 9 percent of the Irish population are natural redheads.
  7. The modern-day holiday we know as Halloween originated in Ireland. Over the centuries, the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, a harvest celebration observing the end of the summer, transformed into Halloween.
  8. The White House was created by an Irishman.
  9. Irish people speak English, but Irish school children are still taught Irish, which is a Gaelic language.
  10. Many Irish people believe that fairies exist. In their culture, fairies have magical powers and bring happiness and great things to families.
  11. In Irish folklore, leprechauns are tiny men who can fit on top of your shoulder. They are completely harmless, and are believed to have buried numerous pots of gold throughout Ireland.
  12. Many Irish names begin with “Mac,” which translates to mean “son of.” Additionally, some Irish surnames begin with “O,” and this translates to “grandson of” in Gaelic.
  13. St. Patrick’s Day is Ireland’s official national holiday.
  14. Ireland has been inhabited for approximately 7,000 years.
  15. Ireland has no snakes. Due to its isolation from the European mainland, Ireland also doesn’t have several other species found in Europe, such as moles and weasels.
  16. Although we associate green with St. Patrick’s Day, blue used to be the traditional color linked to the holiday.
  17. It is estimated that over 80 million people of Irish descent live outside Ireland. This is 14 times more than the population of Ireland itself.

Sources: NationFactsEupedia, Leger

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