TOP O’ THE MORNING TO YOU LADS AND LASSES! ST. PADDY’S DAY IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER AND IN HONOR OF THIS GREAT (AND GREEN) HOLIDAY, WE THOUGHT WE WOULD TEACH YOU A THING OR TWO ABOUT THE OLE EMERALD ISLE. WE ALL KNOW THE IRISH HAVE PLENTY OF CRAIC, BUT HERE ARE SOME FUN FACTS YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE KNOWN! SLAINTE!
11. HURLING IS LIFE
Americans might think that life in Ireland couldn’t be too different from here, but one thing is definitely different—sports. Hurling is huge in Ireland, it has been around for 2,000 years and the major competition is the equivalent to the Super Bowl here. It’s kind of like field hockey but slightly more violent.
10. THERE IS A LANGUAGE BARRIER
Gaelic, the Irish language, is over 3,000 years old and was the main language on the island up until about the 1600s. In the 1900s, Gaelic really lost its foothold in the country, however today there is a resurgence to bring it back and many schools are teaching it as a second language.
9. THE TERM “IRISH CATHOLIC” IS VERY RELEVANT
Approximately 90 percent of the population of the island identifies as Catholic although only about 30 percent attend church regularly.
8. WITH OR WITHOUT U2
Yep, Bono, the Edge and the gang were formed in Dublin in 1976 and one of their first tastes of success was winning a talent show on St. Patrick’s Day in Limerick in 1978.
7. BONO ISN’T IRELAND’S ONLY FAMOUS FACE
Other famous Irish people you might have heard of are: Liam Neeson, Saoirse Ronan, Oscar Wilde, Niall Horan, James Joyce, Colin Farrell, Pierce Brosnan and Cillian Murphy.
6. SMALL POPULATION, BIG IMPACT
Today, the population of Ireland is only about 4.6 million people— Arizona alone has 6.7 million people. However, between 70 and 80 million worldwide people can trace roots back to the Emerald Isle.
5. IT’S NOT A RUMOR THAT THEY LIKE TO DRINK
In Dublin alone, there is one pub for every 100 people. One of them, The Brazen Head, is officially Ireland’s oldest pub and dates back to 1198.
4. GUINNESS IS OLDER THAN THE UNITED STATES
In 1759, Arthur Guinness started brewing ale at the St. James’s Gate brewery in Dublin. Months later, on December 31, 1759, he signed a 9,000 year lease for the brewery. So it’s safe to say, the Guinness Factory tour will be around for awhile.
3. A COUNTRY WITH HARP
Ireland is the only country in the world that has a musical instrument as its national symbol. The oldest known harp in existence dates back to at least 1300 and is currently at Trinity College in Dublin. Funny enough, Guinness registered the harp as their symbol in 1876, before it became the symbol of the country.
2. REBELLION IS IN THEIR NATURE
In fact, the term “boycott” comes from one of their countrymen. Landowner Charles Boycott refused to drop his rent in 1880 and thus, a “boycott” ensued of his employees.
1. ST. PATRICK WASN’T IRISH
I know, right? Mind blown. He was actually a Roman and British Christian missionary who traveled to Ireland to spread the Catholic faith in the 5th century. But there were never any snakes in Ireland, so we can’t credit him to banishing them. We bet he would enjoy a pint of Guinness with us on March 17, though!