Do you want to know some fun facts about the Emerald Isle? Read on for interesting trivia on Ireland.
Basic Facts About Ireland
Ireland is a small island country (about 27,000 square miles) off the coast of England.
The Republic of Ireland has a population of close to 5 million people. Its capital city is Dublin.
The official languages of Ireland are English and Irish. Irish is a form of the Gaelic language, the language of the Celtic peoples, which is one of the oldest written and spoken languages still in use today.
The official flag of the Republic of Ireland is green, white, and orange.
Now on to some fun facts about Ireland!
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1. The island has two countries on it
This is one of the most important fun facts about Ireland.
The island of Ireland was controlled by the British until 1922.
After winning its independence, the area called Northern Ireland rejoined the United Kingdom because it had more in common with the English than its Irish neighbors.
Today, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have two separate governments (one is ruled by the king of England and the other has a president), separate currencies, separate capitals (Belfast and Dublin), but no official border between them.
2. If you are afraid of snakes, move to Ireland
Because the sea provides a natural barrier to animals, Ireland has no snakes.
Famous Irish animals include the Connemara pony, badger, red fox, pygmy shrew (picture a tiny, velvety mouse), and, of course, the Irish setter.
3. St. Valentine is buried in Ireland
The infamous St. Valentine, the patron saint of lovers and beekeepers, is buried in a church in the city of Dublin.
4. The Irish have been potato farmers since 1588
According to legend, Sir Walter Raleigh brought a potato back from the Americas in 1588 and planted it in Ireland.
It quickly became a major food.
Today, the Irish celebrate National Potato Day on October 6.
The average person in Ireland eats 187 pounds of potatoes every year!
5. The Irish invented Halloween
The ancient Gaelic festival of Samhain signifies the end of the harvest season.
This happens around November 1. It is the precursor to Halloween.
In pagan times, the burial mounds were said to open on Samhain and spirits could pass between this world and the Otherworld.
This is why ghosts and ghouls are associated with Halloween.
6. Castles, castles everywhere
Ireland is dotted with castles. There are over 20,000 of them!
Some are privately owned, but others are open to visitors.
Don’t skip Blarney Castle!
Legend has it that if you kiss a special stone in Blarney castle (called the Blarney stone), you will have a way with words (the Irish call it “the gift of gab”).
7. The Irish invented chips with flavor
If you like barbecue, sour cream and onion, cheddar cheese, or salt and vinegar potato chips, you can thank Joseph “Spud” Murray and the Tayto Chip Company in Ireland.
Murray invented the first two flavored potato chips in 1950: “Cheese and Onion” and “Salt and Vinegar.”
8. The national symbols of Ireland involve plants and music
When you think “Ireland,” no doubt you think of the shamrock.
This iconic green ground cover is one of Ireland’s national symbols.
You could even do a shamrock salt painting activity to really get in the Irish spirit!
The other symbol is quite surprising: the Irish harp. Ireland is the only country in the world to have a musical instrument as its national symbol.
9. You get money from the President when you turn 100
When an Irish citizen turns 100 years of age, he or she gets the equivalent of around $2400 US dollars.
This gift from the government is called the Centenarian Bounty.
Each person also receives a note from the President along with their check.
10. “The Cliffs of Insanity” are in Ireland
Ireland’s breathtaking Cliffs of Moher overlook the sea.
They have been featured in movies such as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
They are also the famous “Cliffs of Insanity” from The Princess Bride.
Read More About Ireland
Check out these books to learn even more about Ireland.
This book features photos of Ireland, from its scenery, culture, and wildlife. Perfect for young learners.
This book is targeted at upper elementary and middle school. The history of Ireland is accompanied by full-color photos.
If you are looking for a book with more fun facts, trivia, and interesting stories, this is the book for you.
This book is targeted at adults, but the reading level is not difficult. It would work well for middle school and high school.
Ireland Fun Facts
These fun facts about Ireland are just the tip of the Blarney Stone!
This tiny but amazing country has lush hillsides, towering cliffs, spirited people, and a rich history.