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Ireland - A Great Overview with Fun Facts
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This hub will list a lot of interesting and fun facts about the country of Ireland that you might not have known.
Country: The island of Ireland is actually two countries.
The Republic: officially known as Eire, in Ireland is comprised of 26 counties and is an
independent country with its own government, administration, army, navy and air force
It no longer has a connection to the United Kingdom.
Northern Ireland: is still part of the United Kingdom and consists of 6 counties and it did have its own administration up until 2002, but it is suspended now.
Neutrality: The Republic has long maintained a policy of neutrality, and they are not a member of NATO. During WWII, British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, requested that Ireland allow allied forces to use the western sea ports in the Battle of the Atlantic and this request was refused.
Transition to Republic: In June, 1932, the British penalized Ireland by imposing a 40% tax on Irish imports in retention of the Irish Land Annuities. To this day some Irish homeowners owe yearly ground rent to British landlords
Local Authorities: They do not control the police (Guardia) or military. This is done on a national level. There have been several articles about corruption in the Guardia in the news lately.
Legal Facts: The Supreme Court is the highest court, and the lowest are the district courts. The Supreme Court is the last recourse for legal appeals and includes the Chief Justice, the President of the High Court plus four other judges and they normally deal with constitutional matters.
Capital: Dublin was founded by the Vikings in 988 and originally called Duhn Linn (which means Black Pool in Irish).
Irealand -Two Countries within One
Religion: The majority of the Irish are Roman Catholics (88%).
Patron Saint: Saint Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland about 430 AD. According to Irish legend, on judgment day Christ will be the judge all nations, but St. Patrick will be the judge of the Irish. The first St. Patrick Day’s Parade was in 1737. I’m not sure how all the drinking to celebrate fits into the celebration of a Saint.
National Language: Gaelic is Ireland's national language. Only in the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) areas of Ireland will you find that Irish is used as the everyday language. In all other parts of Ireland, English is the spoken language.
Ireland’s Minerals: There are plentiful supplies of peat or turf, which is harvested by power production under the state’s company Bond na Mona. They have kilometers of railway line just for this purpose. They have no coal or iron. The next most important mineral is lead-zinc. There are hopes that ongoing exploration gas fields will be further developed and additionally, there is minor ongoing exploration for oil.
Highest Mountain: Killarney, County Kerry is home to the highest mountain - Carrantouhill, part of the mountain range the McGillycuddy Reeks.
Longest River: Shannon River is 240 miles long and it connects with 3 lakes.
Senior Citizen Perks: The Irish government has given its senior citizens some new perks in recent years. Everyone over 65 gets free bus and rail travel in the Republic, as well as free bus and train tickets to Belfast. They also get the expected old-age pension plus; there is a good health support system. Pensioners do not need to pay a TV license; there are also subsidies towards fuel (gas or electricity). In addition, they get free telephone line rental and a small concession towards phone costs. I'm not there yet, but those perks sound good to me!
Entertainment of all Sorts
Music: Ireland has some wonderful music with the best known rock band being U2, closely followed by The Boomtown Rats, Tin Lizzy and more recently Boyzone and Westlife. And, we certainly can’t forget to mention the Celtic Women for their beautiful voices and songs
Irish Actors: Some of the best include Richard Harris, Pierce Bronsan, Cillian Murphy and Collin Farrell (yes, he’s really, really cute). There are many others as well.
Writers: Ireland has produced Bram Stoker, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, Maeve Binchy and Celia Aherne., to name just a few.
Famous Outlaws: Grace O’Malley known as the Queen of the Pirates operated off the west coast of Ireland and Ned Kelly (son of an Irish convict) was an infamous Australian outlaw.
Irish Delicacies: Drisheen, a pudding made from cows, pigs or sheep blood. (Oh, Yum!) White pudding is a mixture of pork, cereal, bread, fat and suet and Periwinkles are sea snails boiled in salted water.
Guinness: A trip to Ireland must include a tour of the brewery and a glass of this velvety stout called the “Black Stuff”.
Bailey’s Irish Cream: This very popular liquor has been around since the 1970’s and yes, it’s tasty.
Irish Pubs: Many have a “trad night”, plus customary sing-a-longs, and Irish dancing, and they say you are in for a “Cracking evening”. That must be a good time!
Sports: The people are passionate about Gaelic games such as football, hurling, rounders, handball and camogie. Rugby and soccer are also well liked.
Hiking and Outdoors: The Cavan Way, The Dingle Way and The Kerry Way are some areas with nice hiking routes.
Do the Irish Have a Sense of Humor!
Sense of Humor: This may be the last topic, but not the least. The Irish are witty and like to play with words. Here are a few examples:
- "not backwards in coming forwards" - means a person is not shy.
- "no flies on him" - means a person is not easily deceived.
- "she has a tongue that would clip a hedge" - means a person who gossips.
- A pig, allowed to live in Irish farmhouses in olden days, was once known as "the gentleman that pays the rent."
- "come for a day and stay for a week" - means someone outstaying their welcome.
- Just a few facts to ponder over - for a small island we certainly have a lot going for us!
I hope you've enjoyed the interesting and fun fact collection.
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© 2010 Pamela Oglesby