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Ireland Gave Us More Than St. Patrick, Shamrocks and Bono

Updated on March 4, 2014

Dracula to Paddy Wagon

Dracula came to print from an Irish writer, Bram Stoker. Stoker worked as a newspaper writer and later a researcher. He traveled and wrote many works before becoming interested in European folklore and mythological stories of vampires. Dracula is a fictional tale, but the realistic facts made it believable. Stoker obtained facts from diary entries, telegrams, ships’ logs and newspaper clippings. The original 541 pages of Dracula were found in a barn in Pennsylvania in the early 1980’s. It was typewritten under the title, “The Un-Dead.” The manuscript was purchased by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft.

The word ‘boycott’ came from Ireland. Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott was a land agent. He refused to let Irish tenant farmers decide how much rent they should pay. He evicted the farmers from their homes. The farmers stopped workers from working on Boycott’s home. They stopped his mail, stopped his food supply and broke his fences. The farmers continued their rage on other land agents. The agents said they were “boycotted.”

In 1800’s when Irishmen were arrested for being drunk in public, they all claimed their name was “Paddy.” This being a popular nickname for Irishman named, Patrick. During this era, the police would transport prisoners to the station using a horse-drawn carriage with a steel cage separating policemen from passengers. A very high percent of the police were of Irish descent. They nicknamed the vehicle a “Paddy Wagon.”

Hurling, Halloween and Hood Lighthouse

Halloween is linked to the Celtic festival for witches, goblins and ghosts. It was first celebrated in the fifth century B.C. The Celts believed all people who had died the previous year would come back to choose a body of a person or animal to live inside for the next twelve months before going to the afterlife. The Celt families would dress as demons, hobgoblins and witches to scare the souls.

Hurling is an ancient Gaelic game. The outdoor game has been played for over 3,000 years. Players use a wooden stick to hit a small ball between goalposts. If the ball goes over the crossbar, one point is scored, if under into the net, three points are scored. The history of hurling can be traced as far back as 1200 BC. Rich land gentry would keep teams of players on their farmers to challenge other teams just for pleasure.

Hood Lighthouse is the oldest working lighthouse in the world. The structure marking the entrance to Waterford Harbour has been there over 800 years. Construction took place between 1201 and 1240. The first keepers of the light were monks. They lit fires and beacons to warn sailors of the rocks. Fog guns were fired every ten minutes. They were replaced by explosive charges set from the top of the tower. Later they were replaced by a compressed air horn that fired every 45 seconds. In January 2011, the fog horn was turned off.

Your Answers for Next Trivia

Other facts you just need to know include:

The White House was designed by an Irishman—James Hoban

The largest brewer of a stout beer called Guinness is from Ireland. The normal usage for a given day in the world is 5.5 million pints, but on St. Patrick’s Day the number climbs to 13 million pints.

Rotunda Hospital opening in 1745 in Dublin is the world’s oldest continuously operating maternity hospital.

Royal Cork Yacht Club of 1720 is the world’s oldest Yacht Club. The first recorded open yacht race was held in Dublin Bay 1663.

Ireland is the only country in the world that has a musical instrument, the harp, as a national symbol. The oldest known harp, dating around 1300, is in Trinity College in Dublin

“The Titanic” was made in Ireland.

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