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We know Ireland as a country of pubs with people who love drinking Guinness. But there's more to Ireland than green grass. We've put together a list of quirky facts that'll leave you scratching your head. Who would've thought Saint Patrick isn't actually Irish?

 Ireland Lighthouse

 

  1. Did you know Ireland is snake-free? Yep, these reptiles are nowhere to be seen due to Ireland’s isolation from the mainland ­­­­­– making it almost impossible for the reptiles to make it to land. I guess it wasn’t Saint Patrick who scared the snakes into the sea after all.
  2. We all know the Irish love drinking beer, but did you know they drink around 130 liters each year? That’s equivalent to an epic amount of pre-gaming! The most famous Irish beer is Guinness. But be warned, this beer has an acquired taste ­­– think dark liquid and a thick head.

 

pint of guiness

 

  1. The most famous ship to date, the unsinkable Titanic, was built in Belfast – the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland.  She undertook her first and only voyage in April 1912 and was deemed one of the safest ships afloat.  But little did we know she’d run into an iceberg en route to New York City.
  2. Some of your all-time favorite movies were filmed in Ireland. Harry Potter, Star Wars and Games of Thrones – it’s safe to say Ireland’s got a long history on the silver screen. And it’s no surprise, when this country has some of the most picturesque backdrops to offer – especially for more fantasy-type genres.

 

cliffs of moher

 

  1. Believe it or not, but there’s more Irish people living abroad than in Ireland. Many Irish people are now living in Britain, USA, Canada and Australia to take up jobs with higher paying salaries.

 

map

 

  1. Ireland has won the Eurovision contest seven times – more than any other country. Yep, the Irish can sing more than just traditional folk music.
  2. The most famous symbols of Ireland include the green shamrock, the harp and the Celtic cross. It’s the only country in the world that has a musical instrument as its national symbol.
  3. Saint Patrick is not actually Irish! Say what? Yep, it’s believed Saint Patrick was born in Scotland under the name of ‘Maewyn Succat’ and took the name of Patrick when he became a priest.

 

green cliffs and Irish sea

 

  1. Many people believe Count Dracula originates from Irish legends who drank blood. Most notably, the Irish wizard and chieften (aka the leader of the clan) named ‘Abarhtacht’, who rose every night to drink human blood.
  2. Last but not least. Religion – it’s an ongoing war between Catholics and Protestants and a very complex issue still to this day. Strangely enough, Ireland’s flag reflects the political differences with orange representing the Protestants, green representing the Catholics and white representing peace that will hopefully be reached between them.

 

irish flag

Image from Flickr: John Hoey 

So be sure to put on the greenest clothes you own to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day on Friday 17 March. You might even be lucky enough to find a leprechaun and catch him! But remember, you only get three wishes – so choose wisely.

 

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