If you’re thinking about visiting Ireland, then you’ll want to know a little about the country before arriving. However, there are the rather dull and generic tourist facts that whilst useful, don’t really tell us anything about the fabric of the culture. Here are some rather more fun facts, so you can get to know the ‘real’ Ireland:
- Did you know that St Valentine’s remains can be found in Ireland?
If you head to Whitefriar Street in the centre of Dublin, you will find a church that contains the actual remains of St Valentine! They have been there for many years. This might be an interesting Valentine’s Day excursion – or not, depending on how creepy you think that is!
- The first potato was planted here
We’ve all heard of Sir Walter Raleigh but did you know that when he brought a potato plant back from discovering the Americas, it was at his home in County Cork that he planted the very first potato in approximately 1558.
- Halloween began in Ireland
What was once a pagan practice, the celebration of the traditional pagan festival of Samhain morphed into our modern day Halloween. It is therefore, one of the oldest Irish traditions. With a country as old as Ireland, you’re sure to find plenty of ghostly goings on in the historic sites you visit!
- Ancient people
You know that Ireland is old but how long have people been dwelling there? Well, after information was discovered in 2016, it is now known that humans were living in Ireland in 10,500 BC! A cave in Clare gave up its secrets when a bear bone was unearthed from the late Palaeolithic period that showed evidence of butcher marks!
- They can certainly hold a tune
Ireland is well known for its musical talents and that is certainly echoed in the Eurovision Song Contest which Ireland have won an impressive 7 times! The country has competed in the contest since 1965. During your visit, be sure to grab a traditional Irish souvenir like Womens Aran Sweaters from a site like Shamrock Gift
- Careful where you ‘hurl’ it
Hurling is Ireland’s traditional sport and one of the oldest in the world but did you know that’s also the fastest? The ball is called a sliotar and can travel up to 120km/h.
- Oldest pub
If you’d like to raise a glass to the past, then you’ll find the oldest pub in Ireland is in County Westmeath. Athlone town is the home of Sean’s Bar, a drinking establishment that dates back to 900 AD! This could also make it the oldest pub in the entire world.
- All Hail the Goat King!
For one of Ireland’s more unusual traditions, take a trip to the village of Killorglin where you’ll see a goat crowned as King for 3 days at the Puck Fair. This is believed to be one of the country’s oldest traditions. Every august a goat is caught from the Kerry mountains and placed in a cage in the village to be crowned as king for 3 days!