50 interesting facts about Ireland and Irish people

The Irish are a very unusual people for us, but no less interesting. The main feature of the Irish people is that they are considered to be the best friends in the world. The Irish are known for their friendliness and hospitality. Their culture and traditions emphasise the importance of family, friendship and community. This is reflected in their relationships with each other and with their guests.

The Irish have had a long history of fighting for their independence and rights, and these struggles have strengthened their sense of community and empathy for others who may be in difficult circumstances.

And of course, if you are planning to live or travel in a wonderful country, it is worth researching the behaviour here by learning all the interesting facts about Ireland and the Irish to understand why people in this country do things the way they do.

The 50 most interesting facts about the Irish people and Ireland

1. Ireland is named after the goddess Eriu. In modern Gaelic, it is Eire. In Irish mythology, she was the goddess of earth, air and water, as well as the keeper of life and guardian of all living things on earth.

2. Ireland has two official languages, Irish (Gaelic) and English, but most people speak English.

3. There are more Irish people living outside Ireland than in the home country. The number of Irish people living outside Ireland exceeds the number of people living in Ireland itself. Due to mass emigration, some tens of millions of Irish people are living abroad, while there are now only about 5 million people in the country.

Today, some 80 million people around the world claim Irish ancestry (including over 36 million Americans). There is even a government position in Ireland for the care of all Irish people in the world – the Minister of State for Diaspora Affairs and International Development.

4. St Patrick was not Irish by birth. He was a Romano-British kidnapped and sold into slavery by Irish raiders at the age of 16. At some point, he escaped and returned as a missionary to convert the Irish people to Christianity.

5. It is said that in Ireland, the main national symbol is the shamrock. This is not entirely true. The most important one is the harp. The Irish harp is a symbol of Ireland’s national heritage and cultural heritage, and the image of the harp can be seen on various state symbols and signs. However, the three-leaf clover is also considered an important symbol of the country and is often used as a symbol of good luck and a positive image of Ireland, as well as a symbol of the Holy Trinity in the Christian tradition.

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6. The Irish people like tea, and it’s a very important part of the culture. Traditional Irish tea is served with milk and sugar and is drunk at breakfast, lunch, dinner and any other time of the day. Ireland has the third highest per capita consumption of tea.

7. Irish surnames beginning with «Mac» mean «son» and Irish surnames beginning with «O» mean «grandson». For example, the surname Mac-Donald means «son of Donald». Surnames beginning with «O» indicate a grandson, for example, the surname O’Connor means «grandson of Connor». Interestingly, in some cases the prefixes «Mac» and «O» may also be used to indicate origin or place of birth, for example, the surname O’Brien may indicate that its bearer was born in the Bryan area.

8. Irish people value their personal space. They usually prefer to maintain a certain distance between themselves and others when talking. This can be particularly noticeable in public places, such as on buses or trains, where many prefer to sit in separate seats if possible.

9. Irish people like to queue, and this may come as a surprise to tourists from other countries, where queuing may not be such a big deal. Queues are everywhere in Ireland: in shops, at bus stops, at the post office, etc. It is worth noting that in Ireland, it is not customary to squeeze ahead in the queue or to chat with people in the queue if you do not know them. In general, queues in Ireland are part of the culture and the Irish see them as a necessity to ensure order and fairness in society.

10. If someone in Ireland asks you, «How are you?», it’s just a greeting, which means you don’t have to give details about yourself, how you are doing or how you’re feeling. You can just smile.

11 Many Irish people use certain expressions every day, so we thought you might like to get to know some of them:

  • There’s «craic» (pronounced «crack») as in «what’s the craic?» and «good craic» (having a good time, or it’s fun).
  • «Grand» is what they say instead of «good» and «normal»; for example, «I’m grand».
  • There’s «fair play», which can be translated as «well done» or «well done».
  • «Thanks a million» is the Irish way of saying «thank you very much» when they are very pleased with something.

12. There are many different accents in Ireland, each city in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland has its own unique flavour of speech.

13. Since 2009 it has been illegal to be drunk in public in Ireland.

14. Although red hair is often associated with Ireland, historically speaking only about 9% of Irish people have natural red hair. Most Irish people have brown or black hair, but many people dye their hair red.

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15. Ireland has one of the youngest populations in the world due to a high birth rate, especially over the last 50 years. The average age of the population is about 38 years, which is lower than in most other countries.

16. The majority of Ireland’s population (around 78%) identify themselves as Catholic. The remaining 22% are split between other Christian denominations, Islam, Buddhism, atheism and other faiths.

17. St Valentine is actually buried in Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin.

15. Ireland has one of the youngest populations in the world due to a high birth rate, especially over the last 50 years. The average age of the population is about 38 years, which is lower than in most other countries.

16. The majority of Ireland’s population (around 78%) identify themselves as Catholic. The remaining 22% are split between other Christian denominations, Islam, Buddhism, atheism and other faiths.

17. St Valentine is actually buried in Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin.

18. In Ireland, same-sex marriage has been allowed since 2015, after a majority of Irish people supported changes to the constitution in a referendum held on 21 May. The same-sex marriage law was signed into law by the President of Ireland and came into force on 22 May 2015.

19. Abortion has been legal in Ireland since 2018.

20. Ireland has won the Eurovision Song Contest seven times, more than any other country. Throughout the 20th century Ireland won in 1970, 1980, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1996.

21. Ireland is home to many famous musicians, including Ed Sheeran, U2, Sinead O’Connor, Enya, The Cranberries and Van Morrison.

22. Three famous TV series were filmed in Ireland: Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings and Vikings. Irish locations have been used to create fascinating worlds, including castles, ancient forests and mountains. These TV series have not only attracted many tourists to Ireland, but have also provided opportunities for locals to become actors in action scenes and work on film sets.

23. the Irishman designed the Oscar award. Garrett Stewart is an Irish designer who designed the Academy Awards in 1928 for the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This design is still used today to award the best films and filmmakers in the world.

24. The Titanic was built at the Harland & Wolfe shipyard in Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The ship was one of the largest and most luxurious steamships of her time, but despite this, is famous for her tragic loss on her maiden voyage in 1912.

25. A festival is held in Ireland where they catch a wild goat and make it king))). For three days, a live wild goat is caught at the festival, which is then elevated to the title of king and installed on a high platform in the city centre. The event is known as the Puck Fair, and takes place annually in August in the town of Killorglin in County Kerry. There are many spectacular festivals in Ireland.

26. The Wild Atlantic Way, about 2,500 kilometres long, which follows the Irish coast along the Atlantic Ocean, is the longest coastal road route in the world. It extends from the Northern Irish border in the north to the Skellig Michael in County Kerry in the south. Includes spectacular scenery, rocky cliffs, green hills, beaches and many historical sites.

27. Ireland has Glacier Valley, which is in the mountain range of MacGillycuddy’s Reeks. It is a deep valley that was formed as a result of glacial movement during the last ice age. Today, Glacier Valley is a popular tourist destination, offering spectacular scenery and hiking.

28. There are about 30,000 or 40,000 castles in Ireland. Many Irish castles are famous for their legends of ghosts and the ghosts that supposedly haunt them. Some of these castles are now even used to run ‘ghost tours’ for tourists who are interested in this type of entertainment.

29. The Woodenbridge Hotel in Wicklow is the oldest hotel in Ireland. It was opened in 1608.

30. Ireland was under English rule for almost 750 years. This began as early as 1169, when English troops first landed on the Irish island, and continued until the early 20th century. In 1922, the Irish Free State was created and became independent of the British Empire, with the sole exception of the northern part of the country, Northern Ireland, which remained under British rule. Thus, Ireland was under British rule for almost 8 centuries.

31. Ireland is known as the «Emerald Isle» for its evergreen green hills and grasslands.

32. Ireland is famous for being free of mosquitoes, snakes, flies and moles. Legend has it that snakes were driven out of Ireland by St. Patrick, whose day is still one of the main holidays in the country. As for the absence of mosquitoes, flies and moles, there’s no legend about it, but you can make up your own version of this fact, especially if you have to spend the night in an Irish pub. But it really has more to do with the climate than anything else.

33. Ireland is famous for its pubs, and in the town of Athlone you can find the oldest pub in the world. This establishment, now called Sean’s Bar, has been around for over a thousand years. The walls of the pub were built around 900 AD, and there is a census of all its owners. The bar has undergone some restoration, but most of the furniture has remained in place since it opened, so visitors can sit at the same table at which the Irish drank beer in the 10th century.

34. Irish pub etiquette. If someone buys you a drink, you buy them a drink in return. If you are in a group, drinks are likely to be bought in a «round». One person buys drinks for everyone. So when it is your turn, do your duty.

35. Halloween comes from the ancient Celtic feast of Samhain, which was celebrated in Ireland and Scotland over 2,000 years ago. It was celebrated at the end of October and was associated with the end of the summer season and the beginning of winter and the boundary between life and death. People believed that on this day, the spirits of the dead returned to earth to communicate with the living and lit fires and wore masks to ward off evil spirits. Later, when Ireland was Christianised, Samhain was transformed into All Hallows’ Eve, celebrated on 31 October and preceded by the Catholic feast of All Saints.

36. The Shannon River is the longest river on the island of Ireland, about 386 kilometres long. The river starts in the Quillian Mountains in County Cavan and flows through most of Ireland before flowing into the Atlantic Ocean near the town of Limerick in County Clare.

37. In Ireland, you can see the Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis in County Donegal.

38. There is a sacred fairy tale tree in Ireland. This tree is sometimes called the «sacred bush». As it looks like a sprawling hawthorn bush. The tree was so important to the locals that it stopped construction of the planned motorway for 10 years until engineers came up with a way around it. It sits in the middle of the motorway between Limerick and Galway and is now protected by law. Locals respect and protect the tree, considering it home to the Kerry and Connacht fairies.

39. The longest village name in Ireland is Muckanaghederdauhaulia «the marsh between the two bays of the sea», which has 22 letters. It is located on the west coast, County Kilcummin in County Galway. The reason for the long name has to do with the tradition of Celtic languages, in which words can have very long forms.

40. Whales can be observed in Cork. The coastal waters of County Cork are home to several species of whales, such as the blue whale, killer whale, bowhead whale shark and others. Other marine animals such as sharks, harbour seals, seals, sea turtles and dolphins can also be seen in these waters. Special marine excursions and cruises are organised to spot whales and other marine animals.

41. Seals can be seen not only in Dublin but also elsewhere in Ireland. For example, Skellig Michael in County Kerry has a colony of seals that can be seen in their natural habitat. There are also places on the west coast of Ireland, in County Clare and Galway, where fur seals can be found, such as the Dingle Peninsula and Aran Island.

42. There are kangaroos in Ireland. There is a population of wallabies on the private island of Lambay near Dublin. This is a type of kangaroo. They are distinguished by their small stature. The wallabies were brought to the island in the 1950s and 1960s by the family who owned the island, and gradually multiplied there. They are now one of the main attractions on the Lambay Island.

43. In Ireland, you can catch salmon and trout by fishing. In some places you need a fishing licence, which can be purchased locally or in advance.

44. One of Ireland’s most famous writers, Bram Stoker, wrote the novel «Dracula» which has become a classic of the horror genre. If you’re familiar with Irish mythology, you may have heard of Abhartach, also known as the «Irish vampire». It is believed that part of the inspiration for writing the book about Dracula came from this legend.

45. Guinness, produced in Dublin, is one of the most famous and popular beers in the world. Every year Dublin hosts the Guinness Capital Festival, which celebrates Irish culture, tradition and of course Guinness beer.

46. The Guinness World Records book was indeed created thanks to the story of Sir Hugh Beaver, managing director of Guinness. After his unsuccessful hunt, he got into an argument with friends about which bird was the fastest in Europe, but could not find the answer in reference books. This inspired him to create a book that would contain various records and facts, including the fastest, tallest and heaviest objects in the world. The first Guinness Book of Records was published in 1955 and became very popular and well known around the world.

47. The land on which Guinness Brewery is located has been redeemed for 9,000 years. In 1759 Arthur Guinness signed a contract for 9,000 years to lease the land on which the Guinness Brewery is located. The brewery has now been one of the most famous beer brands in the world for over 260 years. Let’s see how the next 8,740 years play out. Will the lease remain in force?

48. The name «Irish Liqueur» usually refers to Bailey’s Irish Cream, a cream liqueur made in Ireland since 1974 from Irish whiskey, cream, chocolate and other ingredients. Other liqueurs such as Sheridan’s Irish Coffee, Carolans Irish Cream, etc. are also made here.

49. The White House, where the President of America lives, was designed by Irish architect James Hoban in 1792. He was also one of the chief architects who worked on building the US Capitol in Washington DC.

50. Forbes magazine’s experts have named Ireland as the best country in the world to do business in. The country is an attractive hub for IT companies and start-ups. More than 1,150 international companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, LinkedIn, Dell and Intel have chosen Ireland to host their European headquarters. Many people from all over the world want to find work in Ireland. And, of course, to buy property in this beautiful country.



Friends, if you know any other interesting facts about the Irish and Ireland, please share them in the comments. This country is full of amazing stories, culture and traditions and many would love to hear more. We would be very grateful!

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