About Ireland – Fun Facts about the Emerald Isle!

Looking to visit Ireland? Or are you just interested in learning a few interesting facts about this unique island? Well you’ve come to the right place! Below are a list of 10 rarely known facts about this sensational country and its people.

  1. Ireland is a country of firsts! It was the first country to introduce an environmental tax on plastic bags (2002), the first to introduce a public smoking ban (2004) and most recently, the first country to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote (2015).
  2. Speaking of records, Ireland also has the longest running talk-show in the world (The Late Late Show) which has been running since 1962. On the last Friday of every November, a special edition takes place where children take centre stage and review the newest toys available to them for Christmas. It is the beginning of the Christmas season for many Irish families.
  3. The longest place name in Ireland is Muchanaghaderdauhaulia in county Galway and means ‘pig marsh between two waters’. Try asking your taxi driver to go there after a few pints of Guinness! :)
  4. Approximately 10% of the Irish population are natural redheads. It is a feature that has long been celebrated within Irish culture and now has its own festival in County Cork. Awards are given for everything from furthest travelled redhead to best redhead dog. It’s a celebration of all things red!
  5. It is estimated that 80 million people worldwide are of Irish descent despite the fact that the island is currently only inhabited by 5 million! The majority of these descendants are currently living in the U.S, Canada, U.K, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia.
  6. It is believed that 40% of American presidents have had Irish ancestry, most famously Kennedy and Obama. Not only that but the White House was originally designed by James Hoban and the tune of their national Anthem (Star Spangled Banner) was composed by Turlough O’Carolan. Both Irish men!
  7. Though many think the national symbol of Ireland is a shamrock, it is in fact the Celtic harp. Ireland is the only country in the world with a musical instrument for a symbol.
  8. Killary Bay is the only true fjord in Ireland (narrow inlet of water between high slopes) and is located in an Irish (Gaelic) speaking part of the country in Connemara. Though Irish is the first language of Ireland, there are only about 380,000 native speakers left.
  9. Many Irish surnames begin with ‘O’ or ‘Mc/Mac’ which mean ‘son of’. If you were to see ‘Ní’, it would mean ‘daughter of’. A lot of Irish first names are just translations of English (such as Seán meaning John) but many are taken from other areas of life such as ‘Saoirse’ (pronounced Seer-sha) meaning ‘freedom’ and ‘Bláithín’ (pronounced blaw-heen) meaning ‘flower’.
  10. And finally, for some of the strangest records held by Ireland/Irish citizens: Largest consumption of tea per capita, most socks worn on one foot (154!) and the largest gatherings of people dressed like nuns, the Hulk and Wally/Waldo  (Not all at once!). 

If this blog has sparked any interest in visiting Ireland then don’t hesitate to contact the My Holiday Ireland Team with any questions you may have, no matter how small! Contact us here or have a look through our huge variety of tours at the top of the page. We cater for everything from escorted bus tours, self drive tours, adventure holidays, honeymoons to anything else that you can imagine doing during your time in Ireland. Want to go surfing? Stay in a castle? Take a wild foods masterclass? Just ask us and we’ll make it happen :)