Irish Fun Facts

Today is a great day to celebrate Irish fun facts. Ireland is more than whisky, beer, rain, and green hillsides. But, speaking of beer, in 1759 Arthur Guinness signed a lease for the land on which the Guinness Brewery stands. That lease is still in effect, as its term was 9,000 years.

More tidbits… You can see the Northern Lights in Ireland.

Halloween was invented in Ireland.

Ireland is home to more red-haired people than any other country.

Irish rugby teams regularly rank among the best in the world.

The place with the longest name in Ireland is Muckanaghededauhaulia. (Go ahead, say that three times… fast.)

Ireland is the only nation with a musical instrument as its national symbol. It’s the Gaelic harp.

There are some 30,000 standing castles or castle ruins in Ireland. (And, yes, I have kissed the Blarney Stone at the famed Blarney Castle.)

Ireland is named after a goddess. In Old Irish, she was known as Eriu… Eire in modern Gaelic. She and her two goddess sisters looked out for Ireland’s general well-being.

The O’ in Irish names means “descendant of.”

The shamrock is not a symbol of Ireland. The Anglicised form of “seamróg” (young clover) is, however, linked to St. Patrick, who is often depicted preaching while holding a shamrock.

Last, but not least, St. Patrick wasn’t Irish. Born in Roman-Britain, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and sold into slavery to tend sheep at age 16. He later returned as a missionary and is credited with the Christianization of Ireland in the 5th Century. His name was Maewyn Succat, but Patrick became his name when he was ordained as a priest. St. Patrick’s color was blue, not green. The transition to green is thought to have been the result of connecting symbolically with clover. March 17th is the date on which it is believed that St. Patrick died in 460 AD.

I have a little Irish blood from both my parents, but on this day of days, we are all a bit of Irish. We are also entitled to dish out a bunch of blarney. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

About Cathy Burnham Martin

Author of 20+ books, and counting! A professional voice-over artist, dedicated foodie, and lifelong corporate communications geek, Cathy Burnham Martin has enjoyed a highly eclectic career, ranging from the arts and journalism to finance, telecommunications, and publishing. Along with her husband, Ron Martin, she has passions for entertaining, gardening, volunteering, active and visual arts, GREAT food, and traveling. Cathy often says, "I believe that we all should live with as much contagious enthusiasm as possible... Whether we're with friends or family, taking people along for the ride is more than half the fun."
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