Ireland is a place that has fascinated many people and is part of many people’s heritage. You many know some common history about Ireland, but you probably are not aware of these unusual facts about Ireland.
One thing Ireland is know for is its pubs. There are no shortage of pubs around the country. In Dingle, a very popular tourist destination, you will find 50 pubs for a population of just 1,500, so you will never be short of a place to have a pint.
The pub in Ireland is more than just drinking, they are social centers. People visit the pub to enjoy music, catch up with friends and have a nice Sunday afternoon dinner. You will often see children in pubs in the afternoon eating a meal with their family. There are around 11,000 pubs in Ireland.
It has long been claimed that Dublin’s Johnny Fox’s pub was the highest in Ireland, but it has recently been discovered that another lesser known pub, Top of Coom, in Kerry (that also claimed it was Ireland’s highest pub), is actually the highest pub.
Ireland’s smallest pub in found in central Dublin on Dawson Street. It is called The Dawson Lounge. Inside its style is traditional, but this is no pub for those who dislike confined spaces, as the pub has an official capacity of just 24. However, you may find that there are more than 24 people in this pub. Due to its fame, The Dawson Lounge is a popular stop for tourists and you will find that it is usually packed.
Windmills are found in many countries around the world and in themselves are not that unusual. However, the windmills of Ireland have one little quirk, they turn clockwise, while windmills everywhere else turn counter-clockwise.
Just about everyone has heard of St. Patrick and probably knows that he is the patron saint of Ireland, but fewer may know about his origins. St. Patrick is not Irish at all, in fact he was born in Roman Britain. St. Patrick was born Maewyn Succat and it was thought he arrived in Ireland after he was captured by Irish raiders. When in Ireland he was referred to as Patricius Daorbae. The name Daorbae is a Gaelic name that meant enslaved.
Limerick City has a violent past and present. Keeping in tune with the their fondness of nicknaming things, the Irish have dubbed Limerick ‘stab city’ While this fact is commonly known in Ireland by the natives, many outside Ireland are not aware of it. The name comes from the fact the Limerick is commonly the location of gang violence. Before becoming ‘stab city’ Limerick had another name with violent origins, ‘city of sieges’. This name came from the very numerous sackings that occurred during the 17th century.
Ireland’s very religious history still has its remnants in modern Irish society. However, Ireland is by no means the religious country that people living outside Ireland think it is. In fact most people under 30 never go to church. Church going is still common amongst some of the older generation, but the extent of abuse by the Catholic church in Ireland over many years has left a bitter feeling about the church amongst the younger generations.
Despite being so small Ireland has the highest percentage of exports to the United States than any other European country. 14 percent of Ireland’s gross domestic product is exported to America.
Irish often mistakenly referred to as Gaelic is spoken fluently in Ireland by only 380,000 people despite being taught in school from a very early age until graduation. However, Irish speaking schools are on the rise and over 1 million people say they are competent Irish speakers.
The Irish are found of nicknaming things especially Dubliners. Tourists to Dublin often enjoy looking at the various statues and moments found around the city. One statue that is particularly popular and where you will always find a tourist posing for a picture is the Molly Malone statue at the bottom of Grafton Street. The statue was placed in its current location in 1987 and was quickly renamed by locals to ‘The Tart With the Cart’. The statue also has some lesser known nicknames, ‘The Dish With the Fish’ and ‘The Trollop With the Scallops’
To celebrate the new millennium a monument was designed and finally erected on Dublin’s O’Connell Street in 2003. It is officially called the Spire and is exactly that a very tall unattractive spire. Within weeks Dubliner’s had worked their magic renaming the Spire a variety of names, the most common being ‘The Spike’. It is also called ‘The Binge Syringe’, ‘The Stiffy at the Liffey’ and ‘The Stiletto in the Ghetto’ The syringe name is a reference to Dublin’s inner city heroin problems.
O’Connell Street is the location of another monument with a famous nickname. This monument is called Anna Livia and supposed to represent the River Liffey. The monument contains a fountain and is now fondly referred to as ‘The Floozie in the Jacuzzi’ or ‘The Hoor in the Sewer’.
James Joyce, one of Ireland’s most famous writers has not escaped the nicknaming. A statue dedicated to the writer near ‘The Spike’ has been dubbed ‘The Prick with a Stick’.
In the months before the new millennium Dublin City placed a clock in the River Liffey near the Liffey Bridge where you could take a picture and get a postcard with the time until the new year. This clock became known as ‘The Time in the Slime’.