10 Fun Facts About Ireland You May Not Have Known

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Here at URBAN eat, we love to celebrate different cultures and the food they produce. That’s why we’re starting up our new regular blog feature, Country of the Month, in which we pick one country every month and focus on its culture and the food it produces.

This month, with St Patrick’s Day fast approaching, we’re focusing on Ireland, and to kick us off, here are 10 fun facts about Ireland you may not be aware of!

 

  • RTE’s famous The Late, Late Show is the world’s second longest-running television talk show. Beginning in 1962, it’s become an institution in (and beyond) Ireland, and is beaten to the top spot only by America’s legendary The Tonight Show, which started in 1954. Here’s a recent clip of a ‘Let it go’ sing-along

 

  • Halloween owes its origins to the ancient Gaelic festival Samhain. The event is celebrated from sunset on October 31st to sunset on November 1st, and marks the conclusion of harvest season and the start of winter. Samhain still exists, but in the popular consciousness, it blended with All Saints’/All Souls’ Day and became the Halloween we know today.

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  • Lots of Irish surnames are pre-fixed by Mac or O’, but do you know what they actually mean? Mac means ‘Son of’ and O’ means ‘Grandson of’ in Gaelic, so Irish footballer John O’Shea would literally translate to John, Grandson of Shea.

 

  • Ever wondered why the sky is blue? So did Leighlinbridge-born scientist John Tyndall, who wasn’t just satisfied with idle pondering – he actually worked it out. In 1869, Tyndall experimented with light and discovered that the sky’s blue appearance is a result of sunlight scattering its way through particles in the upper atmosphere. This is now known as The Tyndall Effect.

 

  • Rich in history, Ireland is also pretty famous for its chilling ghost stories. One of the most well-known is that of the White Lady of Kinsale, who flung herself to her death from the walls of Charlesfort. She’d recently married one of the fort’s soldiers, but when he fell asleep on the nightwatch, he was court marshalled by his colleagues, and the inconsolable girl killed herself. She can now be seen roaming the corridors of the fort having less-than-friendly encounters with those who pass through.

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  • The Yes/No game is a doddle in Ireland, because in the Irish language, there are no words for Yes or No. Instead of answering a question with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ you’d simply answer with a verb form. So, if you were asked if you sold your house, the answer would be ‘I sold’ or ‘I didn’t sell’.

 

  • Ever heard of Crubeens and Drisheen? No? Well, they’re delicacies in Ireland. Crubeens are pigs’ feet, which are traditionally battered and fried, and then eaten by hand, while Drisheen is a form of black pudding, which is made from cow, pig, and/or sheep’s blood, mixed with milk, salt, fat and breadcrumbs. Herbs can be added to liven up the flavour… which is probably a good idea.

 

  • The United States has its beloved breakfast burrito, and Ireland has its breakfast roll. This constitutes of some of the elements of a full Irish breakfast (typically bacon rashers, pork sausages, fried eggs, white pudding, black pudding, and fried tomato) wedged into a French roll. Tasty!

 

  • Riverdance celebrates its 20th anniversary last year, and it continues to be performed across the world; including, in 2008, on the Great Wall of China! The production has run through over 12,000 costume changes and 14,000 dance shoes in its time.

 

Do you have any fun facts about Ireland? Have an idea for our next country of the month? Get in touch via Facebook or Twitter and make sure to check back with us next week where we’ll bring you more Irish themed blogging.