From Leprechauns to Literature: 45 Ireland Facts to Impress Your Friends

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In the old Jameson Whiskey distillery in Dublin, cats were so vital in keeping rats away from the barley warehouse, that they were each allocated their own milk allowance from petty cash.

2. If you have one Irish grandparent, you are eligible for Irish citizenship (with fee). You don't need to have even been to Ireland or know the first thing about the country to apply.

3. The Ancient Irish respected their dogs so much that if a Warrior or King gained the loyalty of a hound they would be given the prefix ''Cu'' meaning ''Hound'', added on before their own name to show others they were worthy of the respect and loyalty of a dog.

4. Marsh's Library in Dublin puts readers in cages to prevent them from walking off with rare books.

5. The Irish last name prefix "Mac" means "son of" and the prefix "O" means "grandson of".

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6Blood donation

Blood donation

In Ireland, it had been a tradition to be given a pint of Guinness beer for a pint of donated blood, to replace the iron. However this program was cancelled in 2012.

7. The government of Ireland declared a State of Emergency at the beginning of WWII, on the 2nd of September 1939, which wasn’t lifted until 1976. This event is known simply as “The Emergency”.

8. During the Irish Potato Famine, the poor were given construction jobs, so they could earn food rather than receive it as a handout. However, to avoid taking jobs from other workers, these people built useless projects like roads in the middle of nowhere, and piers in the middle of bogs.

9. Ireland is the only country in the world with a musical instrument (Harp) as its national symbol.

10. In 2005, a man named Robert McCartney was murdered after a pub brawl in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The murder still remains unsolved due to all 71 of the possible witnesses claiming to be in the bathroom, leading the bathroom to be nicknamed the Tardis.

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11King Niall

King Niall

The 5th century Irish warlord known as Niall of the Nine Hostages has over 3 million direct male descendants. Men with common Irish surnames like O'Neil, O'Connor, O'Reilly are among his descendants.

12. The shortest St. Patrick's Day parade in the world takes place in Dripsey, Cork. The parade lasts just 100 yards and travels between the village's two pubs.

13. When workers were renovating Ireland's Leap Castle, they found so many human remains impaled on wooden spikes within a wall that it took three cartloads to remove all of them.

14. Snakes have never existed in Ireland. Because they are cold-blooded, the snake couldn't survive the frozen ground during the previous ice age.

15. The law governing firearms in Ireland used to consider airsoft guns legally equivalent to a 20mm anti-tank rifles, as the law failed to specify a minimum energy for a gun's projectile.

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16Michael Malloy

Michael Malloy

In the 1930s, an Irish man named Michael Malloy survived being intentionally fed Antifreeze, turpentine, rat poison, being left in −14°F and getting hit by a taxi as part of being a victim of a life insurance scam. His was nicknamed “Mike the Durable.”

17. The Irish Elk is an extinct species of deer that had the largest antlers of any known deer with a maximum size of 3.65 meters (12 feet) from tip to tip, which weighed up to 40kg (88lb).

18. 75% of all alcohol consumed in Ireland in 2013 was done so as part of a binge drinking session.

19. During the Great Famine, Ireland continued to export enormous quantities of food to England. This kept food prices far too high for the average Irish peasant to afford and was a major contributing factor in the large death toll from the famine.

20. An Irish woman named Katie Mulrennan was denied for a teaching job in South Korea, citing the “alcoholic nature” of Irish people as a reason for rejection.

21100th birthday

100th birthday

In Ireland, on your 100th birthday, you receive a letter and €2,540 from the President as part of the Centenarian Bounty. On each subsequent birthday, you receive a letter and a commemorative coin.

22. When Irish Banks went on strike for 6 months in the 1970s, people used pubs to cash their pay-cheques and to keep the economy running.

23. There is an ancient temple named Newgrange in Ireland that predates Giza and Stonehenge. During the winter solstice, light penetrates through to the burial tomb for about 19 minutes.

24. In 980, an Irish High King named Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill defeated the Vikings of Dublin after a three-day siege of Dublin city. The Vikings surrendered, and the King then freed all slaves in the city.

25. In 2016, an anonymous donor sent two Bronze Age axes and two pieces of rare Viking jewelry to the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin. The museum believes the items were illegally excavated.

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