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Entertainment | St Patrick’s 2016

Nine excellent facts about Ireland that might surprise you

A view from the Wild Atlantic Way (Picture: Lukasz Warzecha)

1. It’s one of best places in the world to live, apparently 

According to United Nations’ research from 2015, Ireland is currently the 6th best country in the world to live in. The organisation’s Human Development Index, which measures statistics such as a country’s average life expectancy, gross national income and education systems holds Ireland in high regard, putting it above the US, Canada and Britain. 

2.  We might like a drink, but never on one specific day of the year 

Ireland and its people might be stereotyped for enjoying the odd drink. However, this all goes down the drain on Good Friday as a complete ban on alcohol stops punters from heading to their local pub or off-licence. (The only other day of the year pubs close on is Christmas Day). If desperation kicks in on Good Friday, alcohol sales in the North of Ireland are legal from 5pm to 11pm. Cue panic buying the night before. 

Croke Park Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Grealy
Croke Park ©INPHO/Tommy Grealy

3. Ireland is home to Europe’s 3rd biggest sports ground

Beaten only by Barcelona’s Nou Camp and London’s Wembley, Ireland’s national GAA stadium Croke Park can host to 82,300 fans on a match day. The stadium also hosts major concerts with American superstars Bruce Springsteen and Beyoncé due to play later this year, just don’t mention Garth Brooks…

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4. We love home, but like to travel 

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), recently discovered that 17.5% of Irish-born adults now reside abroad. According to the organisation’s list of 34 polled countries, Ireland beat the likes of New Zealand on 14.1% and Mexico on 12.2%. 

The Ireland rugby team celebrate winning the RBS Six Nations grand slam in 2009 [Picture: Inpho]
The Ireland rugby team celebrate winning the RBS Six Nations grand slam in 2009 [Picture: Inpho]

5. When watching Irish teams play, you may hear two national anthems

In addition to Ireland’s Amhran na bhFiann national anthem, several of the country’s sporting teams also use Ireland’s Call, which was written in 1995 by Phil Coulter to bring every county of Ireland together. The songwriter said “he loved hearing the combination of Irish accents signing together”, which evidently stuck as the anthem has been an official part of the Ireland rugby team since 1995. Ireland’s Call has since been adopted by the country’s cricket, hockey and rugby league teams. 

6.  Irish waters are a legal sanctuary for whales and dolphins

This year marks the 25th anniversary since Irish waters were declared by law as a sanctuary for whales and dolphins, a complete first in Europe. The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) helps maintain this conservation of these mammals and regularly posts sightings on their website. According to the conservation group, 24 species of the two cetaceans have be recorded in Irish waters since their records began in 1990. 

It's only a spot of rain...(Photo Mark Stedman/
It’s only a spot of rain…(Photo Mark Stedman/

7. It doesn’t rain quite as much as you might think…

According to Met Eireann, Ireland experiences its fair share of rainfall with its east and south-east coasts covered by rain clouds for an average of 160 days per year. However, that leaves 205 days where you could, potentially leave the raincoat at home. This probably can’t be said for the west coast though, which experiences rainfall on an average of 225 days per year.

8. A staggering 70 million people can trace their roots back to Ireland 

Despite the island’s combined population amassing to a relatively small six million, it is estimated that there are around 70 million people around the world who can trace their ancestry back to Ireland. The most recent example of Irish emigration was an exodus that occurred after the 2007-2008 financial crash, which saw an estimated 250,000 people leave its shores.

Montserrat9. Ireland has had a major influence on a tiny Caribbean island

At a distance of 6,161km from Irish shores, the small island of Montserrat can bizarrely be called “mini Ireland”. This is due to a connection that dates back to 18th century Irish sailors settling on its shores. The island itself is home to all things green, with St. Patrick’s Day being an annual tradition for locals. Because of its historic connection to Ireland, Montserrat has also adapted famous Irish symbols – a flag features the iconic harp while visitors to the island have a shamrock stamped on their passport.


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2 comments on “Nine excellent facts about Ireland that might surprise you”

  1. cEcelia

    Ireland may have a young lady ( 80 ) visit her shores April 19th to celebrate. Her special day from BRISTOL ?????see you soon

  2. Seamus

    Monserrat? Barbados is the island full of Irish descendents. That's to where Cromwell deported the population of Limerick.


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