As a country full of history and folklore, you can imagine that the numerous facts of Ireland will be just as interesting.
When you think about Ireland, you may picture dark pints of Guinness and dancing leprechauns. But there is so much more to discover!
You can plan a whole trip around experiencing the exciting facts about Ireland. Some of the fun facts for Ireland may even come as a surprise!
Here are some of the best fun facts on Ireland to think about.
Favorite Fact of Ireland
Ireland is home to the longest coast road in the world, and you can catch one of the most famous landmarks of Ireland along the way.
Drive the Longest Coastal Route in the World–the Wild Atlantic Way
There is no better way to see the beauty and Ireland facts up close than by taking a long drive. On the west coast of Ireland, you can travel the Wild Atlantic Way.
It is 2,500 kilometers long and starts in County Donegal at the Inishowen Peninsula down to the town of Kinsale in County Cork. Be sure to stop at the famous Cliffs of Moher on your way down!
Other Interesting and Fun Facts of Ireland
There are 32 Counties in Ireland
Many people might not know a primary fact of Ireland is that the island is shared by two countries. 26 counties are a part of the Republic of Ireland.
6 counties make up Northern Ireland, which is a part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Dublin is the Capital of the Republic of Ireland
The capital of the Republic of Ireland is Dublin City in Dublin County. One of the more interesting Ireland facts is that Dublin was first colonized by the Vikings. The modern name comes from the original Dubh Linn, referring to the darkness of the River Liffey that flows through the city.
Belfast is the Capital of Northern Ireland
The capital of Northern Ireland is Belfast City in Antrim County. Here you can visit the tallest building (and bar) on the Island of Ireland. And if you enjoy history, you can see where the Titanic was built.
The Largest County is County Cork
County Cork is nearly 7,500 square kilometers. In Cork, you can learn about a very interesting Ireland fact by visiting the Blarney Stone and Castle.
The Highest Mountain is in County Kerry
At 1,036 meters high, Carrauntoohill is located in the mountain range Magillycuddy. You can visit the peaks when visiting the Dingle Penisula in County Kerry.
The Longest River is the River Shannon
The River Shannon flows through 11 counties, starting near the border of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and ending in County Galway. It is 360.5 kilometers, making it the longest river in the British Isles.
You can Visit the Remains of Saint Valentine
You may think of Ireland and associate it with the person we all turn to for love. But a fact about Ireland is that the relics of Saint Valentine can be visited in Dublin City – Count Dublin at the Whitefriar Street Church.
If you are visiting near Valentine’s Day, you will see a lot of couples visiting the shrine at the church to pray for their relationship and future love.
There were Never Snakes on the Island of Ireland
Ready to dazzle people with this ancient fact about Ireland?
Snakes never lived in Ireland, no matter which time you look back to. It is theorized that the snakes Saint Patrick drove off the island were a symbol of evil as he brought the World of God to Ireland.
Patrick Wasn’t Irish
Another Ireland fun fact is about the patron saint of the island. Born Maewyn Succat, Saint Patrick was most likely Scottish or Welsh.
He was abducted by pirates at 16 and brought to what is modern-day Northern Ireland. He tended sheep as a slave before he started preaching about religion.
Go to the Puck Fair and See the King Goat
In the city of Killorglin, in the mountain of County Kerry, there is an annual festival. Every August, a wild goat is caught and named king for three days.
There are celebrations and parties in its honor. And don’t worry, this Ireland fun fact doesn’t end poorly for the goat. The goat is released back to the wild at the end of its reign.
The Harp is the National Symbol of Ireland
One of the Ireland facts you may not believe is what the national symbol is. Even though you may think of shamrocks or leprechauns when picturing Ireland, the golden harp is the official symbol of Ireland.
Halloween Started in Ireland
You may not suspect this fact about Ireland. Before Christianity came to the Island of Ireland, it is believed that most Irish were pagans.
Under that belief system, there was an annual celebration called Samhain. This was used to indicate the end of the harvest season. It has been adapted over the centuries to our modern Halloween.
Potatoes are American and Were Brought to Ireland
You may be surprised to hear this fact about Ireland. Explorer Sir Walter Raleigh brought potatoes from the New World, America, around 1588. He had a farm in County Cork that he first planted potatoes at.
Potatoes are now a wildly popular feature in Irish cuisine. They were also the cause of the Great Famine.
The Population of Ireland has not Recovered Since the Great Famine
The Great Famine started in 1845, and before the population was destroyed it is believed that 8 million people were living on the Island of Ireland.
Lasting about 8 years, the ending population was 6.5 million. Today, nearly 5 million people are living on the Island of Ireland.
The Oldest Pub is More Than 1,100 Years Old
Head to Sean’s Bar in Athlone, County Westmeath. It is said to have opened and been in operation since about 900 AD. Many historians believe that it may be the oldest pub in the World.
The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is one of the Largest Amateur Sports Organizations in the World
It is easy to find several traditional sporting matches in Ireland to attend. You can go to Gaelic Football or hurling (similar to field hockey and lacrosse, without a net on your stick).
The main stadium, where GAA hosts tournaments, is Croke Park in Dublin City. Croke Park is the 4th largest stadium in Western Europe.
The Guinness Factory had a 9,000 Year Lease
Created by Arthur Guinness, many will travel to Ireland to sip a dark pint of Guinness stout. The brewery property was originally not bought by the Guinness company.
Instead, Dublin City gave the company a 9,000-year lease. The company has since bought the property but you can visit the original St. James Gate Brewery.
More Irish People Live Outside Ireland than in the Country
Currently, about 5 million people are living on the Island of Ireland. However, more than 80 million people worldwide claim Irish heritage.
The Republic of Ireland even hosts events inviting those with Irish heritage to come and visit the home of their ancestors.
Be Careful of Someone’s Offer to Buy you a Round in a Pub
The “round” is sacred in Irish drinking. This is when someone will offer to buy everyone in your circle another drink.
You must return the favor and buy a round for everyone as well at some point. In cities like Dublin and Galway, people will get mad if they feel robbed from a “round.”
Don’t Walk Under the Bell at Trinity College Dublin
Founded By Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century, Trinity College is the oldest college in Ireland.
In the main square, you will see a bell tower, known as the campanile. Legend has it that if a student walks under it before graduation, they won’t pass their finals.
The Republic of Ireland won the most times in the Eurovision Contest
Ireland has won the annual song contest seven times since 1956. Countries from Europe, and other parts of the World, will come together and compete to see who can create the best (cheesiest) pop song.
Pick a Castle to Visit
There are plenty to choose from. There are over 30,000 castles across Ireland. When a castle turns to ruins, the Irish will not take the rest of it down.
This means you can see still standing castles, old forts, and castles that were once full of history wherever you visit.
Irish Last Names are Found Everywhere
A clear indicator of someone being of Irish descent is them having an O’ last name. Having this last name means that person was the “son of” the second part of their name.
For many O’ last names, there was once royalty in their family line.
Visiting a Place Older than the Stonehedge and the Pyramids at Giza
Newgrange is a Neolithic monument located in County Meath. It is estimated that it was built in 3,200 BC. It is dome 76 meters in diameter, with a burial chamber and passageways found inside.
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Uncover More Fun Facts About Ireland On Your Trip
These are just some of the interesting facts of Ireland that will inspire your trip. No matter where you visit, you will learn and see some incredible Ireland fun facts. With a history going back to ancient times and a lively social scene today, a trip to Ireland can be the perfect thing for solar travelers or those in groups!