Ireland, Leprechauns, and the Blarney Stone

St. Patrick's Day comes round but once a year on March 17. Although a few of the more popular bits and pieces of Irish lore seem to be known by many, quite a bit more is hidden away. Even those who aren't truly Irish enjoy a bit of bedevilment on this day when green is the popular color to wear, Irish potatoes taste sweeter than ever before, and a little green beer never hurt anyone. Lots of Irish trivia is listed below, some of it most likely very familiar and the rest of it not quite so familiar.

  • Ireland has the nickname of 'Emerald Isle' because of the fact that its grass was so brilliantly green.
  • Ninety inches of rain falls annually in Ireland.
  • Ireland's Great Potato Famine occurred in the year 1845.
  • During the Great Potato Famine, nearly one million Catholic Irish came to America in order to escape from starvation.
  • The Republic of Ireland takes up 27,136 square miles of land.
  • Ireland takes up approximately as much area as half of the size of the state of Arkansas.
  • In 1995, Ireland legalized divorce by a narrow margin.
  • Today, the currency of the Republic of Ireland is the Euro.
  • The currency in Northern Ireland is the pound Sterling (GBP).
  • Before the 1970s, the pubs in Ireland were closed on Saint Patrick's Day.
  • 'Erin Go Bragh' translates into Ireland Forever.
  • Shamrocks are clovers with three leaves.
  • A three-leafed shamrock can be used to represent the trinity.
  • March 17 is the day that Saint Patrick's feast day is celebrated.
  • March 17 is not the day that Saint Patrick was born. It is the day that Saint Patrick died.
  • Saint Patrick was not born in Ireland. He was born in Scotland.
  • Saint Patrick's name in Latin is Patricius.
  • Saint Patrick was captured by pirates at the age of 16.
  • Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland.
  • Leprechauns are thought to be little people who live in Ireland. They have magical powers and have been entrusted with the task of protecting a pot of gold.
  • Leprechauns are Irish fairies who stand about two feet tall.
  • Legend states that the Leprechaun can be tracked by following the sound of his shoemaker's hammer.
  • The Blarney Stone can be found in the town of Cork.
  • Any individual who kisses the Blarney Stone will be blessed with the gift of gab- or so Irish tradition implies.
  • The Blarney Stone sits in the battlements of Blarney Castle.
  • A spiral staircase leads to the top of Blarney Castle.
  • Robert the Bruce gave the Blarney Stone to Cormac McCarthy in 1314 for his loyalty.
  • On March 17, 1737, the first Saint Patrick's Day Parade took place.
  • The first Saint Patrick's Day Parade did not take place in Ireland. It took place in the United States.
  • The first Saint Patrick's Day Parade was held in New York City. Irish soldiers organized and marched in it.
  • The traditional meal in Ireland on of March 17, Saint Patrick's feast day, is Irish bacon and cabbage.
  • Approximately forty million Americans have ancestry roots that date back to Ireland.
  • Several organizations in the United States including the Hibernians and The Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick reflect Irish patriotism.
  • James Joyce, a famous Irish poet and novelist, wrote 'Ulysses.'
  • 'The Chieftains,' a popular Celtic Band, were essential to the popularization of traditional Irish music in other countries.

St. Patrick's Day is typically a day of fun for everyone. It doesn't matter whether someone is actually Irish or not. Chances are they know someone who is Irish. The parties and parades are many throughout the world in celebration of this fun holiday.

author: Susan Keenan

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