Facts About the Irish

facts about the irish

Ireland is widely known as being home to writers such as Oscar Wilde and Guinness beer, as well as boasting an abundance of castles.

One of the more intriguing facts about Ireland is that it hosts its own Olympics, which may even predate those held elsewhere. Other noteworthy details about Ireland include that their national symbol is actually a harp instead of the shamrock.


At the dawn of agriculture (7,000-6,000 BC), Irish hunters collected plants, seeds, shellfish, animal bones and other materials. Around 4,000 BC, farming had begun replacing hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Early farmers kept sheep, pigs and cattle; farmed grains; made pottery; kept sheep; produced pottery as well as weapons made of bone antler and stone.

Irish resistance against Norman English rule endured for centuries with various rebellions and uprisings, culminating in the 16th century when various British Crown governments initiated “plantations”, an initiative that involved land confiscation and colonisation by Scottish and English Protestant settlers replacing Irish Catholic landowners with Scottish/English Protestant settlers known as Scottish Plantation Lords who enforced restrictive laws while restricting religious and social freedoms – particularly among Roman Catholics.

Daniel O’Connell was among many Irish political activists in the 19th century seeking independence from Britain while simultaneously tolerating religious toleration for all. Inspired by American and French Revolution ideals, Protestant lawyer Wolf Tone founded the Society of United Irishmen in 1791 – soon gaining wide support across Ireland – leading rebellions against English rule but ultimately failing due to Britain’s vast empire and resources; rebel movements concluded with Act of Union 1800.


Irish culture is celebrated worldwide as being vibrant and welcoming. Irish people are widely revered for their literary, musical, and theatrical achievements; among them George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett as world-famous dramatists; John Millington Synge, Oscar Wilde, Sean O’Casey are celebrated authors; while hereditary learned families such as Ui Dhalaigh (Daly) and Clann Fhir Bhisigh (Mic Aodhachain) boast significant reputations in these disciplines.

Irish people have a reputation for their strong sense of community despite enduring many difficulties; this can be seen through how they treat neighbors and friends, as well as in how they go about living their everyday lives. For instance, it would be considered impolite not to accept tea or coffee offered from neighbors and it is considered polite to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when communicating in Ireland.

During the Great Famine in Ireland in the 19th century, millions of Irish refugees sought new opportunities in America. Many settled in cities like New York where powerful political machines such as Tammany Hall formed to assist immigrants through naturalization processes and provide jobs in factories and mines; some even joined the military, earning themselves the name 69th Regiment known as ‘Fighting Irish’ during American Civil War battles.


Irish is a Celtic language closely related to Scottish Gaelic, Welsh and Breton. One of the oldest written languages ever, its Ogham script inscriptions can be seen on ancient stone monuments as evidence. Highly inflected with five noun declensions based on factors including word singularity/plurality/initial sound as well as person (1st, 2nd or 3rd person), number (singular/plural), person and tense; as well as disjunctive forms for personal pronouns/counting non-human things (e.g. bus a tri=bus 3).

Ireland has long been subject to invasions from Vikings and Anglo-Normans, who assimilated their cultures and languages into Ireland’s culture and language, leaving their mark. By the sixteenth century however, English had overtaken Irish as its primary spoken language and this trend continued with increased migration following famine and emigration during the nineteenth century.

Irish remains spoken by an expansive population, with approximately 74,000 native speakers declaring themselves native speakers. It is taught in schools and widely broadcast on radio, TV and the internet – teaching it also encourages a growing interest from young people as its revival is encouraged by state authorities in Ireland’s Republic. Irish is both official and an official language; many signs contain bilingual texts in Irish and English.


Roman Catholicism is the dominant faith in Ireland. While its constitution guarantees religious freedom and practice, a strong social and political presence of Roman Catholicism remains in society and politics – approximately four fifths of Irish people identify themselves as Catholic while other denominations make up smaller percentages of the population.

Celtic religion, with its focus on Danu as its earth goddess, played an influential role in Irish culture prior to Christianity becoming predominant. While its rituals and beliefs remain mostly obscure today, traces of it remain; one such is an emphasis on Mary (an echo of Danu) and St Brigid as patron saints for Ireland respectively. Furthermore, this ancient tradition left behind numerous festivals that celebrate seasonal events.

Ireland was one of the last Western European nations to adopt Catholicism, yet is today one of its strongest adherents. Additionally, Ireland is home to small but growing numbers of Muslims, Hindus and Jews as well as Protestantism which emphasizes personal responsibility and self-reliance. A sizable percentage of Irishpeople identify as atheists or agnostics – something some see as evidence that Ireland may be moving inexorably toward secularism – although others view such predictions as mere wishful thinking that will never happen anywhere near as effectively anywhere in reality.


Irish music has an incredible history that dates back over one millennia. You’ll find its sound everywhere from homes to pubs, reception halls and concert halls; its melodies bring joyous dancing experiences while stirring laughter or tears in audiences worldwide. Irish music remains an integral part of national identity while being enjoyed worldwide.

The Irish national instrument, the harp can be found on all official documents and coins as its national instrument. Although each harp varies in size and shape, all possess multiple strings with resonators to produce its beautiful sound when played vertically and can also be used to compose classical music pieces. Sean-nos singing or traditional forms of Irish music usually use this instrument.

Non-sean-nos singing still employs ornamentation patterns and melodic freedom inherited from sean-nos singing, while Irish folk music frequently makes use of the bodhran for rhythm creation.

Irish groups that rose to prominence include Planxty, De Dannan and The Bothy Band. Irish musicians have ventured into new areas too – combining traditional Irish music with rock, reggae, punk jazz and new age sounds such as Clannad’s Sinead O’Connor Enya or The Pogues music for instance have all achieved international stardom! An interesting aspect of music in Ireland is that female Leprechauns exist and often can be found playing harps!


Ireland is famously famed for its lush vistas, whimsical legends and myths, beers and spirits as well as its proud independent history – yet its cuisine doesn’t reach international prominence like that found in France, Mexico, Japan or Italy.

Before the potato was introduced to Ireland, grains such as oats, barley and wheat formed the backbone of most meals. These could either be consumed as porridge or baked into bread – whether wafer thin like chapati or thicker similar to what remains popular today in Scotland – using household equipment like kneading slab lecc and griddle lann.

Dairy products were also important, such as butter, tath (pressed curds similar to paneer), mulchan and oat cheese. Milk was often boiled into sowens for refreshing drinks like this; fruit like rowanberries and blackberries provided sweetness to their diets.

Meat consumption was limited to Wednesday and Friday meals during Lent and fish was eaten regularly; seafood wasn’t quite as common due to culture shift from farming-centered focus towards seagoing trade, and as a result Irish seafood consumption is lower than European average despite this upward trend in recent years.

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