Fun Facts About Ireland

Ireland’s beautiful landscapes and rich cultural traditions have captured the world’s imagination for centuries, inspiring everything from poetic verse to groundbreaking literature. Ireland has left an indelible mark upon history that will endure forever.

Did you know, for instance, that Halloween was inspired by ancient Celtic traditions? Or that there are no wild snakes in Ireland despite what St. Patrick may have suggested?

1. The oldest pub in Ireland is Sean’s Bar in Athlone

Sean’s Bar is an iconic establishment located in Athlone and dates back over 1,100 years, boasting the title as Ireland’s oldest pub (disputed by Dublin’s Brazen Head), established by Luain Mac Luighdeach (900 AD) who opened it as an inn before later turning it into a pub and operating ever since.

Sean’s Bar is believed to be one of the oldest bars in Europe. Renovations carried out during 1970 revealed original walls constructed of wattle and wicker with old coins discovered nearby; one wall remains in existence within Sean’s Bar today and can be seen displayed alongside some of these historic coins.

Athlone is a beautiful city filled with attractions to see and do, from medieval Norman castle ruins to Shannon River walks and everything in between. Enjoy all that Athlone has to offer by relaxing with a cold pint of Guinness in hand.

Sean’s Bar is a must-visit for anyone wanting a taste of authentic Irish spirit. Boasting live music seven nights a week and flowing pints that add an electric atmosphere, Sean’s is considered to be one of Ireland’s oldest pubs (if not world!). So next time you visit Athlone be sure to stop in for a drink and some live music; you won’t regret it!

2. The shamrock isn’t the national symbol

The three-leafed clover is one of the most recognizable symbols of Ireland, often associated with Saint Patrick’s Day and worn to bring good luck. This connection to Ireland can be traced to Saint Patrick, a Christian missionary who used it to explain Holy Trinity doctrine to Irish pagan people.

Legend holds that St Patrick pressed the leaves of a clover together to demonstrate God’s presence everywhere through Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Soon thereafter it became a national symbol for Ireland – displayed prominently on Celtic crosses and illuminations from The Book of Kells; eventually even making its way onto the Royal Coat of Arms when Ireland joined it in 1800.

Ireland doesn’t rely solely on one national symbol to represent itself; other popular emblems of its identity include the harp and its longstanding association with Irish folk music as an independence movement symbol. Meanwhile, Irish nationalist movements adopted it only later during the 19th century, when both it and harp became their emblems.

Ireland is well known for its love of nature and rural living, evident by the country’s first coins featuring pictures of animals. Furthermore, Ireland’s low levels of development and pollution has helped keep its landscape lush and green; inspiring many great authors and poets such as James Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness novels like Ulysses and Finnegans Wake and Oscar Wilde’s quick one-liners and aestheticism as seen in The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest.

3. The Wild Atlantic Way is the longest driving route in the world

At 2,500 miles long, the Wild Atlantic Way is the longest designated coastal route in the world. Spanning nine Irish counties from County Donegal’s rugged wilderness to Kinsale in County Cork’s coastal resort town of Kinsale – Kinsale is part of this iconic road trip known for its ancient history, stunning vistas and legendary hospitality.

Ireland may not be as large as other European nations, but it still boasts much to offer its visitors. From magnificent beaches and rugged clifftops to vibrant villages and bustling cities – Ireland truly has something for everyone!

At its heart lies Ireland’s people – the Irish are among the friendliest and warmest nations on Earth, known for their infectious humor and warm, inviting demeanor that makes it hard not to fall in love with this unique island nation!

Ireland holds two amazing distinctions, being both the most successful country and creator of Halloween itself. Ireland was responsible for seven out of a possible 13 wins at Eurovision Song Contest; additionally it can trace its roots back 2,000 years to Celtic Samhain festival which created Halloween.

Ireland is famously known as the Emerald Isle for good reason – it boasts some of the most stunning, green landscapes anywhere. From rolling hills dotted with pink heather to dramatic clifftops and the turquoise waters of the Atlantic, Ireland’s landscapes are simply magnificent.

To see breathtaking views, ride Ireland’s only cable car on Dursey Island in County Cork; or explore Skellig Michael where Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi were shot. Whatever your Ireland bucket list may include, don’t forget your camera and sense of adventure – who knows when you may discover an unexpected Irish treasure!

4. There are no wild snakes in Ireland

Contrary to popular belief, there are no snakes in Ireland today despite legends regarding St. Patrick and his fasting journey on a hilltop during which they interfered. According to legend, St. Patrick banished all snakes during his forty day fast journey on said hilltop by banishing all snakes who interrupted it during this period in 5th century.

But in reality, Ireland never saw snakes to begin with. That is due to the last Ice Age covering Ireland and England with a frozen tundra too cold for cold-blooded reptiles like snakes. Once glaciers melted away and landmasses connected again, however, snakes had missed their opportunity for survival; other animals like wild boars, lynxes, and brown bears managed to cross successfully while none made an attempt.

Ireland may appear strangely free of snakes given that these reptiles can be found just about everywhere else in the world, but there are several factors contributing to Ireland remaining snake-free.

Ireland is an island, so the Irish Sea would pose a great difficulty for any snake trying to swim there from mainland Britain. Additionally, Ireland only boasts very few mountains; the highest point stands only 1,014 meters (3,416 feet). Therefore there are not enough rocks under which snakes could hide.

For anyone hoping to see snakes in Ireland, zoos offer the ideal place. Once popular as status symbols and still popular in some parts of Ireland, pet snakes were once prized possessions; nowadays though they’re considered pets. Due to being cold-blooded species however, any escapee could rapidly become an invasive species and cause problems for native wildlife; that’s why keeping snakes as pets in controlled zoo environments like those found throughout Ireland are some of the finest around.

5. The Irish may have discovered America first

Irish discovery of America may have occurred first according to some historians; one such story suggests an Irish cleric named St Brendan may have ventured across to North America in search of new trade routes to Europe – evidence that shows their forward thinking and adventurous spirit. Although no proof has been offered as yet, this tale shows Ireland is known for being forward thinking and adventurous.

Irish love nature and countryside, making Ireland home to some of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes. Ireland has managed to keep much of its open space intact due to low levels of development and pollution; you can take our Walking Tours of Connemara and Kerry and witness some of these natural treasures!

On our Ireland hiking tours, there are also scenic lakes, beaches and cliffs to discover. Carrauntoohil mountain rises an astounding 1,038m above sea level in County Kerry – while sailing enthusiasts will delight at experiencing Crosshaven Yacht Club, Ireland’s oldest sailing club which dates back to 1720!

Ireland, famously known as the Emerald Isle for its lush greenery and friendly people, also holds some surprising and strange facts that you probably weren’t aware of – from ancient practices such as eating frogs to legends regarding St Patrick banishing wild snakes from Ireland; Ireland offers you many surprises! Take a journey with us as we uncover these astonishing facts that you might never have known about!

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