Guinness, Jameson, green rolling hills, shamrocks, and Irish jigs: these are just a few of the things that come to mind when someone mentions Ireland.
Weather In Ireland
Ireland is an island in the Atlantic Ocean separated from England by the Irish Sea. Due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, Ireland doesn’t have the extreme temperatures that other countries at this latitude have. The temperature in spring ranges from 8-12°C (46-54°F) while the summers average a mild 18-20°C (64-68°F). July and August also get about 18 hours of daylight, not getting dark until after 11pm. In the fall, temperatures fall to about 14-18°C (57-64°F), and winter sees highs around 4-8°C (39-46°F). Summer is the most popular season to visit Ireland because of the extended daylight hours and mild summer temperatures, but the natural beauty of spring and fall attract many travelers as well. It does rain often in Ireland, but usually just short spurts of rain rather than long bouts. It’s easy to wait out rain showers in a pub with a nice pint of Guinness (which is actually like 2 American beers, so be careful!).
Ireland In Hollywood
Ireland is home to about 6 million people, including Colin Farrell, Liam Neeson, Jack Gleeson (Game of Thrones), Pierce Brosnan, and Kenneth Branagh to name a few. It’s also a popular filming location for Hollywood; movies and tv shows such as Game of Thrones, Far and Away, Braveheart, Harry Potter, The Italian Job, and The Princess Bride have all had scenes filmed in Ireland’s picturesque cities or villages.
St. Patrick’s Day
Ireland is famous for its St. Patrick’s Day celebration. St. Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious celebration on March 17, the death date of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Tourists and locals alike flock to Ireland to partake in celebrations that usually involve parades, festivals, wearing green or shamrocks, Guinness, and church services.
Northern Ireland, with a population of almost 2 million, is actually part of the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland was created in 1921 when the British government divided Ireland into Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland. In 1922, Southern Ireland became the Irish Free State, while the loyalists in Northern Ireland wanted to remain part of the UK. Northern Ireland has been historically divided in itself between the Protestant descendants of colonists of Great Britain and the Catholic Nationalists who wanted a united, independent Ireland. In the 1960s, the conflict between the two groups got so bad that state forces had to intervene; the violence lasted 30 years and claimed over 3,000 lives with over 50,000 injuries. In 1998, the Good Friday Agreement was signed as a peace offering although religious segregation still remains a problem. (Note: Do not ever order an Irish Car Bomb shot in Ireland because it is in reference to actual car bombs in Northern Ireland during this violent period.)
Interesting Facts About Ireland
- The Irish consume an average of 131 liters of beer per year, the 2nd highest after the Czech Republic.
- Famous Irish breweries include Guinness, Smithwicks, and Harp.
- The 3 symbols of Ireland are the shamrock, harp, and Celtic cross.
- 88% of Irish citizens are Roman Catholic, and Ireland has one of the highest rates of church attendance in the Western world (around 45%).
- The native language of Ireland is Gaelic. Only 380,000 fluent speakers remain.
- Halloween began with the Gaelic festival of Samhain, a harvest festival held on October 31 to mark the end of summer. Samhain became associated with All Saints (November 1) and eventually the two merged to create Halloween.
- Dalkey, a suburb of Dublin, is Ireland’s “Beverly Hills” and is home to many Irish celebrities such as U2 members Bono and The Edge, Enya, Chris de Burgh, Van Morrison, Hugh Leonard, and Jim Sheridan. Former residents of Dalkey include George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, Jim Kerr, and F1 drivers Damon Hill and Eddie Irvine.
- Ireland is free of snakes, moles, weasels, polecats, and roe deer due to its isolation from the European mainland.