15 Strange Facts About Ireland You May Not Know!

St. Michan’s Mummies

St. Michan Church has an interesting history even without the mummies. The foundation of the church was built in 1095 to serve the ostracized Vikings, who were still in Ireland after the rest had been killed or kicked out by Wolf the Quarrelsome and other Irish forces in 1014. The church was rebuilt in 1686, and a large pipe organ was installed in 1724, on which Handel is said to have first played the Messiah. But all along, as the church changed, the crypt stayed the same: slowly mummifying all that lay within it, such as four mummified corpses which have no lids on their coffins and are displayed together. On the right is, a woman, simply called “the unknown,” and well, there isn’t much more to say about her. The middle one is known as “the thief” and is missing parts of both feet and a hand, some say the hand was cut off as punishment. It is believed the “thief” later converted and became a priest or respected man, which is why he is buried in the church. (Or possibly, he was never a thief at all and lost the hand in some other way…) Next to him on the left lies a small woman, thought to have been, and known as, “the nun.”

But the true star here is the coffin set apart from the others and belonging to an 800-year-old mummy called “the crusader.” Though it may be apocryphal, it is believed that he was a soldier who either died in the crusades or returned and died shortly thereafter.

The Crusader was quite tall for the time, six and a half feet tall, a giant back then, and his legs have been broken and folded up under him to fit him into his small coffin. 

Ireland ranks sixth worldwide in the average consumption of beer per person.

Before the 1990s Ireland had a low rank in consumption, however now statistics show that the average Irish person drinks about 100 litres of beer each year!

Surprisingly Ireland the home of Guinness, does not sell the most Guinness in the world! Britain is first, Nigeria is Second and Ireland is third!

Irelands Patron Saint St. Patrick is not Irish!

Although the location isn’t exactly known, Saint Patrick is actually from mainland Britain; he is most likely from the region we now know as Wales. He was captured by Irish pirates and brought to Ireland at age 16. He spent 6 years in captivity before returning home to his family. Saint Patrick then spent 15 years in the priesthood and returned to Ireland as a missionary after having a vision where he then was ordained a Bishop.

The submarine was invented in Ireland.

John Philip Holland (29 February 1840 – 12 August 1914) was a Christian Brother from County Clare who invented the first submarine used by the US Navy and the first Royal Navy submarine– Holland

Halloween was derived from an Irish festival called Samhain

Samhain is a Gaelic festival which marks the end of harvest season and the start of winter where the livestock were slaughtered for winter. The souls of the dead were also thought to return to the homes of their families.

The longest place name in Ireland is Muckanaghederdauhaulia.

Muckanaghederdauhaulia is a small town land in county Galway which translates to “ridge, shaped like a pig’s back, between two expanses of briny water”.

More people speak Polish at home than Gaelic.

There are around 82,600 speakers of Irish who use the language at home on a daily basis. Constrast this with Polish, where 119,526 speak the language at home, making it the second most spoken language on the island!

10 million pints of Guinness are produced in Dublin every day!

St. Valentine is buried in a Dublin church

Many travel to Dublin every year to see the remains of St Valentine in Whitefair Street Church in Dublin!

The national symbol isn’t actually a shamrock…

It’s a harp “The Coat of Arms”. The harp became the national Irish symbol when Ireland was separated from the UK in 1922. It is now used on coins, passports and many emblems including Guinness and Ryanair. It is also interesting to point out that the official Irish harp, found on Irish passports points the opposite direction to the harp on a Guinness glass.

The White House was created by an Irishman.

The White House was designed by Irishman James Hoban who won a competition in 1792 which lead him to creating the building.

Ireland is the third largest tea drinking nation.

Statistics show that 1184 cups of tea on average are drank each year per person. That’s a lot of tea!

Off with their heads!

The guillotine was used by the Irish 500 years before the French adopted it.

The proof can be found in an old print of a gentleman named Murcod Ballagh using a guillotine near Merton, County Galway on April 1, 1307.

Bog nuts fall from the sky

In 1867 policemen in Dublin took shelter as nuts or berries fell from the sky.

They described the objects that fell as falling “in great quantities and with great force” during a “tremendous rainfall”. They described the berries as going “in the form of a very small orange, about half an inch in diameter, black in colour, and when cut across, seem as if made of some hard dark brown wood. They also possess a slight aromatic odor.”

One observer at the time believes the objects were  “hazelnuts, preserved in a bog for centuries”.

However how they ended up falling from the sky was never explained.

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