Ireland is an amazing country. It has so much to offer and should be in everyone’s bucket list. Want to know why? Check out these 6 amazing facts about Ireland that makes it an awesome country!
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1 – Ireland is the first country in the world that legalised same-sex marriage by referendum
In 2017, Ireland became the 20th country in the world to allow same-sex marriage. This itself is not particularly innovative however, the way it happened definitely is. Ireland was the first country in the world to do it over referendum. More than 2/3 of the population voted in favour of it and the most amazing thing about it is the massive momentum and engagement that vote received. Thousands of Irish nationals living abroad flew back to Ireland just to vote for this referendum. It is important to note that in Ireland, you can only vote if you are in the country therefore if you live abroad, you have to come back home to be able to do so. An estimated of 2,500 Irish people living in Australia flew back home to vote for the same-sex marriage referendum. Over 2,500 people booked a very expensive flight and travelled for more than 21 hours to show their support for the LGBT community. And this alone is a fact that makes Ireland an amazing country!
2 – The Irish have an incredible imagination
Myths and legends have been part of the Irish culture since the very beginning. This comes from the Celtic mythology mixed with some influence from the vikings. According to the legends, Ireland is populated with many mythical creatures such as fairies and leprechauns. These legends are a very important part of the Irish culture and are transmitted from generation to generation for thousands of years. Knowing, believing in and inventing stories is something that the Irish cherish and that’s why they developed such an incredible imagination. They love making up and telling stories. This spirit still exists today, the perfect example of it being the Pat Noise plaque on O’Connell bridge in Dublin. In 2004, a commemorative plaque to Father Pat Noise appeared on O’Connell bridge, Dublin’s most famous bridge. On the 10th of August, people started bringing flowers to the bridge to commemorate the death of this hero Father Pat Noise was. It’s only a couple of years later that the city realised that the plaque was installed by two brothers as a joke and that Father Pat Noise never excited. The portrait engraved was of their own father and the name an anagram. But because the Irish have an amazing sense of humour and most of all, they always love a good story, they actually congratulate the two brothers for pulling off such an amazing prank. The plaque has been on the bridge ever since!
3 – The concepts of peaceful protests originated in Ireland
If the term and concept of peaceful protests seems normal to us today, it hasn’t always been the case and it took a lot of effort from many people to make that the norm. However, did you know that it originated in Ireland? Daniel O’Connell was the first one to conceptualise the idea of peaceful protests. After having observed the violent events in France during the french revolution, he decided he wanted better for his people. He wanted catholic Irish to be able to get their rights by peaceful protests and by voting instead of getting involved in violent revolutions. Unfortunately for him, at that point the world was not quite ready for it yet but his concept has been quoted later on by Martin Luther King Jr and Gandhi as being their inspiration.
4 – 18% of people living in Ireland are foreign
Immigration has always been an important part of the culture in Ireland but historically it was Irish people leaving, not the other way round. 20 years ago, only 2% of the population in Ireland was foreign which means it was very unusual to meet someone of another nationality in Ireland. Since then, things have changed a lot. Ireland joined the European Union, Dublin became the European Silicon Valley and Ryanair was launched (Ryanair is an Irish low cost airline headquartered in Dublin, leader on its market in Europe). With this opening to Europe, Ireland became a very attractive destination for many people. Now, 18% of the population in Ireland is foreign born. This rate is even higher in Dublin. This means that 1 person out of 5 is foreign! Ireland became such a cosmopolitan place where various communities live and mix together to perfection. The Irish love foreigners, they love Europe and they love to share and spread that love!
5 – We owe Ireland St Patrick’s day and Halloween
St Patrick’s Day and Halloween are now entirely part of the American culture but did you know they are originally Irish celebrations? They were both imported by Irish immigrants in America. As previously said, the Irish always had this tendency to leave Ireland and during the great famine, a massive wave of immigration started in the direction of the United States of America. Once they got there, they still wanted to celebrate their traditional holidays and because the Irish community was so big, it encountered a huge success. Traditionally, these celebrations were very different though. St Patrick’s day was to commemorate and honour the patron saint of Ireland, St Patrick. It was a very catholic tradition. Everyone was going to church and praying for most of the day. The Irish community in the USA got access to way more freedom as they were in a protestant country and decided to revisit this celebration to make it more like how we know it today.
Halloween is also a very old tradition created by the Celts over 2,000 years ago. On that day, people would light bonfires and wear costumes to scare the ghosts.
6 – Ireland has no far right political party
Unlike the vast majority of European countries, Ireland has no far right party. The first time a far right party made an appearance in Ireland was at the last European elections in may 2019. Even then, this party only got 1% of votes against 25% in average in the rest of the EU. Several factors explain this amazing fact. Ireland is home to 18% of born-foreign citizens which means that 1 person out of 5 was not born Irish. With this kind of cultural diversity comes an open-minded spirit. Also, immigrants in Ireland are extremely mixed and from all backgrounds which avoid having one group being the target of racism. Finally, the last but not the least, immigration is a very important part of the Irish culture. The Irish do not stay in Ireland, it is part of their culture and beliefs to leave. Mostly to countries like the USA or Australia. A couple of centuries ago, over 1 million irish left to take their chance in America. At the time, it was a quarter of the population. The Irish are everywhere and it’s normal for an irish to have part of his/her family all over the globe. They know what it is to leave so they know how to welcome. There is a general feeling of love towards foreigners in Dublin and Ireland in general. They love being part of the EU and, they love that other people chose their home to be theirs!