15 things to know about Ireland
To tie in with the celebration of St Patrick’s Day this month we thought you would like to discover a few – or 15! – things about the beautiful Republic of Ireland.
1 St Patrick’s Day marks the death of the most famous patron saint of Ireland and gives Irish people from around the world the focus for a day of celebrating all things connected with their home country.
2 Created as a religious day of feasting in the 17 century, today's St Patrick’s Day is an excuse for eating, drinking, parting and general merriment.
3 Green is the colour associated with Ireland, also known poetical as the Emerald Isle because of its stunning green countryside. 4 Guinness is Ireland’s traditional drink and more than 10 million glasses of the black stuff are sold every day around the world. You can find out more about the drink at the Guinness Storehouse, in Dublin.
5 A “perfect” pour of Guinness should take 199.5 seconds at a 45-degree angle. Now you know!
6 If you kiss the Blarney Stone, set into a wall of Blarney Castle, near Cork, it’s will be given a gift of eloquence and persuasiveness.
8 The three most famous symbols of Ireland are the green Shamrock, the harp and the Celtic cross.
9 Ireland has won the Eurovision Song contest seven times – in 1970, 1980, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1996 – more than any other country.
10 Dalkey, a suburb of Dublin, is Ireland's "Beverly Hills", home to a number of Irish celebrities, such as the authors Maeve Binchy, Roddy Doyle and Hugh Leonard, the film directors Neil Jordan and Jim Sheridan, as well as several international music figures, including Bono of U2, Chris de Burgh and Van Morrison.
11 The story of the world-famous vampire Count Dracula was written in 1897 by Bram Stoker, from Dublin.
12 At a height of 688m above the sea, Croaghaun (on Achill Island), is claimed as the second highest cliffs in Europe, after Cape Enniberg in the Faroe Islands.
13 Hook Lighthouse is thought to be the oldest working lighthouses in Europe, or possibly in the world. Located at Hook Head, in County Wexford, the present structure was completed either in 1172 or in 1245, although the first lighthouse on that spot dates to the 5th century.
14 The Neolithic site of Newgrange (3200 BCE), County Meath, is the best-preserved passage grave in Europe.
15 A lough is a loch or lake. Lough Tay in the Wicklow Mountains is known as Guinness Lough. See Wicklow Walking Way Tour
Get to know Ireland by exploring it on foot on a walking holiday.