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Ireland's largest church is St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin?
The Popularity of Patrick as a Christian name in Ireland is due to the great 17th century general, Patrick Sarsfield, not our patron saint?
The word íochtar (eek-tur) literally means lower part and is often used for the youngest child in an Irish family?
George Bernard Shaw bequeathed one third of his estate to the National Gallery in Dublin, claiming that he received his education there?
Guinness's fermenting vessel ferments 2,304,000 pints at one brewing?
According to old custom, a piece of candle, a coin and a small quantity of wine or spirits should be placed next to someone who has died? The candle was to give the deceased light, the coin was to pay the fare over the river of death, and the liquor was to sustain him or her on their journey.
• Mass has been celebrated every Sunday at Ballintubber Abbey in Co. Mayo since 1216?
Swallowing a live frog was an old Irish cure for a stomach ache?
St. James's Gate Brewery is built on the site where, since medieval times, Dubliners held an annual drinking festival every 25th July to celebrate the feastday of St. James?
Emmett Square in Birr, Co. Offaly, marks the centre of Ireland?
Dublin was originally called Dubh Linn meaning Black Pool? The pool to which the name referred is the oldest known in Northern Europe and currently forms the centre-piece of the penguin enclosure in Dublin Zoo.
Chieftains in medieval Ulster went out of their way to marry Scotswomen because their dowries consisted of axe-wielding galloglass mercenaries? When Turlough Luineach O'Neill married Lady Agnes MacDonald of Kintyre in 1568, she brought 10,000 troops with her.
Ireland's smallest church is at Portbraden in Co. Antrim? Only ten feet long by six feet wide, the structure is dedicated to St. Gobhnan - the patron saint of builders. (huh?!)
Mulgrave Street in Limerick, which contains two hospitals, a prison and a lunatic asylum, is known as 'Calamity Avenue' by the locals?
The sinister sounding Bloody Foreland in County Donegal owes its name to its magnificent sunsets?
Every spring, more than twenty million eels swim into the River Bann to breed?
In the village of Ballyporeen, Co, Tipperary, there's a pub called The Ronald Reagan Bar?
Charles Stuart Parnell was known as the Uncrowned King of Ireland?
Irish women received the right to vote before American women?
A river called the Poddle runs under Dublin Castle?
The largest town in Offaly is Tullamore?
Fota in Co. Cork is a wildlife park?
Two signers of the American Declaration of Independence, William Whipple and John Hancock had Irish mothers?
William Barclay "Bat" Masterson - gunfighter, buffalo hunter, frontier lawman, and newspaperman - was the son of Catherine McGurk who was from Northern Ireland?
Oscar Wilde's mother, Lady Jane Francesca, wrote under the pen name "Speranza?"
John Ford, father of Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford Corporation of America, emigrated to America after being evicted from a small holding in Ballinascarty Co. Cork in 1847?
Billy the Kid, born Henry McCarty, was the son of Irish immigrants, Michael and Catherine McCarty?
There are five areas in Dublin whose names end in the letter 'O'? Fewer than one Dubliner in 20,000 can name them off by heart. They are: Rialto, Marino, Portobello, Phibsboro and Pimlico.
Dublin's O'Connell Bridge was originally made of rope and could only carry one man and a donkey at a time? It was replaced with a wooden structure in 1801. The current concrete bridge was built in 1863 and was first called "Carlisle Bridge".
One of the great gaffes in social history took place at Stormont in the 1920s? During an important function, Northern Ireland minister Dawson Bates - who was in attendance with his wife and son - entered the main hall. As the party made their way towards the gathered dignitaries, they were grandly announced "the honourable Dawson Bates, his wife, Lady Bates, and their son Master Bates." (We're not kidding - this really happened!)
The Irish alphabet has only 18 letters? J, K, Q, V, W, X, Y and Z are not used.
According to Irish custom, cold and wet weather was welcomed on Good Friday? It was interpreted as a sign of nature in mourning for the death of Christ.
If a boy was born on Easter Sunday, he was destined for high office in the Church?
It was on Easter Monday, April 18, 1949, that Éire became officially known as the the Republic of Ireland?
An Irishman, Jimmy Kennedy, from Co. Tyrone, wrote the song Red Sails in the Sunset?
Singer, Eyna's real name is Eithne Ní Bhraonáin
St Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral in Armagh stands on a bit of land called the ridge of the willow tree? According to legend, this land was given to St. Patrick by Irish chief Daire, after St Patrick brought him and his horse back to life.
When St. Patrick died, his followers argued about where to bury him? To settle the dispute, they harnessed two untamed oxen to a cart carrying St Patrick's earthly remains. Wherever the oxen stopped was where the saint would be buried. According to the legend, the oxen stopped when they reached Dun-lethglaisse, the site of the present Church of Ireland Cathedral, Downpatrick
The jawbone of St.Patrick was preserved in a silver shrine and was often requested in times of childbirth, epileptic fits and as a preservative against the evil eye?
In 1931 Ernest Walton, who was born in Dungraven, Co. Waterford, split the atom for the first time? This scientific landmark was achieved with an accelerator built to his own design. Walton and his partner John Cockcroft received the 1951 Nobel Prize for Physics for their efforts.
Leinster House in Dublin was originally built as a private home for the Duke of Leinster? At that time, the most fashionable part of Dublin was the North Side and he was asked why he was building on the South Side. He said "Where I go, fashion follows me" To this day the most fashionable part of Dublin is the South Side.
Robert Barton of Co. Fermanagh composed the unofficial anthem of Australia, "Waltzing Matilda?"
The lyrics to "Danny Boy" were written by an Englishman? His name was Frederic Edward Weatherly and he also wrote the lyrics to the popular WWI song, Roses of Picardy.
St. Patrick might not be buried in Ireland at all? One legend says he ended his days in Glastonbury, England and was buried there. The Chapel of St. Patrick still exists as part of Glastonbury Abbey and there is evidence of an Irish pilgrimage to his tomb during the reign of the Saxon King in A.D. 688.
St. Patrick was the first person in history to speak out against slavery and he is the Patron Saint of the Excluded? By the time of his death, or shortly thereafter, the Irish stopped slave trading and they never took it up again.
St. Patrick's real name is believed to have been Maewyn Succat?
In 1948, Harry Truman was the first American president to attend the St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City?
One of the more recent school-yard customs is to pinch anyone not wearing green on St. Patrick's Day?
In 1999, the world's smallest St. Patrick's Day parade was held In Dripsey, Co. Cork? It was just 25 yards long and went from from one pub to another.
The crocus, which flowers about this time in Ireland, is St Valentine's Flower?
Yeats' described Co. Sligo as "the land of heart's desire?"
I love you in Irish is Tá cion agam ort? Pronunciation: thaw kiuhn ag-gum urth
Ireland's largest 'Chinatown', with a community 5,000 strong, is in the Botanic area of Belfast?
You can only call yourself a true Dubliner if you were born between the North and c Roads?
• The phrase "The Emerald Isle" was first coined by the Belfast doctor and poet, William Drennan, in 1795?
Four Irish writers have won the Nobel Prize for Literature? G. Shaw, W. B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney
Mary of the Gaels is more commonly known as St. Brighid?
Until the 1920s, on St. Brigid's Day (February 1st) at Teltown, Co.Meath, couples could legally marry by simply walking toward each other? If the union didn't work out, they could 'divorce' by walking away from each other at the same place exactly a year and a day later.
The world's most northerly vineyard is in Mallow, County Cork?
Balbriggan, Co. Dublin, was once the hosiery capital of the world? Around the turn of the century, stockings and tights were widely known as 'Balbriggans'
If some is described as "maggalore" it means they've had one too many? It's from the Irish phrase maith go lor which means "well on" or "good enough."
If someone's glass is described as flathúil - flahool - it means overflowing? The literal translation is "chieftainlike" and has evolved to mean generous or liberal.
If money is described as flúirseach (flew-shirk), it literally means that it is plentiful?
Louis H. Sullivan, the Boston-born son of an Irish immigrant is said to have created the modern skyscraper?
There are thirteen Dublins in the United States?
According to the Weather Channel, there are 10 Dublins in the USA:
According to other sources, there’s also a Dublin in Michigan, Maryland and Kentucky. Beyond the USA, there’s a Dublin in Nova Scotia, Ontario and South Australia.
The only town in the world to be named St. Patrick is in Missouri, USA?
The medieval purgatory on Lough Derg, Co. Donegal was believed to be one of the two entrances to Hell, Mount Etna on Sicily being the other?
Squire Watson, an eccentric 18th century Kilkenny landowner, had such an unshakeable belief that he would be reincarnated as a fox that he had a luxurious marble den built in the grounds of his estate in anticipation of his return?
In 1922, at the height of the Irish Civil War, Free State Brigadier Patrick Paul escaped from his Republican captors in Waterford disguised as a mother superior?
Over 800 million cans of Guinness Draught have been sold in over 70 countries since the brand's launch in 1989?
Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of Treasure Island, took a supply of Guinness with him on his travels to Samoa?
At 198 calories a pint, Guinness has fewer calories than a pint of skimmed milk or orange juice?
There are documentary records of 9,724 shipwrecks around the Irish coast?
Ernesto Guevara Lynch, the father of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara, was a descendant of a Galway woman, Ana Lynch y Oritz, who settled in Argentina in the 18th century?
Dublin's first bus route was inaugurated in 1919 by the Clondalkin Omnibus Company, using a wooden body from a horse-drawn vehicle on a five-ton chassis? Source: The new Encyclopedia of Ireland
The password for George Washington's troops in Boston on March 17, 1776 was "St. Patrick"?
Catherine McCarthy, known as the "jolly Irishwoman of the Lower East Side" was the mother of notorious outlaw Billy the Kid?
Comedic genius and creator of the Keystone Cops, Mack Sennett, was the son of Irish immigrants?
Kevin Street Garda Station was once the Palace of the Archbishop of Dublin?
The police station in Dungannon, County Tyrone, should overlook the Khyber Pass? in the 19th century, the plans for this fearsome fortress-type building were sent by mistake to Ireland instead of India!
In Sligo, you still officially need a licence to buy molasses? It's a legal hangover from the days when the county was the poitin capital of Ireland.
The first casualty of the Irish Civil War (1922-23) was a Free State Sniper who was smashed over the head with a teapot by an elderly Dublin woman?
In the old days, it was the custom for the oldest girl in an Irish family to marry first and her sisters according to age afterwards?
Dublin's oldest traffic light is situated beside the Renault garage in Clontarf? The light, which is still in full working order, was installed in 1893 outside the home of Fergus Mitchell who was the owner of the first car in Ireland.
Scotland's capitol, Edinburgh, is named after the Irish nun Edana who founded a convent there in the 6th century?
In 1986, a 900 year old cheese was found perfectly preserved, in a Tipperary bog?
Cahirciveen in Kerry was once so inaccessible from the rest of Ireland that it was quicker to send newspapers and mail from Dublin via New York?
John Tyndall, a physicist who was born in Leighlin Bridge, Co. Carlow, was first to discover why the sky is blue? Don't you just love it that it was an Irishman?
The Devil's Bit mountain near Thurles, County Tipperary, is so called because Satan, furious at finding no wicked souls in Ireland as he flew over it, supposedly bit a chunk out of the rock in his rage?
A monkey appears on the FitzGerald coat of arms in tribute to the family pet which rescued the infant 1st Earl of Kildare from a fire at Kilkea castle in the 14th century?
Covering some 400 square miles, the midland Bog of Allen is the largest peat bog in the world?
Trout from Lough Melvin in Co, Fermanagh taste like chicken when cooked? According to legend, St. Patrick transformed them from fowl to fish.
The largest carillon of bells in the British Isles (128 of them) is housed in the spire of St. Colman's Cathedral in Cork?
Dublin's oldest workhouse closed its doors for the last time in July 1969? Based in Smithfield, it sheltered as many as 10,000 orphans during the 170 years it was in operation
Ireland is the world's 20th largest island?
The milk drawn from a hazelnut kernel, when added to mead or honeyed water, was once used to help cure a cough?
Dublin's West-Link bridge lanes are the busiest in Europe, possibly even in the world? Each lane handles 20,700 vehicles a day, compared to 10,800 per lane at New York's George Washington Bridge.
Most likely, the oldest pub in the world is in Ireland? The Guinness Book of Records confirms that Sean's Bar in Athlone, Co. Westmeath, built in the year 900, is the oldest pub in Ireland, England, Scotland or Wales, and is probably the oldest pub in the world. Sean's Bar was built 300 years before Athlone Castle across the street and the building still contains a section of the "Clay & Wattle" wall with which it was originally built. The Brazen Head in Dublin has long claimed to be Ireland's oldest pub, but it is in fact 700 years junior to its Athlone counterpart.
The original Abbey Theatre in Dublin was opened in 1904 on the site of a morgue?
The world's most northerly vineyard is in Mallow, Co. Cork?
The ancestors of the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, were from County Fermanagh?
The first mummy to be seen publicly outside Egypt was displayed in Belfast in 1824? It is still there.
A holy tree on the Tyrone shore of Lough Neagh was said to bring good fortune to those who hammered coins into its trunk? It eventually died of metal poisoning.
On April 13th, 1829, the day the English Parliament gave the vote to Irish Catholics, the statue of George Walker - Protestant hero of the 1689 siege of Derry - which had stood quietly on the city's famous walls for more than a century, inexplicably crumbled?
The popular song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" was written by Bob Geldof?
"Christmas in Killarney" was written by singer-songwriter John Redmond of Burditt Hill, in Clinton, Massachusetts?
The carol "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night" was written by poet-laureate of England, Dublin-born Nahum Tate?
The first pantomime in Ireland, "The Magic Rose", was staged at the Theatre Royal in Dublin in 1811?
December 27, the feast of St John, was believed to be a good day for farmers to borrow money in order to buy new seed for the coming season?
Shane MacGowan's classic "Fairytale of New York" is the most widely played song on Irish radio every Christmas?
According to Irish folklore, it's bad luck to take the Christmas decorations down before January 6?
To have good health in the coming year, you should eat an apple on Christmas Eve?
You should never launder a Christmas gift before giving it to the recipient? It washes out the luck? (Especially if it's a DVD player!)
In 1171, King Henry II took Christmas festivities to Ireland? He went there to get the Irish chiefs to swear allegiance to the English Crown, and on finding them very agreeable, so history tells us, he had a huge hall built, in traditional Irish style, in a village near Dublin, called Hogges. There he laid on a sumptuous feast, introducing the Irish to the customs of tournaments, Christmas plays, and mumming
It was on Christmas Eve in 1601 that the Irish and Spanish armies were defeated in the Battle of Kinsale?
Long before Christianity came to Ireland, it was customary to place holly leaves and branches around the home during winter? This was intended as a kindly and hospitable gesture as it was believed that the good people who inhabited the forests would come into the home and use the holly as shelter against the cold. This may actually have had some basis in fact, as holly growing in the wild is often used as shelter by small animals and insects.
A US Marine of Irish descent, Daniel Joseph Daly, was awarded the Medal of Honor twice?
The "father of Argentina's Navy" was Admiral William Brown who wasborn in Foxford, Co. Mayo?
Ireland's last Great War veteran was Thomas "Tommy" Shaw who was 102 when he died in 2002. He was buried with full military honours in Bangor, Co. Down, and a bugler from the Royal Irish Regiment sounded the Last Post.
It's said to be lucky to breakfast by candlelight on Christmas and New Year's morning?
One should always wear something new at Christmas (and Easter, too) or new garments will be few in the coming year?
It is unlucky to wear a ragged garment on Christmas Day? A hole meant a leak in the purse. However, if clothing is torn on the festival, it should not be sewn; it should be pinned together.
Ireland is the best place on the planet to avoid an earthquake? No epicentre has ever been recorded there.
Over half a million Irish homes now have a computer, and 80 per cent of those have internet access?
Ireland has more dogs per capita than any other EU country?
Source: The Truth About the Irish by Terry Eagleton. Want your own copy? Click here: The Truth About the Irish.
Ireland is the country with the largest number of Congressional Medal of Honor winners? The records show that 258 were either born in Ireland or were of Irish descent. Germany/Prussia is second with 128 recipients.
More than 350,000 Irishmen volunteered for service during WW1 in addition to the 50,000 Irishmen already serving in the regular army and reserve at the outbreak of the war?
During World War I, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers won 49 battle honours and three Victoria Crosses?
Donkeys were useful in Ireland because of the way they put down their hooves? They do it in a pattern different from horses which allows them to traverse bogland in a gliding movement.
Ireland now has more tourists than residents? Visitors are now running over 5 million a year, compared to a population of about 3.8 million.
Much of the world's population of Greenland Whitefronted geese spends the winter in Ireland? Source: The Truth About the Irish by Terry Eagleton.
Oliver Plunkett was the first Irishman in almost 700 years to be canonized as a saint? He was given the honour on October 12,1975
Pope Gregory reformed the calendar introduced by Julius Caesar in 45BCE? The 4th of October was followed by the 15th October. However, the reform was not implemented in Ireland till 1752
Edgar Allan Poe's father was Irish? A failed actor, David Poe is said to have abandoned his family after the death of Poe's mother, Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins. Edgar was two years old.
The crypt of St. Michan's Church in Dublin contains the almost perfectly preserved remains of corpses dating from the Middle Ages? The reason for their preservation appears to be the limestone walls of their tombs.
The Fomori are the evil gods of Irish myth?
A ship from Cobh, Co. Cork, discovered the ghostly wreck of the Marie Celeste in 1872?
Ireland had its own werewolf legend? These creatures were believed to be the souls of the damned who had rejected the teachings of St. Patrick.
Thespian suspicion over Macbeth - usually referred to as 'the Scottish play' - is thought to date from the time of the Irish actor-manager Spranger Barry (1719-1777)? Famous for his portrayal of the evil king, his life was dogged by personal problems, law suits and agonising gout and he died in poverty.
According to old Irish folklore, the cuttings of your hair should not be thrown where birds can find them? They will take them to build their nests, and then you will have headaches all the year after.
If you take sheep's suet and the rind of the elder tree and boil both together, the mixture will cure a burn without leaving a mark?
When taking possession of a new house, every one should bring in some present, however trifling, but nothing should be taken away? Also, a prayer should be said in each corner of your bedroom, and some article of your clothing be deposited there at the same time. Source: Irish Cures, Mystics Charms & Superstitions, by Lady Wilde
Mike Quill from Co.Kerry was the founding president of the Transport Workers Union of America?
The word hubbub is derived from the ancient Irish war cry abu!?
Co. Cork-born Mary Harris Jones, one of Americas early labor champions, is also known to many as Mother Jones?
One of the world's first women drivers was Miss Jennie Richardson, who took controls of the Bessbrook to Newry tram in 1884?
The world's oddest royal family is that of the Caribbean island of Redonda? This crank dynasty was founded by an Irish sailor when his ship stopped off at this desolate rock in 1865. He passed the 'title' King of Redonda onto his decendants. The reigning monarch is a housewife in Manchester.
More than 130 Irish soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor in the American Civil War?
Brussels was liberated by the Irish Group of the British Army in 1944?
Polo was played for the first time in Europe in Co. Limerick? In 1868, having seen the game played by tribesmen in India, members of the British Army 10th Hussar Regiment stationed in Limerick returned to their base and organized a match with the local gentry.
While he was born in Scotland, Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, was Irish? He was the eldest son of 10 siblings born to emigrants Charles Doyle and Mary Foley.
According to old Irish folklore, eating young nettles three times in May will keep the rheumatics away for a year?
On the thirtieth anniversary of the Munich air disaster which wiped out the famous 'Busby Babes' football team, Manchester United played Coventry? What makes it eerily memorable is that the only goal of the game was scored by United's new Irish signing Liam O'Brien at 3.04 pm - the exact moment of impact three decades before.
According to legend, the hair of anyone who swims in Calliagh Berras Lough on Slieve Gullion in Co. Armagh will turn grey overnight?
According to old Irish folklore, if you can cover three daisies with your hand, summer is here?
The World's oldest New Testament, dating from the 2nd century, is in the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin?
The bullaun stone, which is kept in St. Matthew's Church on the Woodvale Road in Belfast, is said to have the power to cure warts, spots and acne?
In Sligo, you still officially need a licence to buy molasses? It's a legal hangover from the days when the county was the pocheen capital of Ireland?
On 13th April 1829, the day that the United Kingdom Parliament gave the vote to Irish Catholics, the statue of George Walker - Protestant hero of the 1689 siege of Derry -which had stood quietly on the city's famous walls for more than a century, inexplicably crumbled?
An Irishman wrote the song The Teddy Bear's Picnic? His name was Jimmy Kennedy from Omagh, Co. Tyrone
Tiny Coliemore Harbour beside the Dalkey Island Hotel was the main harbour for Dublin from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century?
The area of the entire island of Ireland is 32,593 square miles? A mere coincidence that it also has 32 counties?
Buncrana, Co Donegal, is the most Catholic town in the Republic, with 94.3 per cent of its population belonging to the denomination? Greystones, Co Wicklow, has the highest Church of Ireland population, at 13.3 per cent.
New York's Central Park was modelled on St. Stephen's Green in Dublin?
You can only call yourself a true Dubliner if you were born between the North and South Circular Roads?
The Irish word for province means fifth? And yet there are are only four provinces, you say - Leinster, Munster, Connaught and Ulster? The answer is that at one time Meath, which means in the middle, was once the fifth province.
In old Ireland, the word Tory meant a brigand or highwayman? Strange that the Brits adopted this word for Conservatives - or maybe not!
Sigmund Freud once remarked that the Irish were the only people who couldn't be psychoanalysed? While most of us would like to think we have no need for it, there are many who think we're beyond hope! Source: The Truth about the Irish by Terry Eagleton
Murphy is the most common surname in Ireland? In Irish it means 'sea hound.'
Dublin has the oldest maternity hospital in Europe - the Rotunda? (a most appropriate name!)
The word quiz was invented by an 18th century Dubliner? He won a bet that he could introduce a new word by chalking it on walls around the city. Since nobody knew what it meant, the word acquired the meaning it has today.
Ten percent of Co. Roscommon's population is Brazilian? The samba is danced in one local club on "Brazil Nights", and on Friday evenings, one local radio station broadcasts in Portuguese!
The word bard is derived from the ancient name for a Celtic poet?
The first three days of April are called the "Borrowed Days" and are traditionally associated with bad weather?
Cairbre, the lion used to introduce Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer films, was born at the Dublin Zoo? (On March 20, 1927)
In the old folklore, sore eyes could be soothed by rubbing them with boiled daisies?
In some parts of old rural Ireland, it was considered lucky to sow potatoes on Good Friday?
Irish-born Patrick Maguire was the first man of Christopher Columbus crew to step on North American soil?
Customarily, on St. Patrick's Day, the only green Irish people wear is a sprig of shamrock in the lapel of their coats?
The Pope is also bishop of the tiny see of Kilfenora in Co. Clare?
According to the 12th century prophecies of St. Malachy, Ireland will be at peace, when the shamrock meets the palm - in other words, when St. Patrick's day falls on Palm Sunday?
St. Patrick is also the patron saint of engineers?
The second St. Patrick's Day Celebration was established in 1780 by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in Philadelphia?
Gan tir gan teanga means no language no nation. Great saying to put on a T-shirt!
The Dutch Blue Guards, the personal bodyguard of King William III, were devout Catholics to a man?
Tom Gallagher of Derry invented the modern cigarette in 1888?
The last ever Great Auk was killed on the Saltee Islands of Co. Wexford by local fishermen in 1845?
in 1765, John Hannon, Irish immigrant, opened the first chocolate shop in America, at Dorchester, Massachusetts?
Ned Kelly - Australia's most famous outlaw, was born to Irish parents in Victoria in 1854?
The largest farm ever, covered over four million acres (bigger than the whole of Northern Ireland) of Australia's Northern Territory, and was owned by Ulsterman Samuel McCaughey until his death in 1909?
• Before he became a folk/rock singer-songwriter, Dylan liked nothing better than to hang out in Greenwich Village with the Clancy Bothers and Tommy Makem, learning Irish songs?
Eyna's real name is Eithne Ní Bhraonáin?
Fastest time to pluck a turkey: Vincent Pilkington of Cootehill, Co Cavan, plucked a turkey in one minute and 30 seconds on RTÉ television in Dublin on November 17, 1980
Longest-serving altar boy: Tommy Kinsella of Bray in Co Wicklow began serving Mass in the Church of the Holy Redeemer, Bray, in April 1917 and continued in the same church for 81 years until his death in 1999
Longest hit in a hurling contest: The greatest distance for a 'lift and stroke' hit is 118m (129yds), credited to Tom Murphy of Three Castles, Kilkenny, in the 'long puck' contest held in 1906
The current Times Square New Year's Eve Ball was designed and made by Waterford Crystal?
According to old Irish folklore, if the tail of a herring is rubbed across the eyes of a child, it will give immunity against disease for the rest of the year?
"Saturday's flitting, a short sitting?" In other words, nobody moved house on a Saturday, got married on a Saturday, or embarked on a big project the day before the Sabbath, Also, overnight travel was never undertaken
The Wexford Carol dates back to the 12th century?
"Once in Royal David's City" was written by Irish poet Cecil Frances Humphreys Alexander? She also wrote "All things Bright and Beautiful".
Christmas in Killarney was written by the Tin-Pan Alley song-writing trio John Redmond, James Cavanaugh and Frank Weldon?
Finding a holly bush loaded with berries was thought to be very lucky?
On the second day after Christmas, you should abstain from meat to prevent fever.
Shoes placed side by side on Christmas Eve will prevent a quarrel?
The Scottish game 'shinty' is often confused with the Irish sport of hurling?
Hurling features in Irish folklore to illustrate the deeds of heroic mystical figures and it is chronicled as a distinct Irish pastime for at least 2,000 years?
The Irish word for a hurling stick, or "hurley" is camán?
Dublin bus numbers follow the system used in the days of the horse-drawn tram, which ran from the city centre outwards in a clockwise direction from south to north?
Mountjoy Square is the only real square in Dublin, measuring 600 feet in length and width?
The Boot Inn at Cloghran is the oldest pub in Dublin(1593), rather than the Brazen Head (present building dated 1710)? Source: The Little Book of Dublin by Tom Galvin
Irish-born poet and citizen of New Zealand, Thomas Bracken, wrote the New Zealand national anthem, God Save New Zealand, in 1878.?
The first traffic lights in Dublin were installed at the junction of Merrion Square and Clare Street, on August 27, 1937 and the first parking meter on Wellington Quay on January 14, 1970?
The Union Jack was first flown not in England but over Dublin, on January 1, 1801, to celebrate the Act of Union? The Irish Rugby Football Union were so attached to it that they flew the Union Jack and not the tricolour at all matches until 1932, when the President of the Executive Council, William T Cosgrave, intervened.
• The bugle blown to launch the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade was sold by McNeill's music shop of Capel Street? Source:The Little Book of Dublin
The first Irish-born winner of an Olympic gold medal was John Pius Boland, a native of Dublin, who won the Tennis Singles at Athens in 1896?
The oldest athlete to win an Olympic title was Irish-born Patrick Joseph "Babe" McDonald? He was 42-years and 26-days old when he won the 56-lb (25.4-kg) weight throw at Antwerp, Belgium, on August 21, 1920. McDonald was representing the USA.
Bob Tisdall won a gold medal for Ireland (and beat the world record) in the 400-metres hurdles at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics - an event for which he prepared by retiring to bed for much of the previous week? "I was afraid of getting stale," he explained. His training programme had ended with two weeks' running on Ballybunion Strand in County Kerry, alternating with spells on a nearby greyhound track, in competition with the electric hare.
Irish consumers will munch their way through over a million turkeys on Christmas 2004, putting us in the top league of gobblers in the EU?
The average Irish household will spend €1,270 during the festive season, far surpassing other European nations?
In Co. Meath, it was believed by the children that Holly Pux, a friend of Santy would sit on the chimney watching who was good and who wasn't? If you were a naughty child, Santy wouldn't come down the chimney.
One-third to one-half of the American troops who fought during the Revolutionary War were Irish or of Irish descent?
Of the total individual Americans who have been awarded the Medal of Honor, at least 261 were born in Ireland, and scores of others were the children and grand children of Irish immigrants?
Twenty-eight Irishmen who were killed in the Korean War were made posthumous citizens at a special ceremony held in Washington, D.C. on October 30, 2003? One by one the names were called and in answer, sisters, brothers, nephews, nieces and cousins stood up to accept the specially framed certificates of posthumous citizenship made for the occasion by the U.S.
One traditional Irish cure for a hangover was to be buried up to the neck in moist river sand?
The Turkish Delight chocolate was first made in Cobh, County Cork, by the Hadji Bey company in the 1890s?
The Lough Erne Cot is the only boat in the world to be annually sunk? It is traditionally scuttled during the winter months in order to preserve the wood.
The oldest recorded vampire story comes from Ireland?
The crypt of St. Michan's Church in Dublin contains the almost perfectly preserved remains of corpses dating from the Middle Ages? The reason for their incorruption appears to be the limestone walls of their tombs.
For centuries, an unholy ringing sound coming from a gnarled old oak tree on windy nights terrified the people of the County Down village of Kilbroney? In 1885, the tree was blown down and the source of the ghostly noise was discovered - a golden bell hidden in the hollow of the trunk by a monk hundreds of years before.
Kilkenny's long association with cats stems from the fearsome, wild felines which once inhabited the Dunmore caves in the north of the county?
"Sweeney's Gun" is a complex sea of caves on Lough Swilly? Every day, Atlantic rollers rushing into the caverns create a bang so loud that in the days before the motorcar, the noise could clearly be heard on the streets of Derry more than 30 miles away.
The Duke of Wellington who was famous for his victory at Waterloo was born in Dublin? However, he never acknowledged his irish birth and is often quoted as saying "just because you're born in a stable doesn't make you a horse!"
• The Greg shorthand system was invented by John Robert Gregg who was born in Rockcorry Co Monaghan.
• The first British soldier to die in the recent troubles was Gunner Robert Curtis who was shot dead in Belfast in 1971. The sniper who killed him was himself killed in a gun battle with the army the next day - in Curtis Street.
• Dracula, written by Dubliner Bram Stoker, has never been out of print and has been translated into over 50 different languages.
An Obscure Protestant sect, the Dippers, baptize their members in the waters of Lough Erne which they believe to be the true River Jordan.?
• In 1750, the Church of Ireland Bishop of Raphoe was shot dead while carrying out a highway robbery? (As Russ says, "a novel way to take up a collection!").
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Sun, Dec 4, 2016
Holly and Ivy hanging up and
something wet in every cup*
Not so long ago, Irish Christmas decorations were much simpler than they are now. The children gathered holly and ivy for adorning, windows, doorways, mantles and pictures, and the father would carve out a turnip in which would be placed a large red candle. This would go in the window to light the way for the Holy Family on Christmas Eve. Only in relatively recent times did an Irish family have a Nativity scene and a decorated tree in the house. As for Mistletoe, it's quite rare in ireland and is generally associated with ancient Celtic and Druidic fertility celebrations; this is most likely where the custom of kissing under the mistletoe comes from.
*Old Irish Christmas toast
Image: Pashley Manor Gardens.
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Written by a one-time quiz show consultant and lifelong collector of Irish trivia, this book offers questions on sport, history, politics, literature, and all kinds of Irish miscellany. Organized by subject matter with 134 sections in groups of 15 questions, it's ideal for trivia buffs and Irish aficionados. The diverse questions offer something for everyone from "Why is Bloomsday so called?" and "What was a 'Galway Hooker'?" to "Who was termed the 'Babe Ruth' of Gaelic football?"
Click here for Quiz Book.
Don't be misled by the title - this isn't a book about Irish American pubs. It's a trivia book about Irish Americans and, in our humble opinion, it would be a fun little volume to have with you the next time you're bending your elbow with the lads.
Click for Pub Quiz Book.