Fun facts about Ireland for kids! A fun list of facts and legends to help your kids get excited about their trip to Ireland and make their geography studies more fun.
Fun facts are a great way to make a country come to life.
This is a collection about our favorite fun facts about Ireland, perfect if you are learning about Ireland at home or you are planning a trip!
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Fun facts about Ireland: language and geography
The full name of the country is Ireland, Republic of Ireland or Eire
Its flag is the Irish tricolour and has green and orange vertical bands joined by a white band in the middle. While these colors are not unique to the Irish flag, their meaning is, each color having a precise symbolic significance: you can read all about the meaning of the Irish flag here, it is now worth knowing!
The country has 2 official languages: these languages are Gaelic (aka Irish) and English.
The most common language in the country and the one you will hear most often if you come to visit is English. However, the first language of the country is Irish and all street signs are in double language.
Irish children learn both Irish and English in school and, in some areas of the country Irish is still widely spoke: these areas are called Gaeltacht.
Gaelic is very different from English. Have a look at this word: Muckanaghederdauhaulia. Can you say it? It’s a place in Connemara, a wonderful region in the West of Ireland.
Ireland is an island. Its West Coast is on the Atlantic Ocean while its Easter Coast looks over the Irish Sea.
The Republic of Ireland is one of two States on the island: the other one is Northern Ireland, and it is currently part of the United Kingdom.
Ireland capital city is Dublin, on the East coast of the country
Ireland is part of the European Union. It joined it in 1973.
Irland became a free state in 1922 and a Republic in 1948.
The longest river in the country is the River Shannon, which you can navigate by river cruise!
The highest mountains in Ireland are the MacGillycuddy reeks and the Wicklow Mountains, respectively in the West and the East of the island.
Ireland has the tallest accessible sea cliffs in Europe, called Sleave League, in Donegal, in the North West of the island.
Despite their height, Slieve Leagues are not the most famous cliffs in the country.
The most famous are called the Cliffs of Moher and you may have seen them in Harry Potter and the half-blood prince!
The west of the country borders with the Atlantic ocean. You can drive along the coast following the so-called Wild Atlantic Way: this is the longest coastal drive in the world!
Fun facts about Ireland: history and legends
Ireland was already inhabited in 6000 BC. You can visit remains from that time at Newgrange, where you can enter a tomb from the Neolithic era!
Ireland was home to several peoples: the Celts, the Vikings and the Normans.
The Vikings invaded Ireland and founded several cities, including Dublin!
You can still see their settlements and learn about them in the Viking Museum in the city, where you can walk inside a reconstruction of Dublin as it used to be!
The Normans were incredible castle builders and you can still visit their creations!
The biggest Normal castle in Ireland is Trim Castle, in County Offaly: you can visit the castle and climb to the top of the tower!
Interesting facts about Ireland’s patron Saint St Patrick
St Patrick is the Patron Saint of Ireland but is not Irish: he is actually from Britain!
He came to Ireland in the Vth century: he is famous for having established the first church in Ireland and to have brought Christianity to the island, through his extensive travels.
There are many locations in Ireland associated with his work: one of the most impressive is the Rock of Cashel, in Co Tipperary, which is one of the most impressive castles in the whole of Ireland.
To explain the concept of the Trinity, St Patrick’s used a 3 leave shamrock, each of the leaves representing the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
This is why the shamrock is still often associated with the Irish people (and even appears on planes as the logo of the Irish National airline!)
Despite the shamrock popularity, the shamrock is not the official symbol of Ireland. The real official symbol of the country is the harp.
You can see the harp in Trinity College, in Dublin city center: it is kept in a historical library which is said to have been the inspiration for the Jedi archive in Star Wars!
Trinity College Library also holds the very famous Book of Kells, which is a manuscript dating back to medieval times, important for the incredible calligraphy and decorations of each page.
St Patrick died on the 17th of March of 461.
The 17th of March is still celebrated in Ireland and worldwide as St Patricks’ day and is National Holiday. This festivity is marked by parades all over the country and beyond!
Despite the importance of St Patrick’s day in Ireland, the first St Patrick’s day parade wasn’t held here but rather in Boston, USA, in 1737!
Many countries around the world mark St Patrick’s Day turning some of their most important landmarks in green, usually with lights. For instance in Rome, the colosseum got green once and in Chicago, the river did!
Funnily enough, green wasn’t always St Patrick’s color: his original, until the 19th century, color was blue!
Green is an important color for Ireland and not just for St Patrick’s day. The country gets a lot of rain and it is so green it has the nickname of Emerald Isle.
Legends tell us that St Patrick banished snakes out of Ireland and drove them into the sea.
However, scientists now believe there were no snaked in Ireland at that time anyway! What is indeed true is that there are no snakes in Ireland now.
More fun Irish facts
Ireland gave birth to very many very famous writers such as Johnatan Swift, Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker, who wrote Dracula!
Dracula is said to have been inspired by the old Irish legend of Abhartach.
Ireland has a wild coastline and many lighthouses. Hook Lighthouse in Wexford is believed to be the oldest working lighthouse in Europe.
If you want, you can sleep in a lighthouse! Some of them now offer rooms to tourists, so you can feel like the lighthouse guardian for a night!
Ireland has two very special, much loved sports: GAA (Gaelic Football and Hurling).
Hurling is the oldest and it is believed to come from warrior fights and it is one of the fastest if not the fastest game played on grass!
You can visit the GAA football stadium in Dublin, Croke Park: is it so big, it is one of the biggest stadiums in the whole of Europe.
Halloween was born in Ireland!
It originated as a very ancient festival marking the end of Summer, a festival going by the name Samhain.
The name Halloween comes from the words Halloween” comes from “All Hallows Eve’, the evening before the day of all saints (hollowes= saints).
Irish kids love Halloween and go trick or treating – do you?
Slan (That’s bye bye in Irish!)