Ireland: 10 Funny Curiosities you Didn’t Know About

Weird sports, ancient symbolism, pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, and peculiar drinking habits are but a few of the curiosities that make the Emerald Island so special and unique. 

If you’re a person curious at heart like me and you love constantly learning new damn interesting facts (and useless ones too!), I am afraid you’ll over-enjoy the following article. Here, I listed for you the ten most intriguing, surprising, and particular Irish trivia I discovered during my journeys.

Ready, GO!

 1. Ireland has the Highest Concentration of Gingers!

About 10% of the Irish population (1 in 10!) is blessed with the rare genes that confer their hair a beautiful and distinctive orange colour, and they’re proud of it! This is the highest concentration of carrot-haired people in the world and something that definitely won’t get unnoticed by anyone traveling through Ireland.

The previous photo, has been taken at the Redhead Ginger Convention celebrated in Crosshaven in 2016, an event where Red-hair people (and not!) of all ages meet to party and celebrate their amazing orange hair.

2. The Celtic Cross is a mix of

Christianity and Paganism 

As the legend goes, the Celtic cross had been created by St.Patrick, the patron of Ireland, when he first came to Ireland in the 5th century as a bishop to convert the local pagans.

To avoid abruptly fighting the local belief which could have ended up in wars, St.Patrick created the Celtic Cross to symbolize a friendly meeting between divine energies. In fact, the central cross stays for Christianity while the surrounding circle symbolizes the sun, a dominant figure in the ancient Celtic polytheistic.



3. The Claddagh Ring tells you everything

about a Person’s Status

“The hands are there for friendship, The heart is there for love. For loyalty, the crown is raised above”.

The Claddagh Ring is a special Irish fede ring which origins date back to the 17th century. Today is one of the most known symbols of Ireland and a popular accessory worn by thousands of Irish people (men and women) and Irish descendants.

The romantic shape is definitely something precious by itself; but still, what’s truly curious and unexpected about the Claddagh Ring is the meaning of the different ways this ring can be worn.

In fact, wearing a Claddagh Ring is not like wearing any other ring: it gives to a careful observer a signal about your marital status, which changes depending on which hand the ring is worn and in which position.

The Ring meaning goes as follows:

Singles: wear the ring on the right hand with the heart facing outwards.

In a Relationship: wear it on the right hand with the heart pointed inwards.

Engaged: wear it on the left hand with the heart pointing outwards.

Married: wear it on the left hand with the heart facing inward.

Last but not least, is to note that it’s said that buying your own Claddagh Rind is somewhat unlucky, as the ring should be received as a gift from another person.


 4. To Draft a Perfect Guinness Pint,

It Takes 119,5 Seconds


Guinness in Ireland is not a beer, is a religion!  

With over 250 years of history and 1.5 billion imperial pints sold worldwide every year, the most famous Irish dark stout is both an Irish ambassador worldwide and, a matter of cult on the island. Due to the long and glorious history of the Guinness brand, countless are the drinking customs and traditions were born through the ages.

While visiting the St.James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin, I was astonished by the number of curiosities revolving around Guinness.

The one that hit me most is that to draft the perfect pint; a good bartender should take exactly 119.50 seconds and meticulously respect six legendary steps (covering the right glass, pouring angle and technique, settling time, topping, and presentation). Check this video to know more about it and see which levels of bliss drafting a Guinness can reach ;D

The Guinness Company in Ireland also has a department called “Quality Team”, which moves in easily recognizable Black Guinness Vans and which task is to regularly visit all pubs selling Guinness Stout to ensure a homogeneous and superior taste. If you ever wondered why Guinness in Ireland tastes so much better than abroad, that’s why!

 5. Irish have a passion for Weird Sports

Football and rugby enjoy a substantial follow in Ireland, but so are other sports which probably you’ve never heard of such as the weird “Gaelic Football” or the fastest game on Earth “Hurling“.

Gaelic football is an extremely thrilling (yet very funny to see first time) amateur sport that combines all together football, rugby and basket. In the last years, its popularity overtook the one of football as it recorded the 30% of all national sports attendances. Here is a video of how it looks like and the rules (don’t get scared!).

As Irish creativity was not satisfied with the previous though, it also gave birth to “Hurling”, another crazy sports’ blend this time between baseball, hockey, rugby and football. You think it’s impossible to put all those sports into one? Then watch this Hurling Video here, and prepare to get shocked. Nothing is impossible after the third pint, nothing!


6. Northern Ireland had the possibility to Join,

but it didn’t

After several uprisings, sabotages, and three years of civil war for independence; in January 1922 Ireland became a self-governing free state, away from UK control and jurisdiction. But not all of it.

In fact, all 26 Irish counties were given the democratic possibility to hold a vote to decide whether to join the newly born Republic of Ireland or remain with the UK. Twenty of them decided to join. Six northern counties voted at majority to remain and so they did.

The feeling of anger and distrust against the previous rulers in Southern Ireland didn’t fade for decades until very recently.

Think that Queen Elizabeth only once visited the Republic of Ireland and only for three days, in 2011, after a whooping hundred years from the last time an English monarch (her grandfather) put a foot on the soil of the emerald island (when it still was part of the United Kingdom).

In Northern Ireland instead, political fights between unionists and republicans regarding the affiliation status of the region it’s always an actual political debate, which, like old whiskey, never gets out of fashion.

 7. In Ireland there isn’t any Snake

Legends narrate that when St. Patrick came to the island, he drove all the snakes off the cliffs and into the sea with the power of its Christian faith.

Biologists and geologists say, that during a long ice age, Ireland separated from the Uk (where yes there are no snakes) and once the ice melted, the sea was already too wide for snakes to cross.

Believe who you want, but be reassured that if you visit the island, you won’t spot any snake (and no snake will spot you too 😉 ).


 8. Ireland had the Widest Vocabulary

to Describe Rain on Earth

It’s raining cats and dogs, it’s a downpour, wet rain, spitting rain, drizzling rain, pissing rain, sideways rain, sore rain, rotten rain, bucketing rain, hooring rain, lashing rain, hammering rain, down for the day, four seasons in a day… the list is infinite.

All in all, after thinking that some regions of Ireland enjoy an average of a whopping 225 (!!!) days of rain a year, that could have been expected. Good thing is, that if you want to break the ice with someone in Ireland, talking about the rain is always an easy-win choice.

 9. English is not the First Official Language


Although being the most widely used and spoken, English is just the second official language of Ireland. The first spot indeed is surprisingly occupied by the way less known Gaelic (or Irish).

Irish is a language that originated with the Celts, which today is still taught in all schools around Ireland. Despite that, only 40% of Irish consider themselves able to speak it, while most of the others still struggle to hold a proper conversation, being the language quite hard and entirely different from English).

Despite being the native language of only 80.000 Irish (over a population of almost 5M), Gaelic is still required for all politicians, it is used (together with English) on all official documents and all public services (such as transport, ports, municipalities, etc.).

Although in practice, the utility of Irish is nowadays very small, the language remains firmly loved by Irish hearts as a symbol of cultural heritage, national identity, and collective pride.



 10. Coloured Doors have a Vital Function for Society


Homes in Ireland generally come in blocks. Neighbourhoods crawl with terraced houses. Seeing a dozen of houses all with the same outlook, one after the other is a relatively common sight. In the same way, what immediately flashes to the eyes of foreigners, is that the only difference between all of them is the door colour.

First time I saw the homes in the neighbourhood I was staying, I jokingly thought “well, as they all look so similar the doors’ colours are probably made to tell them apart”. Well, to my surprise I was kinda right. But there’s an extra utility twist.

As the local belief goes, people started painting their doors with different bright colours to help to find their homes when wasted (after hard days at the pub!) and avoid the neighbours mistakenly plummeting on their sofa by accident.

After seeing with my eyes how common is to find weirdos and wasted drunkards mumbling on the streets at night (which by the way, it’s such an Irish picturesque sight), I can totally believe it!




These were 10 curiosities about Ireland that I find both intriguing and funny (and which I love to tell over and over again to my friends on every St.Patrick’s Day in front of Sweet Pint of Guinness).

Did you learn something new? Do you know any other interesting trivia about Ireland that could fit the list? Let me know in the comments below 🙂



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