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Thursday, 27 August 2015


Ireland is named after Eire, one of the land's three native goddesses in Celtic mythology.

Ireland’s oldest city is Waterford, which was founded by the Vikings back in 853.

Norman mercenaries first landed at Bannow Bay in Leinster on May 1, 1169, marking the beginning of the Norman invasion of Ireland. The invasion was at the request of Diarmait Mac Murchada (Dermot MacMurragh), the ousted King of Leinster, who had sought their help in regaining his kingdom. Diarmait and the Normans seized Leinster within weeks and launched raids into neighboring kingdoms.

Henry at Waterford", from A Chronicle of England (1864) by James Doyle

When Pope Alexander III wanted to eradicate Irish customs that conflicted with the teaching of the Catholic Church, he declared Henry II of England to be the rightful sovereign of Ireland in 1172. Henry accepted the title of Lord of Ireland which the English monarch conferred on his younger son, John Lackland, in 1185. This defined the Irish state as the Lordship of Ireland. It took seven and a half centuries for the Irish to regain their freedom.

Ireland is sometimes known as the Emerald Isle, a term coined by an Irish political radical and poet in 1795. Belfast born William Drennan (1754 – February 5, 1820), wrote in When Erin First Rose. "Let no feeling of vengeance presume to defile. The cause of, or men of, the Emerald Isle."

Saint Patrick's color was blue, not green. St. Patrick's blue, can be seen on ancient Irish flags and was used on armbands and flags by the Irish Citizen Army up until the 1798 Irish Rebellion. This is when the color green taken from Ireland's lush fields became a symbol for Ireland.

The Kingdom of Ireland was formally merged with the Kingdom of Great Britain, adding Saint Patrick's Saltire to the Union Flag. From 1801 until 1922, all of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

The Great Famine in the mid-1840's forced many to leave Ireland; it is estimated almost a million people died of starvation, and a million more emigrated. From a maximum of over 8 million in 1841, the total Irish population dropped to just over 4 million in the 1940s. The population of Ireland still hasn't returned to where it was before the Great Famine.

The Government of Ireland Act was passed on May 3, 1921, dividing Ireland into Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland. Northern Ireland has stayed within the United Kingdom since then. The full name of the UK is 'The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.'

One year to the day after The Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed in London by British and Irish representatives, the south of Ireland became the Irish Free State on December 6, 1922. Fifteen years later, the Irish Free State was replaced by a new state called Ireland with the adoption of a new constitution.

Ireland stayed neutral during World War II,

Ireland's link with the Commonwealth was terminated with the passage of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948, which came into force on April 18, 1949 and declared that the state was a republic.

At midnight on April 17, 1949 the 26 Irish counties officially left the British Empire. A 21-gun salute on O'Connell Bridge, Dublin, ushered in the Republic of Ireland.

In 1995, a referendum in Ireland legalized divorce by 50.3 per cent to 49.7 per cent.

Over 8 million St. Patrick's Day cards are exchanged in America making today the ninth-largest card selling occasion in the US.

The term, Luck of the Irish, was originally an insult. It was said sarcastically as the Irish have historically had bad luck, such as the potato famine.

The Irish flag is green, white and orange. The green symbolizes the people of the south, and orange, the people of the north. White represents the peace that brings them together as a nation.

34.5 million U.S residents claim Irish ancestry, that is 9 times the current population of Ireland.

More than 40 percent of all American presidents have had some Irish ancestry.

Today almost 80 million people around the world are descended from Irish immigrants.

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