St. Patrick used to use the shamrock to explain the trinity-the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit-when he persuaded the Irish to Christianity. Ireland’s climate keeps shamrocks green year round.
There are 166 churches named after St. Patrick within the republic of Ireland.
A Leprechaun is no more than 24 inches tall, dresses in bright colors, is usually skilled as a shoemaker, and if surprised, might lead you to his Pot o’ Gold. Your best chance of seeing one will come if you visit one too many pubs. (Ted Kennedy see ’em all the time)
Within the last 25 years, four of the six U.S. Presidents have claimed Irish ancestry: John F. Kennedy [County Wexford], Richard Nixon [County Kildare], Gerald Ford [County Longford], Ronald Reagan [County Tipperary].
The official emblem of Ireland is a silver-and-gold Irish harp on a blue background. The oldest Irish harp in existence is the “Brian Boru Harp,” dating from the 14th century and named after the most famous king in early Irish history.
The shillelagh was named for a village in County Wicklow where oak and blackthorn trees are plentiful. It was first displayed in battle in 1209.
The tri-colour Irish flag [green, white, and orange] first gained acceptance as the flag of Irish independence in 1848, and became the national flag when Ireland finally achieved its independence in 1921.
The potato did not originate in Ireland. The lowly spud was actually brought to the Emerald Isle in the 17th century from America by Sir Walter Raleigh, who had a large estate at Youghal [pronounced “Yawl”] in County Cork.
The original “Tara” is actually a mound 500 feet above sea level that was the religious and cultural capital of Ireland in ancient times. It is about 30 miles from Dublin, in county Meath. St Patrick is said to have preached there.
In the 6th century, an Irishman named St. Brendan the Navigator is said to have discovered America and returned to Ireland to tell the tale. To prove the legend, Tim Severin sailed successfully from Kerry to Boston in 1976 using a replica of St Brendan’s 36-foot leather boat.
On Columbus’s 1492 trip to the New World, he stopped at Galway to pick up Irishman Rice de Culvy as part of his crew.