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Fascinating Facts

Did you know… Robbie Burns

Dunmore_cave,_Co_Kilkenny photo Crispin-Purdye_CC2

Burn’s night is on 25 January – it is a celebration of the life and poetry of Robert Burns who was born on 25 January 1759. He wrote Auld Lang Syne, which is traditionally sang at the start of each new year, but also at funerals and at the endings …

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Druid looks out

Druid looks out over Barra-Bui mountain

The Druid is a large wooden statue, opposite Molly Gallivan’s cottage, Bonane, Kenmare. It is carved from the remains of a pine tree, which has stood there for hundreds of years. The carving represents the first settlers in the area over 6000 years ago. The Druid looks out over the …

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Did You Know… Fairytale

Did You Know graphic copyright Ireland Calling

Fairytale of New York by the Pogues and Kirsty McColl is the most played song on Irish radio every year during the Christmas period. * * * The official colour of Ireland is actually blue, not green. According to Irish folklore, families can prevent an argument over Christmas by placing …

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Did You Know… Wolfe Tone


A statue in Bantry town centre of Wolfe Tone, one of the leaders of the 1798 Irish Rebellion. The people of Bantry erected the statue looking out to sea… it’s to be taken as symbolic of the hope for French help, rather than a literal portrayal of where Tone was …

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Did You Know… St Patrick’s burial

Valentia_Island_Feast Day of St. Darerca_Terryballard_CC3

Legend has it that after St Patrick’s death, his followers couldn’t agree on where he should be buried. They placed Patrick’s body in a cart and harnessed the cart to two untamed oxen. They agreed to bury Patrick wherever the oxen stopped. The Oxen stopped at Dun Lethglaisse which is …

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Did You Know… George Washington

George Washington's troops used the password 'St Patrick' copyright Ireland Calling

George Washington’s troops used the password ‘St Patrick’ when they forced the British out of Boston on March 17th 1776. * * * The most Catholic town in the Republic of Ireland is Buncrana, Co Donegal with 94.3% of the population Catholics. The most Protestant town is Greystones, Co Wicklow …

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Did You Know… Holly

Did You Know graphic copyright Ireland Calling

In ancient Ireland people would put holly leaves and branches in their homes during winter. This was so the supernatural forest people would be able to come in and shelter from the cold. The custom predates Christianity although it is now a well-known Christmas tradition. * * * * * …

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Did You Know… Oliver Plunkett

St Oliver Plunket

In 1975, Oliver Plunkett was canonised as a saint. He was the first Irishman in over 700 years to receive the honour. He was made a patron saint for peace and reconciliation in Ireland in 1997. There were 17 more Irish martyrs beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1992. …

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Did You Know… Emerald Isle

‘Emerald Isle’ by William Drennan

The first person to refer to Ireland as the ‘Emerald Isle’ was William Drennan in 1795. Drennan was a doctor and poet from Belfast. He used the phrase in his poem, When Erin First Rose. Read the whole poem, ‘When Erin First Rose’ here. * * * The only town …

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