Fascinating Facts!


THE original Abbey Theatre in Dublin was opened in 1904 on the site of a morgue.

Ivan Beshoff, the former owner of Beshoff's fish and chip shop in Dublin, was the last survivor of the famous 1905 mutiny on the battleship Potemkin. He died in 1987 aged 104.

DESPITE the fact that the border has been in place for more than seventy years, the waters of Carlingford Lough are still in dispute between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

THERE is a Donegal woven carpet weighing five tons in the Grand Foyer of Belfast City Hall.

ST. James's Gate Brewery is built on the site where, since medieval times, Dubliners held an annual drinking festival every 25th July to celebrate the feastday of St. James.

The world's most northerly vineyard is in Mallow, County Cork.

The prehistoric tombs at Newgrange in County Meath are older than the Great Pyramids of Egypt.

FOR many years, the headquarters of Sinn Fein and the Orange Order were next door to each other at numbers 9 and 10 Parnell Square, Dublin.

NEW York's Central Park was modelled on St. Stephen's Green.

EUROPE'S highest cliffs are on Achill Island, off County Mayo. Dropping over 2000 feet into the Atlantic Ocean, they are nearly twice the height of the world's tallest building.

BALBRIGGAN, County Dublin, was once the hosiery capital of the world. Around the turn of the century stockings and tights were widely known as 'Balbriggans'.

THE sinister sounding Bloody Foreland in County Donegal owes its name to its magnificent sunsets.

COVERING some 400 square miles, the midland Bog of Allen is the largest peat bog in the world.

THE lunar-like landscape of the Burren in County Clare is the only place in the world where arctic and sub-tropical flora grow side by side.

THE largest carillon of bells in the British Isles (128 of them) is housed in the spire of St. Colman's Cathedral in Cork.

THE eastern profile of the Cave Hill, which dominates the Belfast skyline, is known as 'Napoleon's Nose' because of its likeness to the profile of the famous French emperor.

IRELAND'S largest 'Chinatown', with a community 5,000 strong, is in the Botanic area of Belfast.

THE wealthy New York resort of Coney Island is named after a small uninhabited island off the coast of County Sligo.

IRELAND'S only gold rush took place in 1795 at Croghan in the Wicklow Mountains. It made no-one rich.

VENTRY, in County Kerry, was founded by an evangelical society as a home for converts from catholicism.

THE parlous state of the Irish economy during the 1980s may perhaps be explained by the fact that a favourite meeting place of the country's top economists was then Doheny and Nesbitt's bar in Dublin.

At its narrowest point, the North Channel separates Ireland from Scotland by a mere eight miles.

During a raging storm in 1639, the kitchens of Dunluce Castle on the Antrim coast collapsed into the sea, taking with them all but one of the servants who were busily preparing a grand feast.

YOU can only call yourself a true Dubliner if you were born between the North and South Circular Roads.

EVERY spring, more than twenty million eels swim into the River Bann to breed.

EMMET Square in Birr, County offaly, marks the centre of Ireland.

FIVEMILETOWN in County Tyrone is more than six miles from the nearest village. The measures that named it were the longer 'Irish' miles.

THE Giant's Causeway contains over 40,000 basalt columns.

DUBLIN'S Ha'Penny Bridge is so called because that was the original toll required to cross it.

ST. Columb's Cathedral in Derry was the first Cathedral to be built after the Reformation.

THE Guinness-owned St. James's Gate Brewery in Dublin covers 60 acres. It is the biggest in the world.

MULGRAVE Street in Limerick, which contains two hospitals, a prison and a lunatic asylum, is known as 'Calamity Avenue' by the locals.

THE Nephin Beg, a 200 square mile wilderness in County Mayo, is the only part of the Irish mainland to be completely uninhabited.

THE only nudist beach in Ireland is at the Forty Foot Leap, by the Sandycove martello tower, in Dun Laoghaire.

LOUGH Erne is said to have an island for every day of the year - in fact, it only has 154.

OXMANTOWN in Dublin, part of the site of the old Viking city, has one of the highest concentrations of blondes in Ireland.

THE curiously named town of Hospital in County Limerick owes its name to the Knights Hospitallers (now the Knights of St. John), who founded it during the Middle Ages.

THE Natural History Museum of Ireland (next door to Leinster House) has the world's largest collection of insects.

THE River Farset, a tributary of the River Lagan, runs under High Street, Belfast, in a tunnel that is big enough to accommodate a single decker bus.

The Albert Clock in Belfast is Ireland's leaning tower of Pisa. Built on swampland or 'sleech' in the 1860s, it is now four anda half feet off base.

The heights above Waterford City are known as Mount Misery.

WEST Belfast's grim 'Peace Line' is three times the height of the former Berlin Wall.

CARRIGAN Moss, which is gathered on beaches in Connemara, is valued worldwide as an aphrodisiac. Locals use it to cure sore throats.

TUMBLING 1800 feet off the Cock of Shruhill mountain in County Donegal, the Scardan Waterfall is the highest in Europe.

THE Ballymun flats on Dublin's northside were built in 1965 with money paid by the West German government as compensation for the 1941 air raid on Clontarf, which killed thirty-one people.

PHOENIX Park in Dublin covers 1800 acres. It is the largest city park in the world.

PROSPEROUS, County Kildare, was founded by one Robert Brooke, who went bankrupt twice, lost his family estate, and died in abject poverty.

THE Rotunda in Dublin, founded in 1745, was the first maternity hospital in Europe.

The 'Poisoned Glen' at the foot of Errigal Mountain in County Donegal owes its name to the former presence of the highly toxic Irish Spurge Moss. The plant poisoned the drinking water, and though the Spurge Moss is now extinct here, farmers are still advised to keep their animals away from the Glen's waters.

BELFAST has over twenty distinct dialects.

SKELLIG Michael off the coast of County Kerry marks the southernmost limit for arctic, and the northernmost limit for tropical fish.

FOUR hundred million tons of water rush through the narrows of Strangford Lough in County Down twice a day.

THE largest swimming pool in history was at Glenveagh House in County Donegal. In the 1930s, its millionaire Irish-American owner Henry P. Mcllheny had the nearby lake centrally heated by steam pipes for visiting Hollywood glitterati.

UNDER the 1801 Copyright Act, Trinity College is entitled to one free copy of every book published annually in the British Isles. The university library now has over two million volumes and needs a quarter of a mile of new shelving every year.

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