Fascinating Facts!

Eerie Eire.

DERMOT MacMurrough, who was responsible for bringing the Normans into Ireland, rotted to death for his sin in 1173, after contracfing morbis pediculosis.

THE first mummy to be seen publicly outside Egypt was displayed in Belfast in 1824. It is still there.

IRELAND'S Atlantis, the legendary city of Hy Brasyl, is reputed to lie beneath the waters of Carlingford Lough.

THESPIAN suspicion over Macbeth - usually referred to as 'the Scottish play' - is thought to date from the time of the Irish actor-manager Spranger Barry (1719-1777), who was famous for his portrayal of the evil king. A life dogged by personal problems, law suits and agonising gout ended in poverty for the unfortunate Corlarian.

THE aristocratie Dublin rakes of the 18th centuary Hell Fire Club once set fire to a house and remained drinking inside it to get a foretaste of Hell itself.

COUNT Dracula was created by the Dublin writer Bram Stoker.

UNTIL the 1920s, on St. Brigid's Day (February 1st) at Teltown, County Meath, couples could legally marry by simply walking towards each other. If the union didn't work out, they could 'divorce' by walking away from each other at the same place exactly a year and a day later.

JAMES Byrne, the 7 feet 2 inch 'Irish Giant', died of depression in 1783 after being literally watched to death by the servant of a doctor who wanted his huge frame for dissection.

THE Devil's Bit mountain near Thurles, County Tipperary, is so called because Satan, furious at finding no wicked souls in Ireland as he flew over it, supposedly bit a chunk out of the rock in his rage.

HALLOWEEN has its origins in Samhain, the Celtic feast of the dead.

A holy tree on the Tyrone shore of Lough Neagh near Ardboe was said to bring good fortune to those who hammered coins into its trunk. It eventually died of metal poisoning.

A monkey appears on the Fitzgerald coat of arms in tribute to the family pet which rescued the infant 1st Earl of Kildare from a fire at Kilkea castle in the 14th century.

IN 1991, English prophet and self-styled 'Son of God', David Icke, proclaimed that the Scottish island of Islay would sink into the sea because of bad vibes' emanating from the troubles in Ulster.

THE bullaun stone, which is kept in St. Matthew's Church on the Woodvale Road in Belfast, is said to have the power to cure warts, spots and acne.

A ship from Cobh discovered the ghostly wreck of the Marie Celeste in 1872.

THE crypt of St. Michan's Church in Dublin contains the almost perfectly preserved remains of corpses dating from the Middle Ages. The reason for their incorruption appears to be the limestone walls of their tombs.

ON the thirtieth anniversary of the Munich air disaster which wiped out the famous 'Busby Babes' football team, Manchester United played Coventry. The only goal of the game was scored by United's new Irish signing Liam O'Brien at 3.04 pm - the exact moment of impact three decades before.

ACCORDING to legend, the hair of anyone who swims in the lake on Sheve Gullion in County Annagh will turn grey overnight.

SUPPOSEDLY transformed from fowl to fish by St. Patrick, the Lough Melvin trout tastes like roast chicken when cooked.

THE Electric Brae near Hilltown, County Down, is the only place on Earth where water and other objects appear to roll uphill, in defiance of the law of gravity.

THE folio number of the plans of the Titanic, built at the fiercely Protestant Belfast shipyard of Harland and Wolff, was 390904 which, when read backwards, is said to crudely spell 'NO POPE'.

FOR centuries, an unholy ringing sound coming from a gnarled old oak tree on windy nights terrified the people of the County Down village of Kilbroney. In 1885, the tree was blown down and the source of the ghostly noise was discovered - a golden bell hidden in the hollow of the trunk by a monk hundreds of years before.

ON 13th April 1829, the day that the United Kingdom Parliament gave the vote to Irish Catholics, the statue of George Walker -Protestant hero of the 1689 siege of Derry -which had stood quietly on the city's famous walls for more than a century, inexplicably crumbled.

THE first British soldier to die in the present troubles was Gunner Robert Curtis who was shot dead in Belfast in 1971. The IRA sniper who killed him was himself killed in a gun battle with the army the next day - in Curtis Street.

SQUIRE Watson, an eccentric 18th century Kilkenny landowner had such an unshakeable belief that he would be reincarnated as a fox that he had a luxurious marble den built in the grounds of his estate in anticipation of his return.

THE medieval purgatory on Lough Derg, County Donegal, was believed to be one of the two entrances to Hell, Mount Etna on Sicily being the other.

SINCE it opened in 1830, Dublin's Clasnevin Cemetery has been the last resting place for more than eleven million people.

IRELAND had its own werewolf legend. These creatures were believed to be the souls of the damned who had rejected the teachings of St. Patrick.

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