St Patrick’s Day has become a world-wide phenomenon. Perhaps mostly because we love an excuse to drink beer at the local Irish pub, but also because we’re mighty fond of this funny, welcoming, green land we call Ireland.
1. The locals are friendly
You’ll always be greeted with a cheerful smile and a chat in Ireland.
What’s not to love about mythical creatures that roam the countryside?
5. The Blarney Stone
According to legend, kissing the Blarney Stone, a block of limestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle, endows the kisser the gift of the gab.
2. The beer is good
If you like Guinness, drink a pint in Ireland, because the beer you drink there is made in the factory in Dublin. Guinness drunk in Australia is brewed in different factory.
3. Irish music
Of course the traditional Celtic music is great, but the newer stuff is even better. Think of pop sensations The Thrills, The Undertones, Damien Rice, Sinead O’Connor, James Vincent McMorrow and of course U2.
6. Giant’s Causeway
An area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns on the coastline, the Giant’s Causeway is the only UNESCO World Heritage site in Northern Ireland.
8. Irish humour
The Irish might be the butt of many Australian jokes, but they certainly know how to make us laugh on their own, too. Irish humour in a nutshell is making puns in national newspapers, using irony where possible, throwing in a mention of Enda Kenny, and generally making something sound filthy.
9. Angela’s Ashes
The iconic novel revolves around Frank McCourt’s childhood in Limerick, Ireland, and paints a poignant, formative picture of Ireland in the 1930s and 40s.
Apparently there are over 30,000 castles and castle ruins dotted around the Irish countryside. So there are plenty to keep you entertained, provide historical highlights, and even to bunk down in for the night in luxury.
10. Hearty food to wash down the beer
Bacon and cabbage pies, roasts, Irish stew, Beef and Guinness pie, apple crumble, Guinness chocolate cake. You name it, if it’s Irish it’s hearty and delicious.
11. The endearing accent
It’s warm, funny and we love it.
It may rain frequently in Ireland, but then the sun comes out and rainbows appear. You might even be lucky to see a double or triple rainbow!
Ireland has given us some of the greatest stories in history. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis, The Gathering by Anne Enright, Ulysses by James Joyce, and of course everything written by Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde.
14. National galleries and museums are free
Unlike in most countries around the world, in Ireland, and the UK, national galleries and museums are generally free. That’s definitely something to like.
15. The President writes poetry
Michael D Higgins has been in power since 2011, and is a widely liked, intellectual and politically engaged president, who also writes poetry.
16. Irish baking
The French are not the only nation who can bake a mean loaf of bread. Irish sourdough is some of the tastiest, and healthiest in the world. There are an army of artisan bakers in Ireland flying the flag high.
17. Irish pubs
You can head into an Irish pub anywhere and you’ll generally be greeted with that friendly, fun atmosphere. Enjoying a pint in one in Ireland however, is extra special.
18. Dublin’s Free Wifi scheme
There are 12 free hotspots around the city, which makes staying connected with friends and family back home so much easier, and cheaper.
You might not think this is such a great thing when you’re struggling to stand up on top of a spectacular sea cliff. However, Ireland has harnessed its fierce wind power into renewable energy, which is excellent.
20. Gaelic football
Gaelic football means we Australians can rival Ireland in a sport only our two nations excel at. They may not be exactly the same, but AFL and Gaelic football are close enough that there’s an International Rules Series that happens biannually.