Ireland is famous for its marvelous views, both of the land and sea. Often referred to as the Emerald Isle, Ireland has vibrant cities tucked beside cozy bays and sheer cliffs. Ireland is where snug pubs, pints of Guinness and shots of Irish Whiskey go hand-in-hand with hearty Irish homestyle cooking. Irish food is hearty, tasty, and comforting. Dishes like Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, and Irish soda bread are popular around the world. Black pudding and blood sausage are regional foods originating in Ireland and the UK. Potatoes have long been a staple for the Irish and are included in many traditional dishes including Irish stew and coddle made with sausage, bacon, and potatoes. When the potato blight hit crops hard in the mid-18th century, the widespread famine led to massive emigration with hundreds of thousands landing at the port of New York just in time to be recruited into the Civil War.
The Irish have a long history of brewing beer tracing back to at least 300 years ago. The most popular beer in the country is Guinness, often referred to as “the black stuff.” The beer is actually a dark ruby red stout that has a distinct taste and a thick creamy head. It was first brewed in Dublin at the St. James’ Gate Brewery in Dublin. The shamrock is a three-leaf clover, an important symbol in Ireland, and to the Irish Catholic faith. While St. Patrick was preaching Christianity throughout Ireland, he used the three leaves to explain the Holy Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each year in March, shelves around the world are stocked with shamrock novelties, and you can get a Shamrock Shake made with mint ice cream at McDonald’s.
The Irish have the gift of gab, and it is said that you can also if you kiss the famous Blarney Stone. The legendary stone of eloquence can be found at the top of Blarney Castle, one of Ireland’s best. The block of Carboniferous limestone was built into the castle in 1446. Millions of visitors flock to the castle each year, and many celebrities have kissed the Blarney Stone. In 2010, the castle’s owner told the Irish Times that to his knowledge, no one had ever gotten sick from kissing the stone. Nevertheless, Blarney Stone aside, the castle and gardens are a lovely place to visit. Another of the most well-known things Ireland is famous for is whiskey. The whiskey rivals Scottish whiskey for world popularity, but Irish whiskey is thought to be the oldest. This is because the first known document to mention the spirit is the Irish Annals of Clonmacnoise dating back to 1405. The Scottish use only malted barley that has begun to sprout while the Irish use a mix of both. While in Ireland, visit one of at least 25 breweries around the country where taste tours are offered. Some brands of Irish Whiskey to look for include Black Bush, Jameson, Teelings, and Writers Tears.
Irish rugby has gained in popularity in recent years, and the whole country gets excited over a big match. The Irish have won the Six Nations Championship for a total of 14 times so far. Three of them were grand slams meaning no matches lost for any game in the tournament. The games take place between England, France, Scotland, Wales, Italy, and Ireland. Brian O’Driscall, a Dublin native, is said to be the country’s best-ever rugby player.Ireland has several national parks. Burren National Park is the smallest one and the most fascinating to visit. Covering 1500 hectares on a section of the glacio-karst landscape, geographic features include hazel scrub, limestone pavement, woodland, lakes, petrifying springs, cliffs, and turlough, a type of drying lake. Located in North County Clare, the area was formed around 350 million years ago. The Irish people are happy people and among the friendliest in the world. As descendants of mass emigration, acceptance is in their DNA. The long list of literary and musical figures along with their penchant for legends prove they are a creative bunch. They love to talk and will discuss everything from politics to the weather. Perhaps they all have kissed the Blarney Stone. Contrary to popular belief, less than two percent are redheads. But if you spot a ginger in the U.K, the U.S., Scotland, or Australia, it’s a safe bet they are descendants of the potato famine emigrants.