161 Ireland Cultural Facts That Will Make You Want to Visit The Country

Aryan Khanna
Feb 28, 2023 By Aryan Khanna
Originally Published on Nov 25, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Kid celebrating St. Patrick's Day a Irish holiday, culture and tradition

Ireland, or as it is also known as the Republic of Ireland, is an island country situated in the northwestern part of Europe with a population of around 6.6 million (as of 2016).

Before Ireland gained its independence, it was ruled by the British and prior to them by the Normans, due to which as of today, Irish culture shares a lot of its traits with some of the other nearby English-speaking nations.

The Celtic nations and some Catholic European countries too had a big role to play in the shaping of Irish traditions.

Ireland is full of important traditions and customs, some quirky ones too and the Irish people take great pride in their culture. The culture of Ireland can be seen in their pagan festivals, the style of their pubs, as well as, the iconic Irish potatoes.

The country of Ireland has a rich literary history and reflects the culture of Ireland. Oscar Wilde was undoubtedly the most well-known writer who came from Ireland.

The Irish castles present on the vast green Irish fields also are an integral part of Irish culture as these castles represent the kingship that existed in ancient Ireland.

Since the very beginning, the population of Ireland was a mixture of people hailing from different backgrounds, and the same pattern is followed even today owing to a large number of people immigrating to Ireland. This has resulted in Ireland not having an official religion and also having some language barriers among the people.

Although most of the people living on the island speak English, some who have been living in Ireland for a long time speak Irish too.

Irish culture pays a lot of respect and importance to the concept of family, and the same is reflected in the friendly and hospitable behavior of the Irish people in general. These practices can more often be seen in the rural areas where people still follow a number of Irish traditions, unlike the developed urban areas.

Something that is still very similar between the rural and the urban population is the way they build their houses.

Just like the ones during early Ireland, the walls of the new Irish houses sport bright and lively colors depicting a cheerful environment.

Although if someone wants to know experience Irish culture and Irish traditions first hand, they must visit old Irish society, the ones that live in the rural areas. They can perfectly describe classical Irish music, some unique local traditions, and famous Irish folklore as well.

If you enjoyed this article, why not also read about Ireland's economic factsandIreland's geography facts here on Kidadl?

What is the main culture in Ireland?

There are a number of different elements which are inseparable from main Irish culture. The classical Irish festival of Saint Patrick's Day, the Celtic festival of Halloween, once celebrated only in Ireland and now all over the world are some of the highlights of Irish culture.

At the same time, Irish folklore with the likes of Leprechauns and Fionn mac Cumhaill also represents the culture of Ireland. The origin of Halloween, which was once a Gaelic festival named Samhain is also mentioned in several Irish folklores.

Much like many other countries in the world which associate some of their unique geographical phenomenon with ancient folklore, Ireland follows the same practice when it comes to the origin of the Giant's Causeway and the Isle of Man.

Contrary to many other countries that are the size of Ireland, Ireland has made significant contributions to world literature in the past decades.

Most notably, there have been four people hailing from Ireland who have won the most prestigious prize in literature, the Nobel Prize for Literature.

The likes of Samuel Beckett, George Bernard Shaw, Seamus Heaney, and William Butler Yeats have achieved this feat in the past. Apart from these great men, there have been other writers too who have represented the national culture of literature of Ireland on the world stage via their works.

The world today recognizes the works of Bram Stoker, Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, and James Joyce as some of the best works by Irish writers.

This is one of the rarely known Ireland facts that out of the four Irish men who won the Nobel Prize for Literature, three of them were born in Dublin making it the birthplace of more Nobel Prize winners than any other city in the world.

Talking about Irish culture and Irish tradition, we can't forget about Irish food and drink. Excavations and archeological surveys have revealed that since the early days the Irish ate cattle, sheep, and pigs quite a lot, especially pigs.

A similar pattern can be seen even today along with the modern likes of geese, poultry, and shellfish.

Potatoes have been associated with Irish culture for centuries. It is known that potato was introduced in Ireland after the 1550s, as a garden crop but in no time it became one of the widely grown crops in Ireland.

The working class especially favored consuming potatoes due to their high vitamin content and the amount of energy they provided even though it took only a small piece of land to grow.

In the coming years, potatoes turned out to be the biggest diet contributor for Irish people which also saw a sudden boom in the Irish population. Some of the traditional Irish dishes include coddle, Irish stew, bacon and cabbage, Bakewell pudding, and cheese and onion crisps.

The traditional music of Ireland and Irish dance are also an indispensable part of Ireland's culture. 'Riverdance' performed in 1994 is still recognized by people all over the world as a traditional dance form of Ireland.

Traditional music, on the other hand, has seen a lot of changes over the years due to the influence from the west but traditional Irish cafes and public spots still play traditional Irish music.

One special thing about this country is that it has a musical instrument (harp) as its national symbol. The sports of a country also represent its cultural value. Hockey, rugby, cricket, and rowing are some of the sports commonly played in Ireland.

What do the locals eat?

With the passing of time, the staple food of Ireland has undergone some change. With the globalization of the world and people immigrating to Ireland, the country has witnessed changes in its popular foods. Even so, there are some food items that are still the same. These are regarded as the traditional Irish dishes.

Many stories in ancient Irish culture mention the use of honey in a number of food dishes. Along with honey, the potato was arguably the most used vegetable in Irish food with the working class preferring it over any other vegetable.

At the same time, meat was extensively used in an average Irish duet. Lately, there has been the inclusion of fast food and conversion of the traditional dishes into their healthier form but the authentic indigenous food dishes still have a unique taste of their own.

Made up of potatoes, onions, lamb and at times beef too, the Irish stew is the most common dish of Ireland commonly found in the pubs. Almost every pub in Ireland has this dish on their menu, it is something people must try when visiting Ireland for the very first time in their life.

Colcannon and champ is another traditional Irish dish that includes the use of potatoes.

Interestingly, colcannon and champ are very much the same dish but differ by one ingredient, cabbage.

When cabbage is added to the mix of mashed potatoes and green onions, the dish becomes colcannon but when cabbage is absent it becomes champ. People prefer this dish during fall and the winter months when cabbage is available, the dish relatively tastes better that way.

You have probably heard about the extensive use of soda bread in Irish cafes and households. Irish soda bread is the staple diet of the Irish people, and you can have it during breakfast or during lunch along with the appropriate accompaniment.

Bakeries and artisan restaurants sell some of the best Irish soda bread. Black and white pudding, another traditional Irish dish, is usually served for breakfast.

White pudding is made up of pork meat and fat along with oatmeal, barley, and suet.

The black pudding, on the other hand, includes similar ingredients but blood is also mixed with pork meat and fat. Some of these dishes are now spread all across the world owing to the movement of the Irish immigrants.

What festivals are celebrated in Ireland?

Ireland has some of the oldest festival traditions in the world. The likes of Halloween and Saint Patrick's Day were originally born in Ireland.

Halloween dates back to the Celtic culture where it was celebrated in the form of Samhain, originating in Ireland. There are a number of other festivals too which are limited to Ireland and some of them have been celebrated for centuries.

The Saint Patrick's festival in March is undoubtedly the biggest festival which is celebrated in the lush greens of Ireland which are greener on this auspicious day.

Saint Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland, and at one point, this festival was celebrated only in Ireland but now it has spread throughout the world. Lately, New York organizes the largest parade in the world on St Patrick's Day but the atmosphere and the feel in Ireland of this festival are unparalleled.

It should be a potential candidate on your bucket list.

The Puck Fair celebrated in August in Ireland is one of the pagan festivals of the country that has been celebrated for the past 400 years or more.

During the three days of the festival, a mountain goat is crowned the king of Killorglin and is then released back into the mountains. Historical tales dictate that these goats played a key role in saving the lives of the people of the town from an invasion back in the 1600s since when the festival is celebrated.

There are dance, music, concerts, fireworks, and all sorts of madness for these three days.

Ireland is an island surrounded by water bodies on all its sides and enjoys some of the best seafood in the entire world. The Galway Oyster Festival is celebrated in Ireland in September to celebrate the abundance of fish and oysters which are an integral part of the Irish diet.

During the festival days, people compete in competitions for the World Oyster Opening Championship, as well as,  Irish Oyster Opening Championship.

What sports are played in Ireland?

There are a number of sports that are played in Ireland, some are traditional to Ireland and some have seen rapid development over the past few years. The growing success that Ireland has achieved in different sports fields over the years has encouraged Irish people to devote themselves more towards this sector.

Soccer is one of the largest watched and played sport in the country of Ireland. A large section of the population is inclined towards participating in the games with the growing success on the international platform.

Gaelic football and hurling are some of the traditional sports of Ireland which originated on the island and are played here itself but the locals love lots of other sports. Some of the other sports which people enjoy include the likes of cricket, volleyball, equestrian, rugby, boxing, and golf.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked discovering 161 Ireland cultural facts that will make you want to visit the country, then why not take a look at Northern Ireland facts or find out about the national animal of Ireland?

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Written by Aryan Khanna

Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

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Aryan KhannaBachelor of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

A dedicated and hardworking content writer currently pursuing his Bachelor's in Management Studies from St. Xavier's University, Kolkata. Aryan aims to gain corporate exposure and enhance his skills while creating well-researched and engaging content that is SEO-friendly. Aryan is a talented individual who puts in the effort to overcome any obstacle in his way.

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Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

Pradhanya Rao picture

Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

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