Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Just a wee bit o' Irish trivia for you today! I love learning about word origins and traditions (I'm kind of a geek that way!), and did a little researching on-line. I found this great site with all kinds of information, as well as some stuff for sale. Probably too late for this year, but you could always get a head start for next year! Here's some of what I found:

An odd Irish birthday tradition is to lift the birthday child upside down and give his head a few gentle bumps on the floor for good luck. The number of bumps should allegedly correspond to the child’s age plus one.

The original Guinness Brewery in Dublin has a 9,000 year lease on it's property, at a perpetual rate of 45 Irish pounds per year.

The "Oscar" statuette handed out at the Academy Awards was designed by Cedric Gibbons, who was born in Dublin in 1823. Gibbons emigrated to the US, and was considered MGM’s top set designer from the twenties right on through the fifties, working on over 1,500 films. Besides designing the coveted prize, Mr. Gibbons managed to win a dozen of them himself.

Couples in Ireland could marry legally on St. Brigid's Day (February 1st) in Teltown, County Meath, as recently as the 1920’s by simply walking towards each other. If the marriage failed, they could "divorce'" by walking away from each other at the same spot, on St. Brigid’s day the following year. The custom was a holdover from old Irish Brehon laws, which allowed temporary marriage contracts.

According to some historians, over 40% of all American presidents have had some Irish ancestry.

Famous wit Oscar Wilde was born Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde in Dublin in 1854.

Bram Stoker was working as a civil servant in Dublin when he wrote “Dracula” in 1897.

Gulliver’s Travels” writer Jonathan Swift is buried in St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.

The national symbol of Ireland is the Celtic harp, not the shamrock.

The tune of the "Star Spangled Banner" was composed by the great blind harper Turlough O’Carolan, who died about 35 years before the American revolution.

Medieval laws in Ireland allowed a man to divorce his wife if she damaged his honor through infidelity, thieving or “making a mess of everything.”

Muhammad Ali has some Irish heritage. His great grandfather was born in Ennis, County Clare, and emigrated to Kentucky in the 1860s. There, he married an African-American woman. A son born to this couple also married and African-American woman, who gave birth to Ali's mother, Odessa Grady. She married a man named Cassius Clay, and the two moved to Louisville, where the future champ was born.

The Irish tricolor flag, created in 1848, was designed to reflect the country's political realities. Orange stands for Irish Protestants, green for Irish Catholics and the white stripe for the hope that peace might eventually be reached between them.

Barack Obama’s maternal great, great, great grandfather Fulmuth Kearney came from Moneygall, in County Offaly. Mr. Kearney came to America in 1850.

Channel your inner leprechaun and see what else you can learn about Ireland today!


Mary said...

Thanks for the reminders of what constitutes 24 lbs--I know I don't want any of it back!

My mom was a Haley, and further back a Haley was married to a Murphy, so we have a whopping portion of Irish in us!

I'm also happy to know I was well within my rights to divorce Mark for "making a mess of everything"!

Bee and Rose said...

We are back from our final Irish dance performance! Whew!

I LOVE this post! I am checking out that website!!!

Hope you are feeling better!!!!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The Blonde Duck said...

What cool history!

Debbie said...

Good mercy! That head bumping thing is hard for me to imagine:)

kel said...

I love this! Happy st patty's day a day late!

I am Harriet said...

Just passing by via SITS to say hello! :)

MindyLew said...

Thanks for sharing all the wonderful Irish facts - especially loved the temp. Marriage license - could you imagine & the poor children with all the bumps on their heads - LOL :)

Fantabulously Frugal said...

Stopping by from SITS to say hi - nice to "meet" you. :)