As the world prepares to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day—and all things Irish—here’s a look at some of the things that can only be found on the Emerald Isle.
Halloween as a National Holiday?
Think Halloween is a big deal in the U.S.? It’s bigger in Ireland. It’s the only place in the world where Halloween is an official national holiday—kids get the day off of school. (Halloween originated in Ireland as a celebration called Samhain.) Also, there are fireworks displays.
Windmills turn counter-clockwise everywhere in the world…except for in Ireland, where they turn clockwise.
Henry Ford and Sons
The Ford Motor Company, one of the biggest and oldest car manufacturers in the world, uses that name across the globe. But not in Ireland. There, it’s called Henry Ford and Sons. Why? Henry Ford wanted to open a branch in Ireland, but his board of directors vetoed him. So, he did it anyway…under a different corporate name.
Ireland is the only country in the world whose national emblem is a musical instrument. Ireland’s symbol: the medieval Irish harp.
Guaranteed Meeting with the President
The leaders of only one country on Earth have guaranteed annual meeting with the U.S. president: Ireland. (In advance of the 2009 Irish-American summit, First Lady Michelle Obama asked the water in the White House fountain to be dyed green.)
A company called Cryos operates a worldwide operation of what we’re going to call fertility services, providing a biological substance that helps people become pregnant. Different countries want different donor material. Ireland, for example, is the only place in the world that Cryos has significant demand for red-headed donors.
Legend says that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. It’s not true—because there are no snakes native to Ireland. It’s an island, so it’s hard for snakes to get there, and then thrive there.
Since gaining independence in 1919, Ireland has operated on a parliamentary system of government. They’ve never had a left-wing party in control, the only country in the European Union with that distinction.
Only two countries in the world have bogs: Scotland…and Ireland.