Ireland is the 20th largest island in the world. Population: 4.5 m. Capital: Dublin. There are 4 provinces: Ulster, Munster, Leinster, Connacht. Land mass: 70280sqm. Longest river: Shannon 386km. Highest mountain: Carrauntoohil 1038m. Official emblem: The Harp. Most popular sport: Gaelic football. Biggest rock band: U2. Most famous brand: Guinness. Sheep population: 5.5m
The first inhabitants of Ireland were hunter gatherers using stone implements. Around 3000bc they evolved into Bronze Age people who cultivated crops, raised domestic animals, and made weapons, tools, and jewellery out of bronze. They created fine stone implements and traded abroad. Around 2000bc, they built megaliths - massive stone sanctuaries and tombs
Surrounded by dizzying drops, Dunluce Castle perches on a headland overlooking the north Antrim coast, with a sea cave called the Mermaid’s Cave. Stories tell how, in 1639, the kitchen fell into the sea, along with the cooks and servants.
The Book of Kells is a masterpiece of Celtic art unrivalled for the exquisite quality of its decoration, intricate designs, and visionary concept. It is regarded as one of the world’s greatest illuminated manuscripts with decoration so stunning and lavish that it was thought to be the work of angels.
The youngest child in a large Irish Protestant family of modest means, Sean O’Casey was born John Casey in Dublin on March 30, 1880. He was the third child in his family to be named John; two of his siblings with that name had died in infancy. Later, in his
Samuel Beckett was born in Dublin on April 13, 1906, into a middle class Protestant family. He was educated at the Portora Royal School in County Fermanagh as Oscar Wilde had been before him. A natural athlete, he excelled at sport especially cricket. From 1923 to 1927 he studied French,
Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin on October 16, 1854. His mother, Lady Jane Francesca Wilde, was the poet ‘Speranza’, and a journalist active in the women’s rights movement. His father, Sir William Wilde, also a gifted writer, was an eminent specialist in diseases of the eye
George Bernard Shaw, dramatist and a leading figure in 20th century theatre, was born in Dublin on July 26, 1856. He was man of many causes, among them, defender of women’s rights and advocate for equality of income and the equitable division of land. He supported radical change in the
Brendan Behan was born February 9, 1923, in Dublin, Ireland, the first child of Stephen and Kathleen (Kearney) Behan, though his mother had two sons by a previous marriage. Born into a family with radical political leanings, Behan was reared on a double dose of IRA propaganda and Catholicism. The
Celtic women were distinct in the ancient world for the liberty and rights they enjoyed. Although political and public life was largely the domain of men, women were not excluded from any occupation. They served as chieftains, druids, poets, healers, warriors, diplomats, judges, and mediators in tribal assemblies and disputes.
The Celts arrived in Ireland over the course of several centuries from around 500bc; it was a gradual assimilation rather than an actual invasion. They brought with them the Gaelic language, fine artistry, and a social order based on warrior values. They also brought the iron plough, making it possible
Celtic spirituality is based on a deep connection with the natural world. God is not a distant concept but a continual presence manifest in the whole of nature and deeply embedded in the world. For the ancient Celts, life itself was a ceremony, the whole of which was spiritually significant
The four primary seasonal celebrations of the Celtic calendar are: Samhain – winter Imbolc – spring Beltaine – summer Lughnasadh – autumn In the Celtic word view, seasonal changes were magical times, turning points in the calendar when the powerful forces of the universe could be accessed to promote the