Read our last ten fun facts here.
1. Walt Disney himself had Irish ancestry (though his family immigrated to America in the 19th century.) His great-grandfather, Arundel Elias Disney, was born in Gowran, in County Kilkenny.
2. The first woman to be awarded an engineering degree in the UK and Ireland was Alice Perry of Galway in 1904 (only a few years after American Elizabeth Bragg in Berkely, California.)
3. County Clare is home to the westernmost European airport--the Shannon airport. It makes sense when you learn that the concept of duty-free shopping was invented there (by a local man named Brendan O’Reagan) in 1947.
4. Ireland featured heavily in some of the most recent set of Star Wars movies! Most prominently shown are Skellig Michael in County Kerry (aka Luke Skywalker’s island,) Malin Head in County Donegal, Loop Head in County Clare, Brow Head in County Cork, and both Sybil Head and Dunmore Head in Dingle.
5. While it’s something we usually associate with Scandinavia, Ireland is home to three glacial fjords: Killary Harbor, Carlingford Lough, and Lough Swilly. These beautiful places were formed in the ice age by a glacier carving a u-shaped valley, after which the sea floods it—resulting in a deep, high-walled inlet usually deeper than the nearby ocean.
6. Despite Ireland being a largely Catholic country, there are currently no Catholic cathedrals in its capital city, Dublin. All the original ones were converted to Protestant churches or the Church of Ireland by British officials, and have yet to be changed back.
7. Returning to popular media filmed on the Emerald Isle--Game of Thrones filmed many of its scenes (both studio and on-location) in Northern Ireland! Famous locations include the Magheramourne Quarry, Dunluce Castle, Ballintoy Harbour, and the Dark Hedges.
8. On that note, ever felt lost about the whole Northern Ireland/Ireland thing? Ever since 1922, Ireland is its own country, while Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. It is not, however, part of Great Britain (which includes the rest of the United Kingdom, i.e. Scotland, England, and Wales.)
9. Dublin’s O’Connell Bridge that spans the River Liffey has a very unique feature—it’s the only traffic bridge in Europe with the same width and length!
10. The name isn’t just a coincidence--the Guinness Book of World Records was established in 1954 by the company as promotional material. The concept was originally meant to help settle arguments that arose it pubs.
This post is part of a series. Read our last batch of fun facts here. Check out the blog every Monday and Thursday for more posts about Irish history, dance culture, community news, and spotlights on our dancers, staff, and families—among other fun projects! And don’t forget to dance along with us on both Facebook and Instagram.
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