Ireland is associated with many things including Guinness, the rock band U2 and soda bread, as well as beautiful countryside. It is also globally renowned for its friendly people, its rich culture and its history.
There are many myths and legends also linked to Ireland, most of which have been exaggerated over the years and become part of the country’s folk law.
The colour green
If asked to give Ireland a colour, most people would say green, however, green is not the official colour of Ireland; perhaps surprisingly, this honour goes to the colour blue.
Another surprising fact is that St Patrick was not Irish. St Patrick was born in the British Isles but was sent to Ireland to preach Christianity. In addition, St Patrick was not responsible for ridding Ireland of snakes, a story which many believe. The ice age saw off any possibility of snakes, combined with the country’s climate.
One thing that is not a myth is that Ireland has had a thriving tourism industry for many years and a rare vintage poster designed to encourage visitors in the early 20th century has recently been auctioned in New York (https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/homes-and-property/fine-art-antiques/vintage-irish-tourism-poster-under-the-hammer-in-new-york-1.4074595).
The traditional mens Irish Aran sweater has not been around for centuries and was not created by ancient craftsmen. This design was, in fact, introduced in the 19th century by a group of women looking to earn some money. The mens Irish Aran sweater remains as popular today as ever.
Shamrocks and Clovers
Many people believe that finding a shamrock, or clover with four leaves is a sign of luck. However, naturally shamrocks have three leaves and clovers have four leaves, but they look identical. Many also believe that shamrocks only grow where Saint Patrick has previously walked, but unsurprisingly, this is merely the stuff of legend.
The shamrock is often seen as the official symbol of Ireland, but the emblem of Ireland is, in fact, a harp. Ireland is the only country world-wide to use a musical instrument in this capacity and it is also home to the oldest harp in the world which dates back to 1300 and is kept in Dublin.
Naughty Leprechauns in green suits, with red beards and wearing hats are not real. They are undoubtedly enchanting mythical characters.