#1 – St Patrick’s Day
Celebrated on March 17th annually, St Patrick’s day is one huge party that goes on all around the world. It’s a celebration of all things Irish and remembers the death St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.
Parades and parties take place in many countries including Great Britain, Canada, the USA, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Montserrat and of course Ireland.
#2 – Guinness
Beer drinkers around the world have the Irish to thank for the invention of the Black Stuff. The dry stout, which is the best-selling alcoholic drink of all time in Ireland, but also popular globally, originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness at St. James’s Gate, Dublin. On 31 December 1759 he signed a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum for the unused brewery. Cheers!
#3 – Irish Dancing
Although Irish dancing had been going on for many centuries, Riverdance popularized it in 1994. That year, Michael Flatley and the Riverdance crew performed during the interval of the Eurovision Song Contest in Ireland – they stunned the world. Riverdance went on to become the most popular and successful dance show of all time with more than 20 million tickets sold. It was also voted the most popular interval act in the history of Eurovision.
Irish dancing boomed and it’s style evolved and continues to evolve to this day. Michael Flatley went on to start his own show ‘Lord of the Dance’ which was as huge success. ‘Feet of Flames’ and a variety of other shows followed providing entertainment for millions worldwide.
#4 – U2
U2 was formed in Dublin on 25 September 1976. The group consists of Bono (vocals and guitar), The Edge (guitar, keyboards, and vocals), Adam Clayton (bass guitar), and Larry Mullen, Jr. (drums and percussion).
On Saint Patrick’s Day in 1978, U2 won a talent show in Limerick, Ireland. The prize consisted of £500 and studio time to record a demo which would be heard by CBS Ireland. The rest is history.
They went on to sell more than 145 million albums and won 22 Grammy awards. Their greatest legacy however, may be their social activism. They used their music and events such as ‘Live Aid’ to help those in need around the world.
#5 – The Blarney Stone
The Blarney Stone is a block of bluestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle, Blarney. Legend says that kissing the Blarney stone endows the kisser with the gift of eloquence.
For over 200 years, millions of people from around the world have come to Blarney to kiss the stone however it’s not as easy as it may seem to actually kiss it.
Once upon a time, visitors had to be held by the ankles and lowered head first over the battlements. Today, one has to lean backwards (holding on to an iron railing) on the parapet’s edge.
Update: A notable mention should also go to some other great contributions by the Irish such as: the tank, the submarine, modern chemistry, Irish music, the tractor, Irish literature, castles, beautiful mountains, color photography, Irish whiskey… The list could go on. Thank you Ireland.
Images – River: fourleafclovergoodluckcharms.wordpress.com, Guinness: winstonpub.ca, U2: rockheap.com, Blarney Stone: blarneycastle.ie
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