Read the introduction to my new book: “The Great Little Book of Fun Things You Probably Don’t Know About Ireland”

The tiny nation of Ireland has always had a cultural “vibe” that seems to reach out and touch the entire world. While Americans, in particular, seem to accept this as quite normal, writers in Ireland have long questioned why everyone around the globe finds them so darned interesting.

Of course, the fact that the Irish often can’t see what’s so unique and wonderful about their country is a big part of their charm. In my own 30 years of visiting Ireland and dealing in various capacities with the Irish, I’ve learned that, under the surface, they’re more complex than they seem at first blush.

As much as any visitor, I appreciate their almost unbelievable warmth toward strangers. But I also know that, in spite of the easy banter and joking, getting an Irishman to express his real feelings about something can be the toughest thing on earth.

Under the surface of Ireland, there’s a world of ideas and customs that’s sometimes brilliant and often a bit nutty. I got interested in collecting facts about Ireland many years ago, and I’ve found that, no matter how many layers of Irish culture you peel back, there always seems to be another one beneath.

This list of Irish facts come from all sorts of places – from my Irish Nana (grandmother) who told me they used to call a young pig a “bonnif” in Roscommon where she grew up, to facts from Irish books, newspapers and websites I’ve looked through the years. I can’t absolutely guarantee the accuracy of each fact here, but I’ve made an effort to use trustworthy sources.

I hope you enjoy this survey of Irish culture, both old and new. The book is available here

Robert Sullivan

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